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Brian Bilich Named Asheville City Schools’ Teacher of the Year

The teachers of Asheville City Schools go home with more on their minds than just lesson plans; their tenacity, compassion and care for students is unending!    

     Therefore, it is with great pleasure that Asheville City Schools announces its 2023 District Teacher of the Year, Mr. Brian Bilich. 

    Currently an Asheville High School Exceptional Children Inclusion Math and Science teacher, he was named the ACS’ Teacher of the Year during a surprise announcement surrounded by his students and colleagues this morning. The reveal’s timing is extra special, as it coincides with Asheville City Schools’ Staff Appreciation Week. 

     Upon seeing his “prize patrol,” complete with balloons and flowers, Bilich says he was in absolute shock. 

     “It was really awesome to look out and see all these people, but more importantly, to see all my kids who were out here.” 

     The 2021-2022 school year marks Bilich’s twelfth year in the classroom, seventh with Asheville City Schools and fifth at Asheville High School.  

     Bilich said he didn’t have the best high school experience, which is partially why he wanted to go into the teaching profession.  

     “One of the most important things I try to do with [my students] is let them know…I appreciate who they are independent of grades. I try to see them as people first rather than students.” 

     Bilich began his career as a Math tutor at Aycock Middle School before becoming an EC Inclusion teacher at Andrews High School.  While there, he provided differentiated instruction and support to students in Math, English and Science as well as managed Individualized Educational Plans for nearly 30 students.  

    He moved to Asheville City Schools in 2015, becoming an Asheville Middle EC Inclusion Math teacher.  In fact, this year’s cohort of Seniors were 6th Graders during his time at AMS. 

     “I suppose the main reason that I teach is because of the relationships I’m lucky enough to form with a lot of my kids…I have had students that I was close to graduate over the years, but these are my babies! I feel so fortunate to be able to get to work with some of them because they are caring, resilient and incredible.  More importantly - they challenge me to be a better person,” he said. 

     In 2017, Bilich began his current role at Asheville High School.  Through collaboration with general education teachers, he applies data-based instruction with direct support.  His goal is to increase equity and reduce the achievement gap.  However, above and beyond just teaching standards, Bilich believes his role is to support students by ensuring they feel safe, secure and trusted. 

     “My commitment has always been to my students first and foremost,” he said.  “I make it a point to show up to support my kids at their athletic events, theater performances, art shows, birthday parties, quinceaneras, bake sales as well as less happy events such as memorials and funerals.  I’ve always found that engaging with students and their families out in the actual community, rather than the high-stakes microcosm that school can be, forges the kinds of connections that enable long-term relationships.” 

  Bilich earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Biology with a minor in Environmental Science from the University of Alabama in Huntsville as well as a Class A Certification/Early Childhood Special Education Master’s Degree from the University of Alabama.  He also holds teaching licenses in Special Education, Pre-K thru Kindergarten General Education and High School Science. 

     Despite his many achievements, Bilich believes his greatest accomplishments would be the opportunities he had to form meaningful, authentic and lasting relationships throughout this teaching career.  

“I don’t have any children that I’m aware of, biologically, but my students very much mean the world to me,” he said.  “Without a doubt, the love that I have for my students has not only made me a better teacher; it’s made me a better person.” 

     As Asheville City Schools’ Teacher of the Year, Bilich will now be invited to participate in a regional interview process.  

     Nine regional finalists will be selected amongst North Carolina’s 94,000 classroom teachers.  

     From the nine, the state’s Teacher of the Year will be chosen by a committee of professional educators as well as business and community leaders.  The final announcement will be made in April 2023. 

     If selected as the state Teacher of the Year, Bilich will spend the 2023-2024 school year traveling across North Carolina as an ambassador for the teaching profession. 

     In addition to honoring Bilich, we would like to congratulate all of our Teachers of the Year across Asheville City Schools:  

  • Dan Coleman - SILSA 
  • Amy Sheeler - Asheville Middle School 
  • Craig Shimer - Montford North Star Academy
  • Mary Aldridge - Asheville Primary School 
  • Michelle Burge - Claxton Elementary School  
  • Stephen Hitcho - Hall Fletcher Elementary School 
  • Jodi Antinori - Ira B. Jones Elementary School 
  • Kaitlyn Peeples - Isaac Dickson Elementary School 
  • Susan Hale - Lucy S. Herring Elementary School