For CTE Teacher of the Year, teaching runs in the family

West Stanly High’s Kadie Love draws satisfaction whenever her students take the practical skills she has gone over, such as the steps needed to cook chicken stir-fry, and replicate it themselves.

“When I’m walking around a room and I see all the kitchen groups working together and complimenting each other on how the food tastes and how proud they are of themselves, it sounds so simple, but that is the confidence that I love seeing my students have,” said Love, the Family & Consumer Science teacher.

Love appreciates the hands-on, practical application of what she teaches her students.

“It sounds silly, but they have to know how to cook for themselves,” Love said.

Now in her fifth year at West, Love — much like her mother, longtime North Stanly High School English teacher Kerri Huffman — has a passion for education, especially working with and getting to know her students. She teaches Foods 1, Foods 2 and Interior Design Fundamentals.

Even during spring break, she spent time at the school, helping her kids practice for their upcoming NC SkillsUSA competition next week.

“I love what I do,” she said, noting she enjoys teaching students of all grade levels. “I tell my students every day that I love them.”

All of her hard work and dedication has been recognized, as Love, 33, was recently notified that she was the 2022-2023 Stanly County CTE Teacher of the Year. Principal Darren Rhodes, CTE Director Mandy Melton and CTE official Sandie Brundin surprised Love during her fourth block class recently with the big news.

“I was just very shocked but very honored as well,” Love said about the moment, noting she had received the West Stanly CTE Teacher of the Year award days before. “Having received both of those honors was very humbling.”

What is even more impressive is that Love never intended to become a teacher, having graduated from Appalachian State University with undergraduate and master’s degrees in nutrition. Her mother encouraged her over the years to become a teacher, but she never thought it was right for her.

Love had been working as a clinical dietician for three and half years and even though she enjoyed the job, she often felt “stuck,” and left wanting more. It was not until she saw an opening for a foods teacher at Albemarle High School that she realized teaching could be a realistic career path.

Following a semester at Albemarle, she transitioned to West in the fall of 2017 and the rest, as they say, is history.

Looking back on her time as a dietician, where she worked in a one-on-one setting with patients, Love understands she always had a passion for educating others, it just took her some time to realize her gift would be better in a classroom environment.

She has also taken what she learned as a dietician and incorporated it into lesson plans for her food classes.

Love contributes much of her success as an educator to being around Huffman and seeing how dedicated she was to North during her 36-year career.

“I saw her always with her students and so it felt like a very natural transition for me,” Love said. “To me, I just felt like this was just God showing me where I was supposed to be.”

Love appreciates all the teachers she has worked with during her career, saying she has been “embraced from the moment I started teaching.”

“Everyone has been so good to me and I grew up with the best role models as educators, and so I hope that as I continue on, I can be that person, too, for other people,” she said.