Eastern North Carolina Living

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EASTERN

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FEATURES

66.

ALL IN A DAY’S TRIP

Visit charming Franklin County

ON THE C OV E R

70. BIOGRAPHY Meet Jill Cohen

VOL. 14, NO. 3 MAY 2022 STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS

74. GRANDMA’S KITCHEN

Prepare something cold in the summer

76. VIEWS

National World Syndrom Day at Martin County Schools

Publisher

Staff

Kyle Stephens

John Walker

kstephens@ncweeklies.com

john.walkernc@yahoo.com Brandice Hoggard bhoggard@ncweeklies.com

Editor

Andre’ Alfred

Thadd White

aalfred@ncweeklies.com

twhite@apgenc.com

Tyler Newman tnewman@apgenc.com

Layout & Design Becky Wetherington beckyweth86@gmail.com Michelle Leicester mleicester@ncweeklies.com

78. GRACE & TRUTH

The greatest mission

80. MARK IT! F. Roy Johnson

Deborah Griffin dgriffin@ncweeklies.com Editorial Contributors Sandy Carawan Sarah Davis Sylvia Hughes Gene Motley

Photo Editor

Lewis Hoggard

Jim Green

Donna Marie Williams

jgreen@ncweeklies.com

Meghan Grant Webb Hoggard John Foley

Advertising Executives

Kim Grizzard

Lou Ann Van Landingham

Willow Abbey Mercando

lavan@ncweeklies.com Kelly Ayscue kayscue@rmtelegram.com

82. PARTING SHOTS Teachers shaped all of us

Eastern North Carolina Living Magazine P.O. Box 69, Windsor, NC 27983

Chris Taylor

252-794-3185

ctaylor@rmtelegram.com

twhite@ncweeklies.com

Eastern North Carolina Living is published by APG Media Eastern NC, and is a subsidiary of the Bertie Ledger-Advance, Martin County Enterprise & Weekly Herald, Tarboro Weekly and Rocky Mount Telegram.

7


Pitt

Story by Kim Grizzard Photos by Willow Abbey Mercando

Dudley does a little bit of everything for students

I

t is not uncommon for students, especially younger ones, to imagine that their teachers must live at school. But at G.R. Whitfield, even some of the middle-schoolers have to wonder about Todd Dudley.

It’s not just that he enters his classroom about 6 a.m. and his car may

not leave the parking lot until 5 p.m. that could lead people to question. It’s what he does in the 11 hours in between. Dudley is the first Whitfield staff member some students see when he picks them up on Bus 406 in the morning before arriving back at school to teach seventh-graders. About 10 a.m., he makes his way to the office to report for duty as the school’s assistant principal intern before returning to his classroom to teach another 30 students. After school, he drives a bus, helps coach the baseball team — or both — before heading off to complete his graduate school course work. “I enjoy it so much I don’t even realize it,” Dudley, 48, said. “But when you write it down… that does look like a lot. My wife (Martha) says I have a problem with not being able to say no, so I try to fit it in.” Dudley checked off one thing off his to-do list May 6 when he graduated

8


with his master of school administration

Whitfield as a math and science teacher.

degree from East Carolina University. It’s his

Within two years, he had added coaching to

second master’s and third ECU degree in

his list of responsibilities, even as he returned

seven years, which is especially noteworthy

to ECU to pursue a graduate degree in middle

considering that this husband and father of

grades mathematics.

two didn’t enroll in college until he was 38.

“I’m just one of those people,” Dudley said.

Before that, the Kinston native spent 20 years

“I grew up having to work for what I wanted,

in the Navy, where his work with an aviation

and I’m not one to sit around and wait for

squadron took him to more than 30 countries.

something good to happen.”

“I always wanted to go back to college, but

His work ethic, which began in his early

I was deployed all the time,” he said. “It came

years with farm labor and a part-time job in

down to a choice for me of staying in or being

high school, is one he has tried to pass on to

with my kids.”

his son, Will, and daughter, Haley. Both are

Dudley chose the kids, returning to

undergraduate students at ECU.

Greenville, where his son and daughter had

“I tell them all the time, if I can coach, if I

moved with their mother. His military career

can drive a bus, if I can go to college, if I can

behind him, he began to consider what skills

be an assistant principal intern and teach and

he had acquired that might be best suited for

send you to school, I think you can find the

civilian life.

time to be a good student,” he said.

In the Navy, Dudley had enjoyed working

Dudley expects a similar attitude from

with new recruits, mentoring them and

students in his classroom, often telling them,

helping to direct them to more positive

“Excuses are nothing but a reason for failure,”

influences. Observing students at C.M. Eppes

and discouraging them from telling him they

Middle School showed him that he would

didn’t “have time” to study.

have similar responsibilities in the classroom,

Whitfield seventh-grader Ryan Edwards

so he enrolled at ECU in 2012 to study middle

said students know better than to make that

grades education.

argument with Dudley.

When he went to pay his tuition, a finance

“If he was to make excuses we would

office employee said, “What’s your child’s

accept it, but he doesn’t make any excuses,”

name?”

said Ryan, who sees Dudley multiple times a

“It was weird,” Dudley said, laughing. “I’d walk into class, and people would think I was the professor.” Four years later, he joined the staff at

I tell them all the time, if I can coach, if I can drive a bus, if I can go to college, if I can be an assistant principal intern and teach and send you to school, I think you can find the time to be a good student.

day as teacher, bus driver and baseball coach. “He really works hard.” But there is a softer side to this former military man, one that incorporates soccer

9


scores into math problems, “just so they can

Dudley has utilized the crowd-funding

relate and know that I know what they’re

platform Donors Choose, along with gifts from

doing,” and one who is surprisingly soft-

local donors, to help provide the school with

spoken in the classroom.

everything from padding in the gymnasium

“The last thing these kids need is somebody to yell at them,” Dudley said. “If you build

and Chromebooks in the classroom to playground equipment.

those relationships with students and you set

“He makes it happen,” Principal Ashley

the expectations high, I think most students

Wheeler said. “He is my framed picture of

don’t want to let their teacher down. They

what it takes to be all in and be committed to

want to make them happy.

the school.

“They want to work hard for you because

“He does whatever it takes,” she said.

they see you,” he said. “They know we work

“There’s no job that’s too big or too small for

hard.”

him.”

Since he arrived at Whitfield, Dudley has

That’s why when the school was short

worked to bring numerous upgrades to the

of bus drivers this year, Dudley, who has his

school, beginning when he and his father, Billy,

commercial driver license to drive an activity

more time with you than I spend with my

spent a summer making tables so students

bus as a coach, raised his hand. He points

parents.’

in his classroom could work collaboratively.

out that fellow teacher Adam Philipps, also a

“I don’t think people really understand a

Afterward, he raised money for chairs to go

coach, stepped up to cover a bus route this

teacher’s day until they go through it,” he said.

with them.

year as well.

“I don’t think I’m doing anything super-human.

“Kids used to call this place G.R. Welfare,”

“I just love these kids,” Dudley said. “I enjoy

Dudley said. “I didn’t like that, so that turned

spending time with them. One of them told

into raising money.”

me the other day, ‘Mr. Dudley, I think I spend

I think I’m doing what most teachers do.” Kim Grizzard is Associate Editor of the Daily Reflector in Greenville.

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Hyde

Julio Morales An educator and advocate for all

O

ne could compare an educator to an architect who not only uses their training, tools and techniques, but

also braces their work with encouragement and inspiration to gradually build and bolster a child from ground up to graduation and beyond. This is true for Julio Morales, an educator who has devoted his life to the field of public education for nearly twenty years, fifteen of which have been dedicated to Hyde County Schools. Julio is not only an ardent advocate for improving education at the district, regional

Story & Photos by Sandy Carawan

and state levels, but he is also committed to bettering life in Hyde County. Born and raised in Maracay, Venezuela, over two thousand miles away from his home in Engelhard, Julio’s earliest interest in education began at about eight years old. His mother, Adolfina Isabel Quintero de Morales, currently a principal and a high school teacher of Biology at Unidad Educativa Padre Domingo Segado in San Joaquin, Edo. Caraboba, inspired him to pursue his career in education. “I would play teacher. My mother would bring me leftover chalk and bought me a small blackboard she hung in my room. I would teach a whole class and handle discipline with my siblings and/or toys I had lined up on the floor,” Julio remembered. “I do not remember ever wanting to be anything else as I grew up.” After graduating high school from Unidad Educativa Padre Domingo Segado in 1995, Julio began his journey in education alternating his undergraduate and graduate coursework between Venezuela and the United States. “I took basic and advanced English courses at a language academy in Valencia, Venezuela and soon after completing their coursework, I started working for them as an English instructor in 1997 until 2002,” he said. In 2003, he received his undergraduate degree from Universidad de Carabobo in Valencia, Venezuela with a Licensure in Education Teaching (BA equivalent) with an emphasis in English. Then, in 2011, Julio

12


My passion even though it has always been public education related, has evolved somewhat with the years. educator and community member who has

from funding to curriculum to testing to

the best interest of others at the forefront of

resources actually come from individuals who

the work to which he is committed.

may not be connected or have any experience

“I love to have that incredible task of

in education, has really shifted how I dedicate

shaping up minds for the future. Our job

my time in advocating for my students and

has always been so noble and important for

Public Schools through various professional

society in general. This purpose alone fuels

platforms,” he added.

my love for the field,” said Julio.

Aside from his affiliation with Hyde

received his Masters in Teaching English to

“My passion, even though it has always

County Schools, Julio serves with a number of

Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) from

been public education related, has evolved

professional organizations in which he not only

Greensboro College.

somewhat with the years,” Julio added.

advocates for bettering public education, but

When Julio arrived at Hyde County Schools

“Initially, I was all about making my classroom

also bettering the Hyde County community.

in 2007, he first worked as an ESL (English as

students grow and master English and/or

He serves as a member of N.C. Governor

a Second Language) teacher at Mattamuskeet

Spanish, but it has somewhat refocused on

Cooper's Teacher Advisory Committee and

Elementary School.

education policy and advocacy at the district,

he is president of the Hyde County Children

state and federal level.

Center - Board of Directors.

However, out of a need arising in the school district due to a reduction in force,

“Working with my English Language

He has been a member of the ESL

he began teaching Spanish at Mattamuskeet

Learning Students is still my main fuel for

Consortium in which Hyde County Schools

Early College High School.

the work I do, but after learning and realizing

is one of fourteen counties in Eastern North

that the crucial decisions about Public Schools

Carolina who advocate for funds, programs

“The Superintendent, at the time, was told that I also had certification in teaching Spanish in my license. He asked me to step in to provide high quality face to face courses to our students,” Julio explained. In addition to teaching ESL and Spanish to children from Pre-K to 12, Julio has also worked as a substitute bus driver. Since 2017, he has worked as an ESL/Spanish Instructor for Beaufort County Community College teaching adults. In 2009, he created the Mattamuskeet Campus Multicultural Club, which not only allows students to learn about different cultures through participation in cultural and academic activities, but to experience opportunities to grow in leadership. Currently, Julio serves as the Public Information Officer for Hyde County Schools and teaches ESL part-time. Julio is a caring, enthusiastic, and dedicated

13


and resources for ESL programs. Since 2004, he has also been a member of the North Carolina Association of Educators.

Employees' Credit Union Board of Directors – Swan Quarter Advisory Board, member; and, 4-H Advisory Committee, member.

“With this organization, I have not only

Educational and community involvement

been a member, but an officer locally,

are important to Julio in which he has the

regionally and statewide in my years of

opportunity to serve all people.

other ones.” In his spare time, Julio is passionate about activities that promote personal and social well-being. “I am obsessed with beach days. I love going to the movies, travelling, going to

membership,” Julio said. “I took a hiatus from

“As I started living in Hyde County and

membership this past year, but jumping right

learning about its community, students,

back at it as I have aspirations for state office to

families and particular nuances, I realized

Also, he is a self-employed entrepreneur

continue to advocate for Public Schools in NC.

that the county was extensively rich in size

with his business, DJ JM, DJing not only pro

I have also been an officer at the national level

and natural resources, but also very deprived

bono for school events on the mainland and

representing North Carolina with the National

of resources and support for its citizens,” said

Ocracoke Island, but also other private gigs in

Education Association in its headquarters in

Julio.

North Carolina and other states.

Washington, DC.”

musicals and concerts, and hosting or going to parties with close friends,” said Julio.

“While there have always been local

In his collaboration with others to share

Also, Julio serves the Hyde County

organizations trying to fill that void, I noticed

ideas and solve problems, Julio is not only

community in various roles in the following

it was a challenge to find citizens who were

paving an easier path for educators and

organizations:

North Carolina Community

willing to devote time to help with these

leaders, but he is advocating so all people can

Foundation - Hyde County Affiliate - Board

organizations, and I also noticed a lack of

learn and live better.

of Directors, member; Hyde County Transit

representation from the Hispanic community

Julio brings great credit upon himself,

Board of Directors, vice-president; Hyde

and a dire need to reach out to them and their

Hyde County Schools, and the Hyde County

County Hotline Board of Directors, chairman;

particular needs,” he said. “Therefore, I started

community. Julio Morales is truly a treasure.

