In what was billed as a rally for teachers, former North Carolina Teacher Of The Year Penny Smith motivated the near capacity crowd in the Community Room of the Jackson County Public Library Complex on Thursday night with stories of teachers who shaped her life and motivated her to be a teacher. She was followed as a speaker by former Jackson County School Superintendent Sue Nations and current superintendent Dr Michael Murray who also spoke of the quality o0f teachers from prior era’s who had influenced them to enter the teaching profession and inspired them for a special standing and value model in society. Jackson County Commission Chairman Jack Debnam spoke of a teacher who had influenced him by his corrective style then later in life the person became an employee of Mr. Debnam. Other speakers included , Rene Coward, and current teacher Edith Callahan. Retired teacher and coach Boyce Dietz also spoke of Coach Babe Howell and others who had given him the opportunity to get coaching experience and those who had been instrumental in his career. Across North Carolina other teacher groups have rallied to show support for the state’s teachers despite the state budget cuts which have ended teacher tenure, reduced the number of teacher assistants, and have expanded classes sizes. Some teachers groups are saying the cuts will threaten the future of quality education in the state because teacher salaries are expected to be among the lowest in the nation which will deter aspiring teachers to look elsewhere in a career choice or for employment.