Teachers of the Year: Rebecca Hefner

Teachers of the Year: Rebecca Hefner
Posted on 06/25/2019
Ms. Hefner and two students talk on the A-B Tech campus.By Tim Reaves
BCS Communications Department

Rebecca Hefner knows that to succeed, every kid needs a personal “why.”

The Buncombe County Early College (BCEC) English teacher and college instructor works with many first-time college students, and she helps them see the advantages of Early College – a high school diploma and a two-year associate degree from A-B Tech.

“I don’t want my students to wait to start their tomorrow,” she said. “I want them to move from where they are to where they could be.”

Hefner introduces her students to literature from a multitude of cultural contexts. Her classroom features collaborative work, passionate debate, and active learning. Each year, she asks students to research topics that genuinely excite them.

“It helps them feel good in their own skin,” she said. “They get to direct their own learning and take a deep dive into the research methods of college coursework. They get to prove to the community that ‘this is what I accomplished.’”

Ms. Hefner talks to students on A-B Tech's Campus.Hefner is Buncombe County Early College’s Teacher of the Year and last month she became the At-Large District Teacher of the Year. She’s been in the profession for 24 years. As a first-generation English-speaking child of a multicultural family, Hefner also understands firsthand the challenges of plotting a course for college. She and the other Early College teachers serve as navigators who ease the transition from high school to college and university life. They make sure their students develop personal goals and high expectations.

“If you don’t know anyone who went to college, you don’t know how to get there,” Hefner said. “That’s why I fight so hard for these kids, because I get it.”

BCEC Principal Dr. Donna Lanahan described Hefner as “tough and real” but also “funny, caring, and with a big heart.”

“She’s a perfect fit for Early College, because she can put herself in their shoes and know what kind of supports they need to find a path and stay true to it,” she said. “She speaks to them like adults, presents them with authentic challenges, and pushes them to improve.”


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Hefner is one of seven classroom teachers selected as a district teacher of the year out of the 1,650 teachers in the BCS system. She and the other six district winners will be featured in an upcoming special video produced by the BCS Communications Department. One of the seven district winners will be selected as the overall BCS Teacher of the Year.