Ocracoke Health Center/Engelhard Medical

jumping at opportunities to join some of the

Sandy Carawan is an English Language

Center Board of Directors, treasurer; Hyde

organizations I currently serve and the rest of

Arts teacher at Mattamuskeet Early College

County Department of Social Services

them, I have been invited to partake as they

High School in Swan Quarter and a longtime

– Board of Directors, member; NC State

have seen my work and contributions to the

contributor to Eastern North Carolina Living.

14


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Greene

Following in the footsteps of great educators

Story by Donna Marie Williams Photos by Donna Marie Williams & Contributed

R

ecruited after earning his

not Tilley’s first choice; instead, he set

life... mom worked hard. She did a great

Bachelors in elementary

out to East Carolina University to pursue

job teaching math and I saw how hard

education

a career in the medical field.

she had to work to get those concepts

from

East

Carolina University, Jayme

After taking a few science courses,

across,” Tilley said, adding he used to

Tilley has spent his entire education

Tilley discovered this was not the path

work at a daycare for many summers

career – all 16 years of it – teaching and

for him.

with kids of different age groups.

coaching for Greene County Schools. Now an eight-grade math teacher, math

interventionist

and

athletic

He also remembered his coaches

else to do. I liked sports and thought

that made an impact on his life – Jeff

about

Sawvel and Mark Fields.

going

into

communications

director at Greene County Middle

for announcing. I actually did some

“Coach Fields and Sawvel coached

School, Tilley has worked hard to build

announcing at ECU for student radio

me athletically and they were also my

relationships with students and the

and some baseball games,” Tilley said.

teachers as well… In the classroom

community while fostering educational and athletic improvements. His dedication and hard work have earned him the title of 2022-23 Greene

To make his decision, Tilley drew from

they were very professional. They were

all his life experiences and remembered

excited about what they were teaching.

the mentors and influences he had in

“On the football field they were

his life.

still inspired and very positive, but

County Teacher of the Year for Greene

Tilley is a second-generation teacher.

it was a different type of mentality,”

County Middle School and 2011-12

His mother taught math in Clinton City

he continued. “I thought I wanted to

West Greene Elementary School.

Schools until her retirement.

be like that. They were good people

Pursuing a career in education was

16

“So I started trying to figure out what

“I’ve been around teaching my whole

and role models and I wanted to be


A teacher’s job is to try and make that student better - not just academically, but personally. It’s the ultimate goal as a teacher.

like them. I decided ultimately to go into

the classroom and on the field as a coach.”

baseball coach at Greene Central High School,

education because I thought coaching was a

Tilley continued to teach at Greene County

and now serves as Greene County Middle

great avenue and I enjoyed doing that. I would

Intermediate School until 2019, when he

School’s football coach and Greene Central’s

get to work with the students and I enjoyed

decided to transition from a fifth-grade

varsity baseball coach as well as the athletic

teaching.”

teacher to a middle school teacher. He joined

director at the middle school.

In 2006, Tilley began his career with Greene County Schools as a fifth-grade

the staff at Greene County Middle School as a sixth-grade math interventionist.

classroom teacher at West Greene Elementary

As a middle school teacher, Tilley enjoys

School after he was recruited by Greene

being able to watch as his students grow

County Superintendent Dr. Patrick Miller, who

and enjoys seeing the kids progress in their

was then principal at West Greene.

academic career and beyond.

As athletic director, Tilley oversees 13 sports and is also responsible for ensuring fields are in proper shape and that equipment, coaching and concession needs are met. “I am trying to improve athletics in Greene County. We’re going to start a wrestling

“I recruited him like Roy Williams recruits a

His career progressed with Tilley serving

program and I want to make sure teams that

five-star high school basketball player,” Miller

as a seventh-grade math interventionist, then

are doing well academically get acknowledged.

said.

eight-grade math interventionist.

We also want to do some more fundraising for

“He turned out to be a fantastic teacher.

In February, after a vacancy needed to be

He builds relationships with his students,

filled, Tilley accepted the role of an eight-

especially those male students who are

grade teacher.

new uniforms and equipment,” Tilley said. As a teacher, Tilley is dedicated to his students and strives to help them be better

desperately seeking a male role model. He

While building his educational career, Tilley

has been nothing short of outstanding during

also progressed his athletic career in Greene

“A teacher’s job is to try and make that

his career thus far in Greene County, both in

County. He has served as a football and

student better – not just academically, but

not only academically, but in all aspects.

personally. It’s the ultimate goal as a teacher. Whenever we are working with them it's to improve their life. It’s not an easy thing and I think at the moment not a lot of kids realize what is going on. As they get older they sort of realize that,” Tilley said, adding a highlight of his career is when a student returned and thanked him for his efforts. The student informed Tilley that they were attending college for counseling. Tilley was surprised since the student’s behavior was more toward the bad side. “They even said, ‘When I was in middle

17


school I was a terrible kid’,” Tilley said.

teach me something.”

is a big one. Confidence is a big one. A lot

“‘Something finally clicked and things you

Tilley understands that each student

of kids when they are in school are different

taught me in school – I want to do that for

is different and comes from different

kids than when they are on the athletic field.

other kids. I’m going into counseling to try and

backgrounds. He keeps these things into

It’s because they don’t feel as comfortable in

help kids like you helped me.’ That made me

consideration with teaching and relationship

the classroom. As time goes on some of that

feel good.

building.

confidence in the athletic field translates over

“Even though it might not have clicked

“How I grew up and how I went through

when they were in my class, down the road,

school is completely different from a lot of

they recognized what teachers were trying to

kids in school today. A lot of these kids have

Through his years of teaching, Tilley has

do to help them and make the change,” Tilley

lives I couldn’t imagine,” Tilley said, adding

had many to inspire him; however, he credits

added.

that students may come from tough home

his teaching style to Miller and former co-

environments, have to look after siblings or

workers Eric Lynch and Lori Vendemia.

He believes building relationships with his students both in the classroom and on the field is the key to success.

not have enough food to eat.

to the classroom and you start seeing that confidence moving forward.”

“(Lynch) is the one that showed me that

“There are various situations that as a

relationships are important to students. He

“I learned very early on that that was the

teacher you have to remember that. Bringing

built incredible relationships with the kids…

key to me being successful – just to get to know

a pencil to class isn’t really big on their

(He) showed me the impact that having those

the kids and to give them the understanding

priorities… For some of them, they are just

good relationships with kids have. I try to

that we have common goals. The goal is to

hoping to get up and have breakfast. That’s

strive for that a lot,” Tilley said, adding he is

make them successful,” Tilley said.

one of the biggest challenges.”

grateful for Miller’s recruitment and that Miller

“I try to make it fun. I throw some jokes out there when I’m teaching. I try to look at what

Tilley also understands that each student learns and receives information differently.

gave him the opportunity to teach. “(Vendemia) was an inclusion teacher for

I’m teaching through their perspective… With

“Learning methods with one kid don’t

14 years. She showed me the compassionate

kids, I feel we don’t have anything in common,

always work for others. You can’t do something

side of teaching and how important it is to

I try to approach them on something I know

and expect all kids to be challenged the same.

look at students - not just through academic

they like … They will teach me more new

Others are going to take more time to figure

sense - but trying to look at the emotional

things. I love that. It’s a lot of fun when they

it out.

side and how to build upon that emotional

“You want to make sure you continue to

side… She’d bring food for the kids in need or

push kids. It’s a balancing act – continuing to

supplies,” Tilley stressed. “After being around

challenge those that need it but not leaving

that, I try to do the same thing. They are the

other kids in the dust,” Tilley said.

reason I am the teacher I am today.”

Through athletics, Tilley also continues to

Despite the challenges, Tilley has enjoyed

inspire his students and believes that athletics

his long career with Greene County Schools

can make for better students in all aspects.

and he values the time he has spent with each

“As a society, we see athletics as a very

“I enjoy knowing that their lives are being

athletics above academics. I think they can go

better because of my help – at least I like to

hand-in-hand with each other. When kids are

think that way. I love going down the hallway

in sports, academics and behavior are better.

and hearing them say ‘Hey Coach Tilley’ or

Kids that play fall sports when they have

getting hugs on the fields. It’s nice to feel

nothing to do in the winter they start to get

liked, but I feel like they respect me and I’m

into trouble. Same thing with fall and spring,”

somebody that they look to and are excited to

Tilley said, adding students are only allowed

see. It makes me feel good to know I’ve been a

to do athletics if they meet certain academic

positive part of their life,” Tilley said.

requirements.

18

and every student.

important thing. A lot of times, people put

Tilley also feels proud to be a part of the

“One big thing is it gives them a goal,”

Greene County School system, which he

he continued. “They have made a team and

describes as unique and community centered.

now it’s no longer just them. Also it starts to

“Greene County is unique because unlike

develop other skills that they may not be

surrounding counties everybody comes to

developing in the classroom – leadership

this school system. Everybody is sort of one


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Edgecombe

‘Dr. B’ is Edgecombe’s ‘super proud’ superintendent Story by John H. Walker Photos Contributed

principals and the students — had worked to be ready for those tests and I believe that had we had the opportunity (to test), we would have had 14 of 14 schools meet or exceed expectations.” But if one is looking for Valerie Bridges to be in line to grab the credit for the district’s accomplishments, think again. “It’s a collaborative effort,” she recently told the Golden K. “We are blessed with staff members and teachers who have signed on to what we’re working to accomplish. If it wasn’t a team effort, we couldn’t be successful.” And if being the CEO of a 5,800-student

S

school district that is beset by aging buildings

tudents, faculty and staff in the

people hear the list of accomplishments

Edgecombe County Public Schools

recorded by a school district long-labeled as

(ECPS) call her “Dr. B,” and she’s

behind the curve in North Carolina.

almost gotten to the point where

As an example, Bridges points out that

she doesn’t blush when ECPS Board President

ECPS has gone from having six schools meet

Raymond Privott introduces her as “Our very

or exceed state accountability standards and

own North Carolina state superintendent of

eight failing the year before she was named

the year.”

superintendent to 12 making the grade and

But it’s a fact.

two falling short in 2018-2019.

and a county that’s strapped financially isn’t enough, she also has the ultimate responsibility for developing a plan for the potential “demerger” of the 1,800 students who live on the Edgecombe County side of Rocky Mount, but attend Nash County Schools. In addition to the day-to-day business of running the system, she and the

Last Nov. 11, “Dr. B” was named the 2022 A.

“Is that good enough?” she asked the

administrative team she has assembled have

Craig Phillips North Carolina Superintendent

Tarboro Golden K Kiwanis recently. “No … 14

just completed three informational meetings

of the Year — out of 151 school superintendents

of 14 is good enough.”

to make the Rocky Mount community — at

in the state and from a field of eight regional winners who were eligible for the award.

And you can hear the pride in her voice

least the Edgecombe County portion — aware

when she tells whatever group she’s addressing

of the progress underway at ECPS and how the demerger would affect them.

After she’s introduced, Bridges tells her

that “their schools” were ready for the tests in

audience, “I am Dr. Valerie Bridges, super

2020, only to have the worldwide pandemic

proud superintendent of the Edgecombe

force the doors closed.

County Public Schools.” There’s no doubt in her voice that she’s proud to represent Edgecombe County and enjoys being able to take in the reaction as

20

“We were ready,” she says with the confidence of a general leading troops into battle. “Everyone — the teachers, the aides, the

While the decision to separate has yet to be made by Edgecombe County’s Board of Commissioners, Dr. B and her staff have a plan in place if and when it comes. In an article that appeared in www.ednc. org, Bridges notes that her mother, who was


a lifelong educator, was a great influence in

Matt Smith, principal of Edgecombe

her decision to leave her job as an auditor

Early College High School (EECHS) and the

in the state auditor’s office and enter

2019 North Carolina Principal of the Year,

education.

told EdNC of Bridges’ approach.

“My mother… absolutely loved being in

“We know her as ‘Dr. B.,’ a school leader

her classroom, and visiting, just seeing the

brave enough to tell kids she loves them,

magic happen, each day that I happened

strong enough to take on the status quo

by, I would say ‘A little bit longer, a little bit

and grounded enough to keep kids and

longer.’”

equity at the center of all our work here in

Bridges made the decision to become a

Edgecombe County Public Schools,” he

teacher, even if it did mean a cut in pay on

said. “She is the kind of leader who runs

the way to an increased emotional reward.

toward the fire.

She worked in both Guilford and

“Our entire Edgecombe community

Wake counties as a high school teacher,

trusts Dr. Bridges,” he continued. “Time and

middle school assistant principal and

time again, through the daily grind, two

elementary principal before heading east to

500-year floods, the pandemic, Dr. Bridges

Washington County, where she was director

has been our anchor, our rock, our compass.

of curriculum and instruction before being

Her moral courage and equity-centered

named assistant superintendent. From

leadership inspire all of us.”

Washington County, she came to ECPS as superintendent in 2017. Dr. B proudly tells anyone who will listen about the level of work that goes on at ECPS. “We’re been grinding pretty hard,” she said. “We don’t give up and we’ve been bold

Innovation is a word that comes to mind when discussing Bridges. Like the Scholar Teachers Program. Because it is not always easy to attract a teacher to Edgecombe County — or retain them once they’ve arrived — the Scholar Teachers Program was developed.

enough to believe that we really can make

As part of the program, EECHS graduates

a difference in our community and with our

who want to become teachers can apply to

kids.”

be part of the program. If selected, they

For example, ECPS has partnered with

receive $10,000 annually for three years

the Edgecombe County Sheriff’s Office

and then return home to teach for three

in a program called “A Will to Live,” where

years.

We’ve been grinding pretty hard. We don’t give up and we’ve been told enough to believe that we really can make a difference in our community and with our kids.

students who have an attitude problem regarding authority — and their parents — spend time each month with a deputy committed to working with the student. “It takes a while,” she admits, “but I’ve seen the progress and I’ve seen deputies giving students their personal cell number to call if they find themselves needing someone to talk to.” Bridges said that while all of the students are from ECPS, there have been 31 in the program and she believes it can help them avoid more serious situations as they age. “Some of these (students) have been running their homes, and that’s not good. They have respect for others and this program helps work to change that,” she said.

21


Dr. Bridges has more than 30 years’ experience as a North Carolina teacher and administrator. She has a BS in accounting from

UNC-Wilmington,

a

master’s

in

education from Meredith College, her teacher certification from St. Augustine’s College and a master’s in school administration and a doctorate in educational research and “They are well-prepared and committed,”

the program will join the ECPS faculty this fall.

Bridges told the Golden K. “We believe that

“But they are already coming in and

once they get in the classroom and stay for

teaching on Fridays,” she said, explaining

three years, we have a great chance to retain

that the students have already earned their

them.”

certification.

As such, they know what’s not available in

And not only does ECPS get trained

Edgecombe because it is home and they have

teachers, they get trained teachers who aren’t

a support system already in-place.

worried about a massive debt.

Bridges said the first three students from

22

“We think it’s a win-win,” she said.

leadership from N.C. State. She and her husband, Ronnie, have two children and she is committed to helping the school children of Edgecombe County be successful and productive members of the community. John H. Walker is a Staff Writer for Eastern North Carolina Living and the Rocky Mount Telegram.


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Chowan

Dr. White believes in eastern North Carolina Story by Tyler Newman Photos Contributed

I

f one was an elementary or middle

elementary school – Perquimans Central –

school

or

could not afford an art teacher in the budget,

Perquimans counties in the last 20

student

in

Chowan

so White was hired as both a music and an

years, chances are they knew Dr.

art teacher.

Michelle White. White, who currently serves as principal

Perquimans Central in the 2000s was

of Chowan Middle School, has been in the

putting on musicals for the little ones. Second

world of education since 2002. But in reality,

graders would do things like Christmas plays,

her inspiration takes her back even farther, to

while students in pre-K and kindergarten had

her own grade school years in Bertie County.

curriculum-based musicals and plays with

“I was a child with a smaller window of

rhyming parts – to teach them material while

opportunity than some,” White said. “My

She showed me a world I may not have seen otherwise. Music became my thing and I went on to East Carolina University on a full ride for music.

having fun.

mom worked two, sometimes three jobs. I

“I used to write the musicals for the

got where I am because I had teachers who

school and I tried to show every child how

believed in me.”

brilliant they were,” she said. “Every child

White says that her band teacher, Marsha

had a speaking role. The kids became stars.

Smithwick, was instrumental in guiding her

Having those kids on stage, whether you’re

to where she is today.

an athlete or musically talented or neither, it

“She showed me a world I may not have seen otherwise,” White said of her former

brought them and the community together and it was really magical.”

teacher. “Music became my thing and I went

While as a teacher in Perquimans County,

on to East Carolina University on a full ride

she was named Teacher of the Year, was a

for music.”

runner-up for Regional Teacher of the Year,

Through her experiences in Bertie County,

Rotary Teacher of the Year and a finalist

White wanted to have an impact on children

for National Disney Teacher of the Year –

the same way her teachers impacted her.

coming in the top 100 nationwide.

“Ms. Smithwick saw something special in

Over the next ten years, she eventually

me and I wanted to be able to do that for other

ascended to gain more administrative roles.

kids,” she said. “If you want an opportunity or

Wearing multiple hats at Perquimans Central,

a way out of a corner, education is a way to

White gained skills to act as an instructional

get you out.”

coach, a technological facilitator and an

Her pursuit – and awarding – of a music

assistant principal. These roles gave her a

degree eventually translated into a new

more diverse background that helped her

hire for Perquimans County Schools back

eventually land principal jobs in the future.

in 2002. At the time, the district’s K-2

24

One of her fondest memories at

Perquimans Central was – at that time


– a K-12 IMPACT School, which allowed

White oversaw an increase in student

Distinguished School. A result of massive

it to receive over $1 million for innovative

achievement by 20-30 percent during her

growth, White says that the honor was a huge

technology in classrooms. Utilizing this

tenure at White Oak. She focused her efforts

achievement for the school and one of the

technology only enhanced White’s resume as

on both Universal Pre-K and school readiness

crowning moments of her two decade career

an educator.

and strived to bring the community into the

thus far.

White also gained two master’s degrees in both instructional technology and school

school to help bring children up to where they needed to be.

“Being

named

a

National

Title

I

Distinguished School represented that we

leadership during that period – the latter

“I was at White Oak for about three years

had taken a school truly from one of the

of which coming from a free program at

and a lot of gains were made,” White said.

lowest performing in North Carolina to the

Elizabeth City State University in which she

“Towards the end of my time there, I learned

very top,” White said. “It’s about what that

was chosen from her school district to obtain

that D.F. Walker Elementary was not doing

did for the kids. They came and interviewed

the degree.

well, it was performing as a D-rated school, a

students, parents and staff, it was very real

low performing school. Superintendent (Rob)

for us. Hearing those parents talk about our

Jackson asked me to move there, so I did.”

school and the positive impact it had on their

White says that her path towards a job as principal stemmed from her original inspiration in Bertie County: making an impact

Moving up to D.F. Walker Elementary

on students. Only this time, she realized she

School – home to grades three through five –

In January 2020, just before the onset of

could impact even more students as a principal

White oversaw enormous growth, which soon

the COVID-19 pandemic, White was asked

compared to as a teacher or facilitator.

became the only school in North Carolina

again to move, this time to Chowan Middle

to move from a D-rated to a B-rated “high

School. At the time, Chowan Middle had been

growth” school within just two years.

suffering from its own internal issues. During

Not long after adding a second master’s degree to her belt, White found her way to Chowan County, where she was hired as principal of White Oak Elementary School. Taking her learned skills from Perquimans,

children was amazing.”

In November 2019, D.F. Walker also won

her stay here, White leaned heavily into her

a prestigious national award with White at

goal of seeking to make an impact on her

the helm: recognition as a National Title I

students.

25


“Some of these middle school kids didn’t

we will try and get it. Someone with the cure

support that sees the best in them. I want to

have someone telling them their worth and

for cancer or the next president may be sitting

be the person there to listen and help them

telling them to know their talents,” White said.

in a seventh grade classroom right now and

be their best and to be better teachers for the

“Middle school is a tough part of your life and

we want them to find their fit.”

kids.”

we’re almost preaching to them so they can

One example is the school’s guitar club. It

understand what’s out there. We have a lot of

was requested by students and now nearly 20

poverty here, children don’t always have that

of them are involved. The club also recently

exposure to opportunities. It’s important to

was the recipient of grant funds.

me to expose them to possibilities.”

She also says she cannot see herself in anything but education. “No, it’ll always be education,” she said. “I’ll always be doing it some way or another.

While in Chowan County, White has won

I can’t see myself not doing it. I’m a bit of a

White says that students – especially

Principal of the Year three times and Regional

workaholic, I love what I do. Twenty years in

while young – only see “their little section

Principal of the Year twice, also representing

and even at retirement age, I’ll still be doing it.

of the world,” and that creating a culture

North Carolina educators in Washington, D.C.

The reward is too great.”

of expectation in the school, one where

She also garnered a doctoral degree from

Looking forward, White says her aims will

Wingate University during this time, managing

always be towards the betterment of this rural

online classes while both leading her school

corner of North Carolina.

everyone has worth, is critical. Chowan turnaround.

Middle

soon

Discipline

saw

issues

a

rapid

declined,

and raising her children.

“My passion is northeast North Carolina.

behaviors improved, grades rose and the

As White sat in her office at Chowan Middle

I’m from here, I know the unique challenges

school was on a rebound course. Upon the

recounting her time so far as an educator,

we face here,” she said. “It’s very rural, very

arrival of COVID-19, the school was ready

just behind her, numerous awards and

difficult to get services that children need in

to transition to virtual learning and became

recognitions are assorted on shelves around

this area, it’s hard to recruit teachers to this

100 percent remote within just two days of

her desk, alongside photos of her family and

area. When kids graduate, they may not want

shutting down.

achievements. Products of a fruitful career

to come back to a place like this. I want to help

with students, staff and the community.

any way I can, to help public school systems in

Soon after, the school was named a “National Middle School to Watch.”

“It’s not just me doing these things though,”

this area be successful.”

Perhaps the most notable facet of White’s

she said. “It’s also our office staff, bus drivers,

White is taking that aspiration to the

time in Edenton-Chowan Schools is the “Find

custodians – education brings people together

next level, having just accepted a position to

Your Fit” initiative at Chowan Middle. Tying

in the best interest of children and that is the

become Assistant Superintendent of Hertford

into the district’s strategic vision for growth,

best thing in the world.”

County Schools on July 1 of this year. For her,

White says that the goal behind “Find Your Fit”

While the awards and school recognitions

was to help inspire students to discover what

are all something to be tremendously proud

they love and are good at. The initiative also

of, White says that her favorite part of being

“I’m going wherever God calls me to help

aims to close opportunity gaps that students

an educator is the ability to touch the lives of

me make northeast North Carolina successful,”

face in the district.

children.

White said. “I’m so passionately thankful to be

it’s another opportunity to have an even larger impact on a greater number of children.

“We challenged all the kids to participate

“Making a difference,” she says. “Teaching

able to give back to the schools and the region

in at least one activity for a year to find their

is not easy; it’s difficult. People look from the

that gave so much to me. I want to make it

fit,” White said. “We talk about it in our school

outside and think it’s one thing, but once you

even better, I want to make it the best.”

news broadcast, we have suggestion boxes for

get in it’s something else. As a principal, I want

the kids too. If we don’t have the fit they want,

to be there for my teachers, I want to be the

26

Tyler Newman is a Staff Writer for Eastern North Carolina Living and the Chowan Herald.


27


Beaufort

A life well spent at PCA Story & Photos by Deborah Griffin

M

arcy Morgan has been attending

me to [fill in],” she said. She was surprised how

Pungo Christian Academy (PCA)

much she loved it.

in Beaufort County for over 40 years.

both Shavender Trucking and PCA – teaching

“I truly can say I have been here since I was

five,” she said. Campbell

and helping coach. “The third year, I left to finish graduate

Except for the few years she was at

For two years, Morgan worked part-time at

University,

earning

school,” she added,

At first, she only wanted to keep the school from closing. “I decided to give it three years,” she recalls. Twenty years later, she is still there - and enrollment has increased 200-fold. At some point, she realized her life’s work was the place which held many of her fondest

her

After earning her masters in Marriage and

undergraduate degree; and completing her

Family Therapy and Child Development and

“I wanted my own children to have the

masters degree at East Carolina University,

Family Relations, she stopped by PCA one

same experience I had. That was a major

PCA has been her life.

day and did not recognize the school she had

motivator for me to come back and work

grown up in.

here,” she said.

Now, she is Head of School at PCA, and no one is more surprised than she is.

memories.

“I was not happy with the state of affairs.

Her children - Macy, 22, is a graduate of

“When I graduated from high school,

There was a lack of discipline,” Morgan said. “I

PCA; and Michel, 17, is an upcoming senior at

I thought I would never come home,” she

asked my dad what was going on. He said, ‘If

the school.

admitted.

you think you can fix it, go over there and fix

In December of 1999, after earning her degree in Public Administration and History, she moved back to Pungo and started working in the family business, Shavender Trucking. Three months later, she was teaching at PCA. Morgan’s father was Chairman of the Board of the school at the time. “The first week of March [2000], they fired the history teacher, and my dad asked

28

it.I told him, ‘I think I can.’” The school was void of consistent leadership. “They had at least seven administrators in an eight- or nine-year period,” she added. Enrollment had plummeted from around 130 students to 81. “It was on the verge of closing,” Morgan said. “They hired me that summer - and I have been here ever since.”

Morgan remembers the closeness students had with staff growing up. “We had a lot of support and love. There was a cohesiveness. You felt important,” she explained. Morgan tries to create a similar atmosphere. One way she does this is by calling each student by name. “I want them to know they are important,” she continued. She also attempts to attend home games


This school is a big part of who I am and what I do. It requires a lot of time. But also I recognize I can’t do everything. and other extracurricular activities.

“I can’t tell you how many people we’ve

school because of the Christian atmosphere.

“I try to make a connection with them

turned away,” she added. “We just don’t have

“The teachers are not here because of a

outside of school, so they know I care,” she

the room. Our teachers are used to teaching

retirement plan, health insurance plan or a big

said.

12-15 students, not 20.”

paycheck. They see it as a calling,” she added.

Hiring Morgan was a turning point for the school, founded in 1967. “We went from 81 students to 220 students; then after COVID, we went to 280 students,” she said. Staff and faculty have doubled from 13 to 37.

Growth has brought its share of pains.

“I have an amazing staff. We don’t have a lot

The library, storage rooms and the gym

of turnover.

have all served as classrooms, as well as a church across the street. “Building is definitely in our long-term plan,” Morgan said. Athletics also have expanded.

The school’s eighth grade now has a waiting list, which stemmed from the COVID-19 pandemic when schools across the state were shut down unexpectedly.

“There has been an explosion in sports teams and sports’ success,” Morgan said. Finding practice space has been an ongoing challenge.

“In March of 2020, I was about to have a

“On any given Tuesday [in Spring] we can

nervous breakdown. I thought, ‘Why would

have six different sports teams [practicing] at

people pay tuition to be at home?’,” she

four different spots,” she said.

recalled.

Morgan feels people are drawn to the

“Our number one goal is to teach students how to be a good Christian and live a good life,” she said. “And the number two goal is to educate them and prepare them for the next goal in life.” Students commute from several counties including Tyrrell, Washington, Hyde, Craven and Pitt. Some drive over an hour. Morgan, who lives five minutes from the school, knows she is where she is supposed to be. In hindsight, her master’s in Marriage and Family Therapy and Child Development and

“But my teachers did a phenomenal job. From March to May, they had online class every day. Students turned in work every day. They had times they had to be in the ‘classroom.’ We did the best we could in the situation we were in. “Thankfully and prayerfully, everyone paid tuition,” she continued. In the fall, “we knew we had to go back to school face-to-face,” she said. Enrollment soared. “We picked up 75 students in two weeks because public schools were not sure they were going to meet in-person. I thought we would ride this wave for a year, then everything would go back to normal,” she said. But students stayed.

29


Thanks Yall! Family Relations has been instrumental. in dealing with children and families,” she said. Morgan may have grown up at PCA, but she also helped grow PCA. “This school is a big part of who I am and what I do. It requires a lot of time. But a lot of that time was spent with my children,” she added. Morgan said she is learning to step back – a little bit at a time.

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I started. I’ve had to learn to let go and delegate. That has been hard for me. But also I recognize I “Whatever your job is, I think you have to love what you do. I feel very blessed I have had a job, where for 23 years I wanted to come to work,” she added. “I honestly don’t know what else I would want to do.” Deborah Griffin is a Staff Writer for Eastern North Carolina Living and The Enterprise.

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Tyrrell

Talley’s ‘All In’ with education, enthusiasm Story by John Foley Photos Contributed

I

’m all in. You have to be today. You

had dedicated his life to it and now wanted to

more competitive educational system in the

have to be all in”, said Dr. Wayne

“spend more time fishing with my wife.”

United States creating a more balanced world.

Talley, interim Principal of Tyrrell

Plans often change.

Elementary School.

“During the summer of 2021, while visiting

students are more worldly, technologically

“I am concerned about technology. Our

Talley wears his ‘all in’ enthusiasm on the

my son in Florida I received a call from Tyrrell

savvy and simply smarter than ever before.

breast pocket of his Navy Blue Blazer, broadly

County Superintendent Oliver Holley asking

This is terrific,” Talley said. “However, screen

boasting “TES BULLDOGS’ which he had

if I’d be interested in an interim principal

time does not mean full time. We have to

embroidered in red.

position in Columbia. When I returned home

have balance and I really believe computer

As an educator for 35 years, Tally has been

I agreed to take the position for a couple of

programs should be used to supplement

around the educational block and has the

months. Well, as fate and providence would

teacher engagement.”

background, experience and stories to prove

have it and Christmas neared, I was asked to

it.

stay until June of this year,” the principal said He began his teaching career in 1976,

with a smile.

Talley has his educational roots planted in teacher-student relationships. “In order for schools to be successful, the

teaching high school science and biology

After beginning his career 46 years ago, the

systems implemented must synchronize with

in Athens, Georgia, where he stayed the

changes he has experienced throughout that

the home and community. Teachers need to

first eight years of his teaching career. He

journey have been substantial.

realize and accept there may not be adequate

received his Masters Degree from Troy State

“There are several factors that have

home support, but once teachers understand

in Alabama, and his Doctorate Degree from

radically changed education since the mid-

this, children may be supplemented by

Nova Southeastern University in Florida.

seventies. The state statute 94-142 which

various programs within or outside the

After 13 years as an educator and 23 as

provided a free public education to students

school to positively fill the void. That’s where

an administrator, Talley made the decision

with handicap conditions was critical and a

computers could play a more important role,”

to retire in 2011 from his position as School

major plus for all students,” he said.

Dr. Talley said.

Superintendent in Edgecombe County.

Talley also professes accountability on

He had sailing, scuba diving and fishing

all levels of education, from the board of

in his sites and while he loved education, he

education members down, has shaped a

32

Talley is saddened by the recent increase in mass school shootings. The former Superintendent explained


when he was an assistant principal at a large high school in 1994-1995 two of the schools in his district petitioned the school board for security officers. Talley was opposed to the suggestion. “I was absolutely and totally opposed to the idea of a full time uniformed office on my campus. Our county school was not inundated with gangs, drugs or frequent off campus visitors. Therefore I opposed it,” Talley said, adding “Sadly because of the culture in our country almost all schools K-12 have an SRO. It’s needed protection and I think, I hope, it deters crime.” Today, Talley looks to the future of education and his involvement in it as a blessing. “Somehow I was given this gift of being able to serve another public school, it’s students, the community, the staff and faculty after ten years in retirement. It’s like a dream come true that I never dreamt could happen,” the former retiree said, shaking his head while smiling. “I’m a better person now. For some reason, every decision I’m making is child first and child centered. I have always believed that, but now I actually live by it,” he stressed. Talley is the constant salesperson for

It was a team effort, just about every staff member had a hand in every aspect of the event. It was extremely important for the cohesiveness of the faculty to pull together in one harmonious direction to show off the talents of the school. Tyrrell Elementary School. During the April school board meeting in the midst of his report to the Tyrrell County School Board, he had no problem hawking tickets to the school board members for his upcoming Science and Book Fair Night featuring the students’ science project creations and dinner supplied by Captain Bob’s. The success of the evening is what sparks Talley’s enthusiasm and passion. COVID shut down any activities for the school. Tyrrell Elementary’s April 6 Science and Scholastic Book Night attracted an overwhelming turnout of staff, students and parents. Talley was almost on his feet with excitement when he explained the Tyrrell team sold 700 plates of food at $10 each and the media center sold over $6,000 in books and other media tools. “It was a team effort. Just about every staff member had a hand in every aspect of the event. It was extremely important for the cohesiveness of the faculty to pull together in one harmonious direction to show off the talents of the school,” Talley said proudly. “Like Tom Brady and Michael Jordan - speaking figuratively, of course - ‘I’ll reretire, but never.’ I’m waiting for another opportunity to leave something good behind for education,” the coach said, blue blazer over his shoulder, boasting Bulldogs. John Foley is a retired newspaper editor and a regular contributor to Eastern North Carolina Living.

33


Martin

Daughter follows in mother’s footsteps, into the classroom Story & Photos by Deborah Griffin

T

o their surprise, Kristen Greene and

“In mom’s classrooms - I remember

home and visited Mobley at school, who was

Michelle Mobley are like mother, like

thinking, ‘I want to do something different’,”

then assistant principal at the former East End

daughter.

Kristen said.

Elementary. She had a revelation. Deep down,

All her life Kristen, 23, watched her mother

Mobley added, “She and her brother,

interact with children as a teacher and later, as

Brendan, have been in every class I was in, at

“Mary Lane Baker was teaching third grade

principal.

every school. They helped me clean out, paint

[at East End]. I wanted to see her, so I just

- anything I needed. They have always been at

hung out in her classroom and loved it. I loved

school. It’s what she knew.”

everything about it. I was only in there maybe

In fact, Kristen was born the year Mobley began her teaching career.

she really did want to teach.

As she grew up in Martin County Schools,

Greene graduated from Riverside High

30 minutes to an hour. I watched her teach

she loved helping her mom decorate and

School in Williamston in 2017 and headed to

and the kids were just so sweet. You could tell

prepare her classrooms for each new school

the University of North Carolina at Wilmington

they meant a lot to her and vice-versa.”

year. But, she didn’t think the classroom was

(UNCW) to pursue a degree in Marine Biology.

where she would end up.

34

But after a year away from home, she came

Kristen also realized she was homesick. “I missed being here. I realized I can’t do


Marine Biology in Martin County,” she said, laughing.

was third grade. “When I got here, I didn’t know what to

She transferred to East Carolina University

expect with fifth graders. It’s nothing like I

to finish her degree, this time in Elementary

thought it would be,” she said. “It’s so different

Education.

than the younger students. You can actually

She graduated in December and by

talk to them about stuff.”

January, Kristen was teaching fifth-grade

She has 44 students between two classes.

Math and Science at South Creek Elementary

Mobley said it surprised her when Kristen

School, where her mother had been principal

first told her she wanted to teach. She

the year before.

jokingly asked her, “You know you have to like

While Kristen was earning her degree, Robersonville schools had several changes. East End Elementary closed and South

children, right?” “But then she started teaching,” Mobley said. “And I thought, ‘Oh, she gets it’’”

Creek Middle School became South Creek

As Principal of Jamesville Elementary,

Elementary. (The middle school and high

Mobley has come full circle. She is the same

school were combined at the high school.)

place she did her student teaching almost 25

“The cool thing now is, a lot of the kids I had in Kindergarten and first grade [while assistant principal at East End], are now in Kristen’s class,” Mobley said. Knowing this brought comfort to Kristen, as she was preparing to start her first teaching position in the middle of the year. “A lot of those kids at East End are now in my class. When I first got there, the classroom was bare. It just looked so sad. Mom was looking at the list of kids - and she said, ‘I know this person, and that person.’ It gave me a peace of mind,” she added. The children seem to find it comforting as well. One student even told Kristen, “You walk just like your mama, with your heels clicking,” she said. “I walk really fast down the hallway,” she explained. The highest grade-level Kristen had experience with during her student teaching

I never encouraged her not to teach. We need good teachers in the classroom.

years ago. Mobley is right where she wants to be. “I love it,” she said. Mobley said she was inspired to go into education because she had great mentors. “In high school, Vicki Peele let me go to the health department to work in Debbi Rogers’ class. Becky Dadisman was my mentor teacher at the beginning of my career,” she said. “I owe everything to Susan Peele. I worked for her at two schools and most of my teaching experience. She has been my support for the past 24 years,” she added. “I feel blessed to be surrounded by great teachers and staff in Martin County.” Mobley started her career as a teacher at Williamston Primary School and then moved to E.J. Hayes as an Exceptional Children’s (EC) teacher. She switched to administration about three years ago, after going back to school with a grant. Mobley has a degree in Elementary Education and Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction in Reading and a Master’s in School Administration. She is thrilled Kristen is following in her footsteps. “I never encouraged her not to teach,” she said. “We need good teachers in the classroom.” Deborah Griffin is News Editor of The Enterprise in Martin County and a Staff Writer for Eastern North Carolina Living.

35


Bertie

Wanda Cofield makes a difference in Bertie County Story by Lewis Hoggard Photos by Lewis Hoggard & Contributed

O

ften, adults reminisce about teachers and their impact on our childhood years. Just about everyone can name a favorite

teacher. This edition of Eastern Living is

highlighting educators and the role they play in the community. For Bertie County, one of the best of the community is Wanda Taylor Cofield. Some would find it hard to believe this well-respected educator was not planning to go to college after she graduated from high school. Wanda had a job working a local retail store, a boyfriend and an automobile, and did not feel the need to go to college. There was not a history of attending college in her family. Wanda thought she had the world on a string after graduating from Bertie High School. She was convinced to apply to college her senior year, even though she did not desire it. A history teacher of hers, Robert Copeland, kept asking where she was going to college. He was one of the driving forces that made her apply to a university. She was an excellent pupil in high school and any college would have welcomed her to their student body. After applying to college and having her pick of schools to attend, she chose Elizabeth City State University mainly

36


for its closeness in proximity to Powellsville.

Her decision to pursue teaching was not

Actually, many of the students consider her a

She also received a full scholarship, which

until a few years after graduation following

second mom. Ms. Cofield knows how to bring

was helpful as her parents were divorced with

having worked at Lea Lumber company.

out the best in students and she does it all

finances always a concern.

At Lea Lumber Company, Wanda worked

with a big smile.”

With a full scholarship, she did not have to

in the office of Milton Tadlock. Tadlock fondly

pay anything, including when she moved to a

remembers her as “a very smart and nice

dorm on campus.

young lady.” Milton worked over 42 years at

Cofield loves what she does and she does

Lea Lumber and served as the plant manager

not hide her exuberance for her students or

as well as a number of other jobs.

job. Not to say that there has not been trials

Also, being the baby of the family - she has two sisters and brother - made the decision to

Everyone talks about the friendly face and smile.

leave her mother when she moved on campus

The late William Peele convinced her

and tribulations along the way. Wanda Cofield

a very difficult one. Cofield was never that far

to leave Lea Lumber and go to work for the

is a proud breast cancer survivor, who wanted

away, being in Elizabeth City. She returned

school system as a seventh grade math

to make sure that fact was included in any

from there and has basically remained in

teacher in 1997. Her concentration in business

article about her.

Bertie County ever since.

classes meant that she had taken the requisite

Wanda credits the decision to go to college, and particularly Elizabeth City State

math courses to be able to teach math without having majored in education.

Superintendent

Dr.

Smallwood

says

additionally: “She

even

takes

on

additional

University, as one of the best decisions of

She has worked for Bertie County

her life. Her major was not education, but

responsibilities with a smile. For most of

Schools ever since, rising from a teacher to

business administration.

the 2021-22 school year she has served as

an administrator and a principal positively

the Director of CTE for the district while

Ms. Wanda Cofield is the epitome of a strong and courageous leader. She builds positive relationships with parents, community and stakeholders and she treats her students like her own kids.

affecting so many students along the way.

concurrently serving as principal of Bertie

Currently, Wanda is serving as the interim principal of the Bertie Early College High School and serves as the Career Technical Education (CTE) director at Bertie County Schools. CTE provides students of all ages with the academic and technical skills, knowledge and training necessary to succeed in future careers and to become lifelong learners. Bertie County Schools Superintendent Dr. Otis Smallwood exudes “Ms. Wanda Cofield is the epitome of a strong and courageous leader. She builds positive relationships with parents, community and stakeholders, and she treats her students just like her own kids.

Early College High School. This is dedication at its finest and I am privileged to be able to work with such a fine professional." Wanda has never stopped wanting to learn. Later in life, she got her master’s in school administration and also a master’s in curriculum and instruction. She has also been active in community endeavors here in her home county. Wanda is a member of the Rotary Club of Windsor, a prominent service organization in the area. She is also a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, which is the first AfricanAmerican intercollegiate sorority. Being active in the community in which she works and lives is important to Wanda. Cofield is proud of her two daughters and her husband, Michael Cofield, who was the boyfriend in high school. They have made their home in the county she grew up. Family makes the effort to succeed worth it as well as rewarding and also keeping everything close to home. Wanda Cofield is a treasure for Bertie County to be appreciated whether it is at the Bertie Early College High School, director of CTE and Bertie County Schools or in her local Rotary club or for Alpha Kappa Sorority. Lewis Hoggard is Director of Windsor/Bertie Chamber of Commerce and a regular contributor to Eastern North Carolina Living.

37


Nash

Dr. West remembered for humor, excellence Story & Photos by Sarah Davis

A

n award-winning educator, was

us feel happy, unburdened, lighter and special.

remembered recently for his

Very special.”

“Anyone who knew him absolutely loved the guy,” said retired English Professor Bill

ability, personality and style

Dr. West spent 33 years at Nash

O’Boyle. “He was E.T. smart. And his laughter

while in the classroom at Nash

Community College teaching psychology,

was the greatest thing. I mean, you can almost

art history, statistics, computer science and

hear it. If you just get really quiet, you can

sociology of the family.

probably picture David and picture a time

Community College. The late Dr. David B. West, 76, was a psychology professor emeritus at NCC when

For his part, History Professor Dr. Jay

when he really picked you up. You didn’t go

he passed away on April 13. The school paid

Peacock remembered Dr. West’s contributions

in and say, ‘Doc, I need some counseling,’ but

tribute to his work and legacy on May 12.

to NCC and Nash County.

man you left feeling like you’d had counseling.”

“I had the honor to work alongside Dr. West,”

“Dr. West had that remarkable ability

NCC Vice President of Students Mike

said Lisa Cooper, NCC’s Department Chair

to connect,” Dr. Peacock said. “He left an

Latham said Dr. West may have been the best

for Humanities and Social Studies. “Always

enormous imprint on Nash County and if we

teacher he ever knew.

gracious and kind, with an unmistakable laugh

could do an impact study on how many lives

“Anyone who knew him remembers one

and a style all his own.”

David West touched in a positive way, it would

of the most distinctive things about him… that

have to be in the tens of thousands.”

laugh,” Latham said. “If you were having a bad

Cooper went on to quote Maya Angelou in honor of Dr. West. “’I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.’ I think we can all agree Dr. West made

38

West began working at Nash Community College in 1982 and stayed at his post until retirement in 2015. Those who worked with him remembered him for his laughter and sense of humor.

day, it just made you feel better. “He was a great teacher, possibly the greatest

teacher

I’ve

ever

known,”

he

continued. “He had literally generations of adoring students. He was also a great teacher


to his colleagues. Each and every

remembering Dr. West, officials

one of us who knew him learned

with Nash Community College

something from him and gained

held a dedication ceremony for

from it. He was my greatest

the Professor Emeritus Dr. David

advisor and mentor early in my

B. West Memorial Classroom

career.” Dr. West earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology with high honors along with a master of art and doctorate of philosophy degrees in education psychology from Michigan State

which is room 4216 on the second floor of Building D at NCC. Gifts in Dr. West’s memory may be made to the Nash Community

College

Faculty

Senate Scholarship, c/o NCC

University. He also completed

Foundation, P. O. Box 7488,

graduate studies at the University

Rocky Mount, NC 27804-0488.

of Minnesota and the University of Georgia. Following the May service

Anyone who knew him remembers one of the most distinctive things about him... his laugh. If you were having a bad day, it just made you feel better.

Sarah Davis is a retired librarian and regular contributor to Eastern North Carolina Living.

39


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B&E America theme has celebrated ir ve- be play month of July,the commit communities ndi ade vance t towhile“The In July Buen “re- Wreaths Across hundreds WindsOR to term cha organization, tee’s attentio ofofthe Giving a visT ing musDJ Ser ng Rela thenmission nonprofit that rges - The al with on whe wrappi was to share the partnered Spookta a lar 5K only used ir original America for teach.” in last ic at vices willy Across identifying has a new Wreaths a being ng and name honor ther – The weecushootin tion was the decisio name. its member, interpre our event event to avoid any k lies the distwill orThe into upwhich beinfeaturing event. its inve was held in a neganotannual belief that n5K (WAA) deathted of waygby the rict tive at or near we condone its race 34-y the Hallowe now be to stig Ber will handspart atto file Jamboree of ear-oldshootin en,” use in any and See called the comClar munity. negative rney. reads. Bertie g deait aCounty was Holleytie k of tacular 5K tim“We nized in ReLa SpecJam their e Berap- has been way. Our intentio kille Jr. Clar preciate th 2010y, to & 1 Mile Fun A5 addressorgaThe She commit said d app kforthrig tie Cou ers rece was es Run. Earl honesty teemile and the released htness ,and always will ben problem of hunger his riff stateme sho orninG nty provide ivedMto a roxthis concern ima nt.John Mon s from ood t G offic in imately County disp financia Bertie and and to that tely ing afor by raising l support e is callthe mission Churc atch B3 day .............Bue were we are 9 p.mM at funds for changin itchell two end, na Church & Faith Mfireildred the Good The Good Shephe Sheriff , Aug.. . tha app Classifi h & Fait rox- of “Wh B4 Vistga the name . 9. d and Shephe rd Food en the Pantry. of the t rd Food on injured Holley fou Pantry. Classified ..................... a The . 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Freedom Cele bration

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Windsor, Cha mb host honor, firework eve Perdue receerives 1 event nt Relay plans 202

Mask s by sc require d hool board

Relay

For L

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109 S. King St • PO Box 69 • Windsor, NC 27983 Phone: 252-794-3185 • Fax: 252-794-2835

history meets adventure

in July’ featuring ‘Giving Fatal ths Across America sh Wrea Asbe New onam otine, ll aw gw sam aitin ill beeexcellent eve g writ ten re nt planned revie ports for wed October by D In th is ed istric ition t Att In this editi In this edition orne on y

tie WE HAVE A NEW Ledger–AdvanceB beBer rtNon C iee5K-Em Farmer’s Coerg unenc for slated tyyy Tran 252rts P325Ag Festival794-5334 • 252easpo 2460 nutss Thank

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Event slated for

ganizers. off By Thadd WhiTe The event will kick parade Bertie Ledger-Advance at 11 a.m. with a for 11:30 a.m. inaugu- planned following ROXOBeL – The Festival Immediately Farmer’s ral Roxobel Ag the parade, The event is taking shape. the 5K will start. for the Monday evening will offer a prize Roxobel Revitalization male and female who with dressed as Committee met Roxo- are best members of the farmers. sign bel Board of CommisThose wishing to sioners and Roxobel up or who want learn along the FarmFire Department lead- more about contact with community for er’s 5K should ers to iron out plans is the Windsor/Bertie of the festival, which County Chamber slated for April 1. the Commerce, who tradisuch Plans made for the tionally organizes festilocal festival include Run, events for Farmer’s 5K Fun and vals, at 252-794-4277. there children’s games During the day musical entertainment. will be a variety of enfestiThe inaugural tertainment, including val is being planned amusements provided the to to draw people County northern Bertie See FesTivaL, A3 to ortown, according

Vidant Bertie celebrates heart health

LesLie BeachBOaRd

Baptist Herman Missionary in her study at Mt. century. Lucas reads her Bible back more than a The Rev. Alma O. which dates its history pastor of the church,

Church. Rev. Lucas

/ Bertie Ledger-Advance

is the first female

to ministry Lucas ‘called’

Dewitt Proctor ity from Samuel Virginia of Windsor. of Theology of rural area outside from Bertie SchoolUniversity. By LesLie BeachBOaRd Lucas graduated Union in 2004 Bertie Ledger-Advance High School. Lucas was ordained Baptist University Missionary She attended Shaw Sum- at Mt. Olive woman is WindsOR - A local in Raleigh and graduated Church. word throughwith a BatchPastor for 12 preaching God’s ma Cum Laude “I have been a and County,” said degree in Religion out Bertie County. years in Bertie Alma Lucas elor’s The Reverend Philosophy. her educa- Lucas. ministry was a says going into Lucas continued Laude See Lucas, A5 graduating Cum calling. of Bertie tion, degree in DivinLucas is a native with a Master’s raised in the County and was

Zonya Foco speaksTruth

Perry selected Chief

Oftie County Sheriff’s Hospital Heart Atkins By Thadd WhiTe at the fice in 2002 when was Social on Feb. 16 Bertie Ledger-Advance Conwas sheriff, and Cashie Heritage to Corporal WindCoun- promoted vention Center in WindsOR – Bertie later. He took Holley two years a sor. assault inty Sheriff John more tie Hospital hosted Chief over sexual in 2006, Guests learned has named a new vestigations dinner to celebrate about how to “Love began workDeputy. has and then heart health month. Your Heart” in celebraKenny Perry, who areas of the Heart disease claims tion of American Heart year ing in all womserved for the past office. been sheriff’s the lives of many of Month. as Lieutenant, has “I did a little bit spot en. The keynote speaker he said. “I chosen to fill the That is why Vidant of the event, America’s vacant everything,” I was and which has been re- filled in wherever in paBertie Hospital Leader Zonya since Greg Atkins Health Nutrition evneeded – be that other Vidant Foco, invigorated investigatired. entities, East Carolina eryone with her mesmake trol or doing and “I wanted to and tions.” Heart Institute finding simple Holpart- sage of sure I took my time Last year, Sheriff to improve their physician person Perry to to things to do found the right Hol- ley promoted of the reners work together your heart health. for the job,” Sheriff place high- take the offer risk assessments Foco’s tips on healthy Hoggard. ley said. “The staff educastress and tiring Lt. Carl he began and screenings, treat- eating, exercise, ly respects Kenny time, and wise tion, advanced himself At that the entire eight management he has proven eneroffi- overseeing ment options and lifestyle choices His duas a hardworking patrol division. Heart Truth luncheons audience. cer. I have confidence our re- gized the and dinners in Foco enlisted several See PeRRy, A3 he’ll do a great job.” Bergion each year. Perry joined the See heaRT, A3 A large crowd attendBertie ed the Vidant

Deputy

By LesLie BeachBOaRd Bertie Ledger-Advance

BerWindsOR - Vidant

In this edition

Obituaries ......................A2 Opinion ..........................A4 B1 Sports ............................. B4 ............. Church & Faith B6 Classified .......................

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PLATE SUPPER slaw, and bread BBQ CHICKEN w/ red potatoes, $8.00

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pins the new Chief John Holley (left) Bertie County Sheriff Kenny Perry Tuesday. Deputy badge on

Volume 119: No.

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Perquimans Story by John Foley Photos by John Foley & Contributed

Perquimans Central School second grade teacher Laura Duncan, wears her passion for the environment, and especially the endangered Sea Turtle, on her sleeve. Well, actually, her wrist. Yearly,

Duncan

shares

her

passion

and knowledge of climate change and environmental protection with her second grade class through a project based learning experience focusing on the diminishing number of Sea Turtles and helping save them. Born in Jackson, Mississippi, Duncan moved to Boone when she was in middle school where her father was an accounting professor at Appalachian State University. She “went over the mountains” to Emory and Henry College in Virginia, and graduated in 1984 with an English degree, along with a minor in mass communications. After receiving a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education degree in 1986 from Appalachian State, Duncan began her teaching career in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. The educator went on to earn a Master’s in Education from Francis Marion University in 1989. Duncan has taught at Perquimans Central School in Winfall, where she has shared her passion for turtles with her students since moving to the area in 2017.

Laura Duncan wears her passion on her sleeve

The fact nearly all species of sea turtle are now classified as endangered, with three of the seven existing species being critically endangered, is the fuel for Duncan’s passion. “The importance of the sea turtle to all of the ocean ecosystem is enormous when we take steps to help and protect the sea turtle, we do so for all ocean life”, said Duncan as she supervised the daily “Save the Turtle” bracelet production in her second grade homeroom class. The idea for the Save the Sea Turtle Initiative Project began 14 years ago when Duncan was

42


They are doing all of it. I buy the beads and they use their creativity and energy to make bracelets. living in South Carolina, teaching

take the students on a field trip

first graders.

each spring to view the Sea Turtle

“I grew up going to the coast

Assistance and Rescue (STAR)

of Alabama and Mississippi. As a

hospital that we are blessed to

longtime lover of the ocean, these

have located there. This is our

creatures are important to me.”

segue into our Sea Turtle Inquiry

Duncan said. “A former student

project each year. It was ironic

came back to my classroom one

that when I moved here five

year to visit my first graders and

years ago, I joined a school staff

showed a video of his family

whose mascot is the turtle. Even

watching sea turtle hatchlings

our news show is "Turtle TV" It is

making their way to the ocean

meant to be.”

after hatching from their nest on

Duncan teaches literacy to

the beach. That year my students

34 students each day, so they

wanted to "know more" about

have all learned about sea turtles

sea turtles so I began this project.”

and our local marine habitats.

Yearly,

Duncan

introduces

It’s Duncan’s homeroom of 18

her class to the plight of the Sea

students that has made most of

Turtle.

the bracelets and is also building

“I have started this inquiry every spring since - it is a favorite

a website from their research on sea turtles.

of the students, makes a huge

“They flooded the school

impact on the sea turtle hospitals

with posters on ways to help.

and rescues, and shows the

They create advertisements for

children that learning is not only

the bracelets, which sell for $5

fun, and exciting, but it is active,”

each. They developed a large sea

she stressed.

turtle storyboard and will film

The video was also the catalyst

some short "infomercials" for

for Duncan and her husband, Lee,

our school TV show this week,”

to relocate to Hertford.

Duncan proudly shared.

“I was interested in the N.C.

Each morning the students

Aquarium and once we moved it

work creating the bracelets before

was only natural to continue the

class starts and sometimes at the

program,” Duncan said, adding,

end of the day, making sure there

“With the gorgeous Outer Banks

is adequate inventory for the

nearby and our sea turtle hospital

following day’s sales.

located at the N.C. Aquarium on

“They are doing all of it. I buy

Roanoke Island I felt it was the

the beads and they use their

perfect time to introduce the

creativity and energy to make

program here.

bracelets. We have a normal day

“Through

the

Aquarium

Scholars Program we are able to

of learning around it,” she said. Duncan

has

combined

43


learning about the environment and the

share their knowledge with the community

environmental threats endangering sea turtles

challenges faced with the basic principles of

and make even more of an impact when they

and hence, all ocean life. He graciously gives

business under Save the Turtle banner. And

share ways we can all help the sea turtles and

his time to answer the students' questions

while those skills aren’t needed today, the

ocean life. Making a donation to the sea turtle

each year. He is incredible. His website is

fundamentals they are learning will stick with

hospital is just icing on the cake.

Turtle PROtector.”

“I believe climate change is becoming an

According to Perquimans Central Principal

Being introduced to the fundamentals of

increasingly important topic for our students

Tracey Gregory, the Sea Turtle program is one

sales, marketing, manufacturing, advertising

to learn about, and be made aware of,” she

of the students’ favorite programs.

and even the creation of an “infomercial” are

continued. “I believe awareness is growing

all skills the second grade students acquire.

and children are ready and able to learn

them.

Duncan has set up a manufacturing

ways they can be "stewards" of the earth

schedule, developed a sales team, has

and ocean and pass that learning on to their

widespread marketing and advertising posters

families and community. They want to make

throughout the school and also has taught

environmentally healthy choices. They realize

bookkeeping and inventory skills. While many

the connectivity we all share to nature and the

businesses are facing labor shortages, that’s

beautiful animals that live here with us.”

not a problem for Duncan.

In May, Duncan surprised her students.

“Four students sit at the table in the lobby

Before the school year ended, the class had

each morning and sell the bracelets, while

the opportunity to discuss their project and

the rest are in the classroom beading. It has

fundraising efforts with Dr. Steven Dunbar,

been incredible this year - the first day they

professor of biological sciences and world

sold almost $300 worth of bracelets. We

known sea turtle expert from Loma Linda

count the money each morning and their

University in California.

excitement and pride builds,” she said. The class has raised over $2,000 to donate to the N.C. Aquarium Sea Turtle Hospital. While scientists across the globe preach daily to the masses about the importance of climate change, Duncan is taking a more local,

While Duncan’s class may be considered

“You can’t beat project-based learning and Laura is just a remarkable teacher. It’s wonderful to see the excitement the students get from this,” exclaimed Gregory. The bracelets, complete with a special turtle bead are sold to the PCS students and also parents of the students in her class. Duncan happily reports many Hertford moms received bracelets for Mother’s Day and School Nurse Liz Stallings adds to her bracelet collection yearly. This

month

an

N.C.

Aquarium

representative will be visiting Perquimans Central to accept a large check from the students.

“grassroots” in the global Sea Turtle initiative,

“As Einstein said, ‘Look deep into nature

her efforts have not been unrecognized as

and you will understand everything better.’

Dunbar is one of the leading Marine Biologists

This applies to children and adults alike.” said

in the world focusing on the Sea Turtle.

Duncan, with an outstretched hand sporting a

“Steve researches turtles with his students

dozen bracelets from year’s past.

in Honduras and does research on sea turtles

John Foley is a retired newspaper editor and

“The children realize their efforts make

in Thailand and now Jamaica,” Duncan said.

a regular contributor to Eastern North Carolina

a difference - even at age 6, 7 and 8. They

“They track, study and try to understand the

Living.

grass roots approach.

44


45


Hertford

Story by Sarah Davis Photos by Cal Bryant Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald

“What would Mrs. Johnson do?”

W

hen almost any career educator

Ambrose, Bowe, Cooper, Daniels, Flood,

their decisions will affect persons at every

is asked why he or she is in the

Gadsden, Little, Matthews, Newsome, Spivey-

level, most importantly the students.

profession, the answer is almost

Loudon and Hall, J. Wendell Hall.

A Hertford County native himself, Hall is

always a name, a name of a

Currently serving as an at-large member of

teacher whose influence has lived far beyond

the North Carolina State Board of Education,

the time and space in which the person was

the result of an appointment by N.C. Governor

Attending and graduating from C.S. Brown

first encountered.

Roy Cooper, Hall has served on the Hertford

School in Winton, where he served as drum

County Board of Education since 2000.

major, Hall then attended Elizabeth City State

Not only did that person result in another’s

also in a position to understand the Hertford County student.

entering the field of education, but that

With the board making policy that must be

person is in some way always channeled in

followed by teachers and administrators at all

the disciple’s teaching.

levels, it is good to have someone with Hall’s

Although the roles were literal in high

background in that role. He understands how

school and college, he has metaphorically

In Hertford County, those names include

46

College (now University) where he also served as drum major.


Throughout his career, he has found himself asking “What would Mrs. Johnson do?”

been a drum major for Hertford County education throughout his career.

retirement in 2000. Since then, he has served as Interim

supervisory of the North Carolina Athletic Association.

During his time as a student at Elizabeth

Superintendent of Hertford County Schools

The depth and breadth of his knowledge

City State, Hall returned to Hertford County

on three different occasions and has served

are evident as others from throughout the

for his internship as a “practice teacher” at R.L.

as Interim Superintendent of Schools in

state seek his counsel in order to navigate

Vann.

Northampton County (twice), Warren County

the troubled waters in which they often find

Schools and Weldon City Schools (also twice).

themselves.

As that time was nearing an end, and his graduation was at hand, he was offered a full-

In addition to serving as one of nine voting

As he talks about the many roles he has

time position at Riverview Elementary School

members on the State Board of Education,

had and the changes he has seen in education

in Murfreesboro. One of the fourth grade

he also currently serves on the Board of

since he first “student-taught,” his devotion

teachers was leaving the classroom in order

Directors for the North Carolina School Board

to the student is evident in all he says,

to create a music program for the school,

Association and as a representative on the

declaring we can’t wait on the education of a

and Hall took her place in the fourth grade

North Carolina Athletic Association.

child, no matter what circumstances present

classroom, teaching from January to June of that year.

He talks passionately about the student-

themselves.

athlete with the emphasis on student when

On the subject of charter schools (one

He then ventured to Lawrenceville,

he mentions House Bill 91 which requires the

of the many changes he has seen), he

Virginia, where his sister was living and taught

State Board of Education to become more

understands their place (remembering that

fifth grade for two years. After marrying a Murfreesboro citizen, the former Bettie Brooks, he returned to the area, teaching for several years at R.L. Vann in Ahoskie. He was then offered the position of Human Resources Consultant with the State Department of Education under the leadership of Hertford County native Dr. Dudley Flood. He served in various capacities under the State Department of Education in Raleigh and Region I Center in Williamston: Human Resources Consultant, Alcohol and Drug Consultant, Lead Instructional Specialist and Regional Director for Federal Programs for Migrant and Title I programs. In 1984, he returned to Hertford County as Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources, a position he held until his

47


Discussing

the

current

initially there were only to be 100, and they

– at least in the near-future – he believes

were to be “lab” schools), giving parents a

the lower schools will soon follow. He also

educators,

choice in their children’s education, but he

believes the same will be true for teacher

perception too often held.

would like to see the playing field level.

licensure with methods other than tests to

With 220 charter schools, most not “lab”

assess aptitude for teaching credentials.

he

recognizes

climate the

for

negative

Noting that we won’t pay our way out of the problems while nevertheless advocating

schools, not bound by the same rules and

He says the best teacher is “a scholar who

for higher pay for teachers, he champions a

regulations as the public schools, the charter

knows his or her area, but also cares about

system in which teachers feel safe and valued

schools are on a favorable playground.

students.”

by the school and community.

Of all the situations he has witnessed,

Acknowledging that it can be difficult to

He feels a mentorship program is essential

care for some students, he recognizes they

to producing good teachers, with veteran

“Navigating through totally uncharted

are possibly the ones who need care the most.

teachers who have demonstrated their ability

waters, we did the best we could,” he said,

Arguing vehemently that children always

to control the classroom while imparting their

adding, “it will be years before we know the

need a voice, he wants to see more social

subject matter leading new teachers for a

full effect of COVID on our students and the

workers in the public schools. In order to

minimum of two or three years.

education process.”

educate the whole child, educators must

none has equaled COVID.

Why did he become an educator?

One of those effects will probably be a

understand the child. With the aid of school

Mrs. Johnson, his first grade teacher in

decrease in the emphasis on testing. With

psychologists and social workers, that can be

Newport News, Va. Throughout his career, he

higher education waiving standardized testing

accomplished.

has found himself asking, “How would Mrs. Johnson do it”?” Then, he tries to do what she would have done. He has always tried to do for others what she did for him. He knows Mrs. Johnson saw education as an investment in the future, noting that we must all see it that way, whether on the county, state, or national level. All of us who have known Wendell Hall and benefited from his many roles in education can thank Mrs. Johnson as we realize what a return has been reaped from her investment. Sarah Davis is a retired librarian and regular contributor to Eastern North Carolina Living.

48


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Northampton

Working together to lay a strong foundation Story & Photos by Thadd White

W

alk into the Pre-Kindergarten classroom

Northampton

“I have never had kids of my own, but I

Elementary

always enjoyed being around children,” Boyd

School and its easy to feel the

said. “This game me the chance to work with

County’s

in

of life.

Central

excitement – not only of the children, but of the teachers as well.

children and I found my niche.” Boyd said her calling to education began

University to major in early childhood education and continued to work with children during her time there. Boyd started as a Teacher Assistant in Weldon Elementary’s Pre-K program and started attending Barton College to earn her

The lead teacher, Queen Boyd, is more than

when she was in Weldon City Schools as a

three decades into her journey in education,

student. She said a Home Economics Class

“I enjoyed school. I felt it was a challenge,”

but is as excited about teaching children now

led to an opportunity to work with students

Boyd said. “I like sharing that love for learning

as the day she began. Her assistant, Benketa

as a volunteer and she never wanted to leave.

with children.

Harrell Mitchell, is 17 years into her life in

“I worked with students in Weldon

“I want them to come in and love school,”

Elementary School as a tenth grader and was

she continued. “I like to keep them engaged

then able to work with students in a daycare in

and like to keep them happy in school. I want

Weldon,” Boyd recalled.

them to go home and tell their parents they

education, but is equally as excited. The two work hand-in-hand to make learning fun and to provide a foundation for lifelong learning that will improve their quality

50

She went on to Elizabeth City State

teacher certification.

love school and love their teachers.”


I enjoyed school. I felt it was a challenge. I like sharing that love of learning with children. In addition to her time in Weldon City

Like Boyd, Mitchell began in Head

Schools, Boyd moved on to direct the

Start – first as a parent volunteer then

Head Start program for Halifax County

as a bus monitor and teacher assistant

before returning to public schools.

before becoming a lead teacher. She

She

was

drawn

to

Central

stayed in those roles for seven years

Elementary School because she felt it

before coming to Central Elementary

was somewhere she could make a real

School.

difference.

She began as a bus driver and first

“Northampton County is a small-knit community, and they have a need for

grade teacher assistant before moving to Pre-K seven years ago.

good teachers,” she said. “The school

“I love it. I couldn’t have asked for

system is growing academically, but I

a better field to go in,” she said. “I love

came here because I felt I could make a

seeing them learn.”

difference.

She agreed with Boyd as to the

“Pre-K is the foundation,” she said.

importance of starting children off well.

“We can make a difference for the

“We lay the foundation of learning

entire school district by how we lay the

before they go into the upper grades,”

foundation. If we start them well, they

she said. “We do all we can to make sure

can go and improve every step of the

they are prepared for kindergarten.”

way.” Mitchell

She said students in the current Pre-K began

her

career

in

education 17 years ago after going to

classroom already know their ABCs and can write their name.

Halifax Community College to earn an

Mitchell also said the parents were

associate’s degree in Early Childhood

wonderful and had supported the

education.

teachers and students.

She said her love for teaching students began at an early age. “Growing up as a child, I wanted to be a teacher,” she said. “I would line my baby dolls up and teach them.”

Both teachers said the return to the classroom after teaching virtually due to COVID-19 was important. “I love having them back in the classroom,”

Mitchell

said.

“Virtual

She said the education she received

learning was so much harder. In the

at HCC was instrumental because she

classroom, there are a lot of things you

got hands-on learning.

can do to help children learn. Virtually,

“With the degree, you have to go in daycares and intern and work in

that was much more difficult.” Boyd echoed those sentiments.

elementary education,” she said. “That

“We were able to reach most of our

let me know this is what I really wanted

goals and did everything we could to be

to do.”

successful,” Boyd said. “It is wonderful

51


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52

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Halifax Story & Photos by Deborah Griffin

T

erry Butler Waters is a cornerstone of Hobgood Charter School in Halifax County.

Serving the school for nearly a half-

century, she estimates she has taught at least 1,000 students. Her influence has spanned generations, impacting the entire community. In May, at the school’s end-of-year awards ceremony, Waters was floored when her name was called to come forward and receive the Order of the Long Leaf Pine. The honor is the most prestigious award a citizen in North Carolina can earn, and is bestowed by a sitting North Carolina governor. According to the Order of the Long Leaf Pine Society, the award is given to those with exemplary service to the state and their communities; who have gone above and beyond the call of duty; and who have made a significant impact through exceptional accomplishments. Members of the Hobgood community worked

tirelessly

to

nominate

Waters,

according to one of her three daughters, Shelly Council. “She served her community through the school,” Council said. “She is the longest (serving) teacher there.” People often notice Waters’ car parked at the school on late afternoons and weekends, Council added. She has touched countless lives as she

54

Nearly 50 years of dedicated service


She went there straight out of college, and has been there ever since. served 49 years in the school, which opened in

Education and Science, and coached girls’

book assignments, and her legendary, annual

1970 as Hobgood Academy, a private school.

basketball.

field trips to Washington, D.C. She takes pride

Waters, now 71, was hired three years later.

“Mom’s fifth year of teaching established

“She went there straight out of college,

a precedent of sorts,” Council said. “This was

Waters also served in additional roles

her first year as a fourth-grade teacher, a

where needed, such as teaching foreign

Most of her years, she taught fourth grade.

position she has now held 45 years. She is

language for a short time during her planning

Retirement seemingly looms on the

known for sharing her love of reading and

period. She volunteered as a statistician for

trivia with her kids, her long-running poetry

several sports teams and served as teacher

and has been there ever since,” Council said.

horizon.

in teaching about our state and capital.”

“Next year will be 50 years. She is probably going to stop after next year, but we don’t think she will hang up her hat completely,” Council added. “She may go to part-time or substituting.” At the awards ceremony, Council read a summary of Waters’ life, submitted to the office of Gov. Cooper for her nomination of the award. “Terry Butler Waters, born May 24, 1951, was raised in Scotland Neck. After graduating from Scotland Neck High School in 1969, she attended Atlantic Christian College, (now Barton College) in Wilson. She graduated in 1973 with a Bachelor’s degree in Education.” Waters taught sixth grade her first two years. The next two, she taught seventh, eighth, and ninth grade Health/Physical

55


“This is totally unexpected,” she said. “I have heard of this before, but who would have ever thought I’d be getting an award like this? I don’t even know if I can put into words what this means to me. “This place has been my second home. I have loved teaching. Other than my own children, this is the highlight of my life. I’m totally in shock,” she added. “I don’t know what I’ll do after next year - when I say I am going to retire. I’ve already decided I’ll come back and sub, if you all will have me. I can’t think of anything I’d rather do than be here,” Waters said. “When I am here, I have all my memories.” representative for the board of trustees. Waters’ entire family was in on the surprise

“She

remembers

demonstrating

every

dedication

child

well-past

her

of the prestigious award, including her

duties as a teacher - attending numerous

daughters, Brandyn Sorie, a dental hygienist,

sports events, graduations, weddings, class

Tracey Tucker, a nurse, and Council, who

reunions and funerals,” she added.

provides speech-language therapy services

“She has become a cornerstone for our

at the school; along with their families, which

town and school,” Council continued. “She

include Waters’ eight grandchildren.

served under eight headmasters (or more)

She has taught at least three generations of families from a three-county service area: Halifax, Edgecombe and Martin Counties. She taught two of her daughters, along with

with

a

consistency

unparalleled,

while

demonstrating a willingness to adapt.” During the awards ceremony, Council said, “It would be difficult to imagine our school

She said she briefly considered becoming a hairdresser when she was in high school. “But I’ve never regretted becoming a teacher. I had the advantage of doing what I wanted to do and be with my children,” she said. “This place is a wonderful place to be. The people, the families - you couldn’t ask for anything better than this school. It has been so important to me.” Juliana Harris, headmaster of Hobgood Charter School, told the audience at the

without a Mrs. Waters. Just as it would be

awards ceremony, “Folks, you just witnessed

“Mom has taught hundreds of children,

difficult to consider anyone more deserving

history and an opportunity that doesn’t come

treating each as if they were her own, being

of this highest level of acknowledgment and

along very frequently.”

invested in not only in their academic

gratitude for her many years of service.”

several nieces, nephews and grandchildren.

performance, but in future endeavors and achievements, as well,” Council added.

56

As Waters accepted the award, she was overcome with emotion.

Deborah Griffin is the News Editor of The Enterprise in Martin County and a Staff Writer for Eastern North Carolina Living.


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Gates

Jacob Harrell could have followed a family tradition; instead he became ‘Teacher of the Year’ Story by Gene Motley Photos by William Anthony Photography & Contributed

A

s a third-generation member of one

A standout catcher at Merry Hill’s Lawrence

with a degree in Physical Education. Though at

of the Roanoke-Chowan region’s

Academy at the turn of the century, Harrell

a business career crossroads, he opted instead

most noted business families, it

followed his sports passion to nearby Elizabeth

to enter teaching.

may have seemed natural for Jacob

City State University where he received a

“I always wanted to work with kids,” Harrell

Harrell to follow that same path. Instead,

baseball scholarship. However, after two

said. “Right out of high school I had a baseball

from his earliest days he always wanted to be

seasons, he put his playing days behind him;

coach that kind of showed me the way and

around baseball.

but not his education, graduating in four years

how to do things. The way he influenced me

60


as a coach and a teacher kinda made me want to go in that direction.

“Right now I currently teach Advanced

will actually assign themselves.

Physical Education and Sports Management,”

“There are practice plans and workout

“I had a lot of good teachers in high school

Harrell related. “I have taught Health and

sessions and then we play tournaments at

that made me want to do the same thing for a

PE, but I’ve kind of transitioned from that

the end,” he added. “So it’s just diving into

living,” he added.

since I’ve become the Athletic Director. I now

the sports with a little more detail as far as

mainly teach upperclassmen.

Advanced PE compared to Health & PE or

One such influence was then-Lawrence Academy’s Robert Kravitz, who established a

“In Advanced PE we really dive into some

baseball championship dynasty at the small

of the other sports in more detail and there’s a

Thanks to the success of the curriculum,

Bertie County school. Only twice in the past 22

lot less Health involved; it’s more getting into

Sports Management has become popular

seasons (not counting the lost 2020 COVID

rules and regulations and how the game is

with the students.

season) has Lawrence failed to make at least

played, different strategies,” he continued.

the state semifinals, in 2003 and 2021, and

the

advanced

group,

“It’s is something we introduced a couple

Harrell

of years ago. That is really just taking kids

in the former season, they were undefeated

provides his students with a more hands-on

behind the scenes of what goes on to run a

finishing as state runners-up another six times

environment.

successful athletic program,” Harrell stressed

during this century.

With

Introduction to PE.”

“We actually use what’s called the Sports

“This gets them really involved with things

After teaching and coaching Harrell,

Education model,” he stated. “A lot of the

like painting the (lines on the) football field

Kravitz invited him to join the Warriors staff

team sports we do the kids will be broken into

or setting up for soccer matches or basketball

as an assistant coach while still in college, and

different teams where they’ll have coaches,

games. Those kids help in a lot of different

later after he graduated.

assistant coaches, trainers, etc., which they

ways as they learn to do those things.”

“It’s funny that I started off just wanting to coach and teaching was just something that came with it. As I’ve gotten older and I’ve been doing this longer I really enjoy both sides of teaching and coaching,” he noted. Harrell moved on from Lawrence to Gates County’s Central Middle School and later on to Gates County High teaching Physical Education. “Once I left Elizabeth City State I went onto the University of West Virginia and got my Masters (of Science) degree in Physical Education,” he revealed. His current teaching now has a broader appeal.

61


In six seasons since taking over as the Red

“He was then the Athletic Director (at CMS)

bat college ball and American Legion. Besides,

Barons head baseball coach, Harrell has never

and then he decided to step away because he

his athletic director duties, teaching and

had a losing campaign, not counting the 2020

felt it was time,” Harrell continued. “I didn’t

coaching keep him plenty busy.

COVID year.

really realize that he was kind of grooming

In 2022, he finished 13-10 with a young

me for a couple of years to move into that

team, but still took second place in the Four

role. When he decided to give up baseball I

Rivers 1A Conference.

stepped up as varsity coach and he was still

“I had a lot of people influence me in

the acting athletic director for a couple of

high school and this is just what I wanted to

years after that. Then when he moved away

do. Obviously, I love baseball and athletics

from the A.D. I stepped into that.

Perhaps his greatest achievement to date was being named both Gates County High School and Gates County Schools’ “Teacher of the Year” for 2021. He points out that it validates his career decision from all those years ago.

“To be honest I really can’t measure the

“I think I’m settled in (at the high school

was definitely the pathway. To me, helping

amount of support I still receive from him.

level),” he concluded. “I enjoy what I do,

develop our youth is what it’s about.”

I don’t know how it would operate without

helping these kids to go on and chase their

Coach Hayes. His work ethic and the things

life dreams after high school. I really get to see

he’s taught me can’t be measured because it’s

or have some type of relationship with every

Along with Kravitz, Harrell credits Hayes

helped me so much along the way. He still

along with retired Bertie High School coach

helps us everyday because he’s very athletic-

kid who comes through this school, especially

Randy Whitaker and current Hertford County

minded and he’s a big part of what we do here

High coach Chris Towell, as his coaching

not only in the athletic department but in the

influences.

classroom as well. We have a lot of support

and for me to stay around it as an adult this

Harrell took over the head coaching duties from now-GCHS Principal Jonathan Hayes.

“Mr. Hayes has been a great role model,”

from the administration,” Harrell said.

if they play sports. I enjoy seeing these kids develop into men and women; what little bit I can help in getting them going in the right direction and helping mold their future, I’m proud of.”

Harrell effuses. “Every time he left something

Now married with wife, Amber – a teacher

I would be the one to pick it up. I started off as

at Central Middle School – Harrell doesn’t

Gene Motley is a retired Sports Editor and

his jayvee (junior varsity) baseball coach when

coach as much in the summer off-season as

Sports Director and a regular contributor to

I began teaching at Central Middle School.

he once did with travel ball, amateur wooden-

Eastern North Carolina Living.

I think I’m settled in (at the high school level.) I enjoy what I do, helping the kids to go and chase their life dreams after high school. 62


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65


ALL IN A

Day’s Trip Visiting charming

Story & Photos by Meghan Grant

Franklin County

Franklin County is a great place to visit for a day trip featuring quaint, charming towns with down home charm. There are some changes happening to the area with breweries, restaurants and shops popping up, plus beautiful murals and views of the Tar River. We started out our day trip in downtown Franklinton with lunch and shopping right on Main Street. There is ample street parking and it is quite cute with the revitalization happening to the buildings there.

G rab L unch

at

M ason

and

M ain

This cute spot offers a variety of coffee, pastries, sandwiches, salads, wine and beer, plus an artisanal food and beverage market. Their menu includes everything from pulled pork sandwiches to charcuterie boards to sausage dogs. They also sell artwork created by local artists and feature live music on the weekends. There is adorable covered seating on the sidewalk to enjoy a leisurely lunch. Mason and Main is located at 2 North Main St., Franklinton.

S hop

at

M ercantile

on

M ain

Mercantile on Main is the cutest spot that features a wide variety of locally made products, beautiful bouquets and hilarious gift items. The Mercantile makes it a welcoming shopping experience highlighting handcrafted and homemade products and it is obvious that Christopher and Christian are thoughtful in curating their shop. Mercantile on Main is located at 4 North Main St., Franklinton.

66


E njoy Pizza & B eer at the N ew Owl ’s R oost B rewing On the other side of Mercantile and Main, the brand new Owl’s Roost Brewing is serving up pizza, beers, wine and mimosas. It just opened in August 2021 and is located in the historic movie theatre on Main Street. The building was renovated around the historic skeleton of the theatre and they have done a beautiful job with the space. The outdoor seating area is expansive and they also have a horse hitching post. Owl’s Roost Brewery is located at 20 North Main St., Franklinton.

T ake

a

Drive

to

L ouisburg & E njoy the T ar R iver

the

Views

of

The drive from Franklinton to Louisburg is just a lovely, short drive. As you drive into town, you’ll be greeted by the Tar River, which runs right through the center of town. We parked and walked back over the bridge to check out the views. There are plenty of grassy areas to enjoy a picnic on the banks if you opt to enjoy some leisurely time outdoors.

G rab a Beer at T ar Banks Brewery Tar Banks Brewery Co. is a wonderful, welcoming brewery located right in the heart of downtown Louisburg. The brewery often hosts food trucks on weekends and shares which ones will be there on their social media channels. Tar Banks brews their own beers and makes their own seltzers, while also featuring guest taps, popular seltzer brands and wine, too. Tar Banks Brewery Co. is located at 108 North Main St., Louisburg.

E njoy

a

Farm -to-T able M eal

at

Rustic Roots

After spending a day experiencing Franklinton and Louisburg, finish up with a hearty farm-to-table meal at Rustic Roots in Bunn. This restaurant opened a little over a year ago by a husband and wife team with a mission of sharing seasonal, sustainable and local food. While their menu changes with the seasons, it features items such as North Carolina scallops, zucchini fries, farmhouse burgers, homemade pasta and filet mignon. Rustic Roots is located at 20 Cheves Rd., Bunn. Meghan Brown Grant is the author of I’m Fixin’ To, a lifestyle blog focusing on North Carolina, and a regular contributor to Eastern North Carolina Living. She lives in Willow Springs with her husband, David, and two dogs.

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biography Story by John Foley Photos Contributed

Cohen educates with the student and community in mind The Perquimans County Director of Career

Those pieces of equipment fill the needs of

Technical Education (CTE) Jill Cohen has always

the firefighter technology classes offered as part

taught with the career of the student and the

of the high school curriculum program along

needs of the community in mind.

with a dozen other courses. Cohen’s philosophy

“That’s what education is about,” Cohen said,

is to educate students while feeding the

while being interrupted by the rumble of a fire

community with upcoming career talent. The

truck driving past her office window.

opportunity for Perquimans County students is

“That’s our fire truck, the high school’s fire

abundant.

truck,” Cohen said proudly as she went on to

That’s Cohen’s current focus, but fire trucks

explain the high school needed the truck to train

and high angle rescue were not part of her

the school’s firefighting cadets in high angle

education plan when she graduated with

rescue.

a Bachelor of Science Degree from State

“Our fire tech kids, our cadets, yesterday

University of New York in Plattsburgh in 1979.

and the day before, were practicing high angle

She went on to earn a Masters Degree in

rescue from the top of our fire training tower. It

Home Economics from City University of New

was all over Facebook. Look at these pictures,”

York. Throughout her career, whether as the

Cohen said, smiling broadly and adding, “Our

Program Assessment Coordinator at Van Wyck

program has equipment we let our volunteer

Junior High in Wappinger Falls, NewYork or the

and our town fire department borrow because

Life Skills Teacher at the New Hampshire Youth

they don’t have it. If there’s a silo rescue they

Development Center, Cohen always looks to

have to do, they will borrow our equipment.”

the future through the eyes of her students.

Yes, Perquimans County High School has its

It was a birthday trip for her husband,

own fire truck. And a high angle rescue training

Larry, an avid golfer and an advertisement for

tower.

Albemarle Plantation that enticed the Cohen’s

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comfortable in? They understand that. Those are the questions I ask,” she said. “That’s number one. “Number two, do you want to work in the morning, afternoon or at night; what’s your optimal time? Finally, what’s your passion? Don’t tell me you’re going to be an accountant if you hate math. If you are an artist, it’s graphic arts. I also ask if they want to live in a rural, to leave the winters and Lobster Roll shacks

“I loved subbing for Jill’s classes. Her

of New Hampshire behind and venture to

students were bang, bang, bang. They knew

Perquimans County.

exactly what they needed to do. Jill is an

“We came down in May, found a piece of land on Monday. Larry went golfing that

incredible educator. I really miss the food program” said Jaklic.

suburban or urban setting,” Cohen confided. “That’s what students relate to, today.” Cohen said her work as CTE Director led her to evaluate the entire program. “After my first year as director, I assessed

afternoon and I came into the town, went to

A lot has changed for Cohen and

what we had. I assessed best practices across

the Chamber and came over to the school

Perquimans’ High School since that first day

the state. I asked more questions and felt in

to see what it looked like and met some

in 2006.

order to make a stronger high school,” she

great people,” Cohen recalls. “The teacher for

As the Director of Career Technical

said. “We needed to send stronger students

Family and Consumer Science was retiring

Education, a position she has held since

from the middle school, so I focused on

and I spoke with the HR Director at the time,

2016, Cohen holds the counseling keys to

the middle school,” she continued. “I began

filled out an application, walked in with my

the community’s future while highlighting the

aligning education with our economic needs

tennis shoes and cruise wear and 12 weeks

importance of the trades in education.

in the community. Now, the middle school is

later I began teaching.” Cohen was not only an educator at the

“Focus on the trades is coming back in a big way. I’m concerned for our programs as we

inquiry based. “We

brought

in

Biotechnology

and

time, but also a student as she studied the

need to build a pipeline for educators to carry

Agriculture. (We) built a greenhouse. I went

curriculum throughout that first year and

on when our instructors retire. One of the

to a state conference and everyone wanted

developed a more community-focused plan.

problems we face is the higher salary private

to build greenhouses. I explained if it benefits

industry pays. It’s hard to compete with that,”

the community, build one. If it doesn’t, don’t.”

Cohen explained.

Cohen went on, “There needs to be a need

“I taught the first year and went to the principal and explained the program was not meeting the economic needs of the

Her outlook for her student’s future,

for urgency to learn. If I’m supposed to learn

community. He agreed and let me alter

the community and education is based on

ratios in math class, but I don’t know what

the curriculum. I brought in the Foods and

common sense principles that today’s young

they are, but I am supposed to built a race car

Nutrition program and combined that with

students understand. When she first became

in my stem class and I have to draw and scale

the Restaurant ServSafe program into all of

CTE Director, Cohen discussed her process to

and build it, I am doing ratios and I don’t even

my curriculum,” Cohen explained.

a group of parents and students.

know I am doing it. I don’t know the word, but

Hertford resident and retired educator

“Please don’t ask your child what they

I know the thinking. We are teaching students

Connie Jaklic had previously substituted for

want to do. Because they don’t know. What

to think. Now I am sitting in math class and I

Cohen on occasion.

do you like to wear to work? What are you

get it. It makes sense. It’s higher knowledge.”

72


When it comes to knowledge, the career technical

education

course

offerings

are

extensive and obviously connected to the community. Animal Science, Plant Science and Equine Science along with Power, Structural and

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Technical Systems of Agricultural Mechanics are directly associated with Perquimans County and surrounding communities. If one happens to see a sixth grader writing in what appear to be modern day hieroglyphics, don’t worry, they’re coding. It’s taught as a language beginning in sixth grade. “I felt computer coding was important, so I implemented it in sixth grade,” Cohen said. “I wrote a grant and got it. The first week we had the course I had sixth graders all over the floor coding. I asked one of the students if they liked it and they thought it was the best course ever. Coding is positive and negative integers. They were learning math at the same time.” Cohen’s newest program - Clear Accelerator will place 60 students in the community to work and be paid a stipend, throughout the summer. Cohen knows the money will go back into the

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community. That was the foundation for her case to the state when they suggested she spend the money on educational tools outside of the state. “I explained sending $20,000 to California or Utah for a computer program wouldn’t help many people in Perquimans, but the stipend will be filtered back into the community. After reading the fine print, I got the approval,” she said. It was another small victory for the educator, who continually has the students of the community in mind. Her most recent accomplishment was noticeable at the Job Fair held in May. The event offered high school students an opportunity to easily find summer employment while local corporations, small businesses and restaurants were thankful for the opportunity to fill staff vacancies. “We had great success. I believe we placed three students that first day, and I know a lot

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of others had interviews,” said Cohen, smiling, knowing she’s helping to feed the employment needs of the community. John Foley is a retired newspaper editor and a regular contributor to Eastern North Carolina Living.

73


Grandma’s

Kitchen Sylvia Hughes with her grandmother, Bertie Dameron.

Beautiful things are beginning to happen

you work outside or having something to fix

in nature. Leaves have appeared on the trees.

quickly when you come in makes life easier.

Shrubs are blooming and so are flowers.

It has gotten so expensive to eat out and you

The colors are so amazing to see after the

can fix healthier meals at home.

blandness of winter.

A little prep time at night can make meals

There is something about spring that

such as fajitas or stir fry quick and easy the

brings not only new life to plants but to us

next day. Preparing a dish for the oven the

as well. This spring has a feeling of freedom because the corona virus is dying out. Masks are no longer required in most places and we can smile at people and see them smile back. I have missed that. Do you have the urge to get out and enjoy the weather and maybe plant a few things? I have some things tugging at me. I have a little cleaning up that needs to be done in my flowerbeds and weed killer needs to be sprayed in some places. There is a wild flower bed I am working on. At my age, it is a little at a time. If you work at a job and then go outside to do things when you get home, you don’t have much time to cook for yourself or your family. Putting something in the oven while

night before and putting it in the refrigerator gives you a meal you only have to turn on the oven and put in the oven. Cold plates are good when the weather gets hotter. Making a shopping list with easy plan ahead meals is another way to save time. Some ideas for cold plates are deli meats, chicken salad (you can use a rotisserie chicken and make the night before), cucumbers, tomatoes, lettuce, beets, cheeses of different types and pickles (sweet, dill, bread and butter). Drizzle a little of your favorite dressing over the food. Serve with any type of crackers or Melba toast. I have a few ideas just to get your creative juices flowing.

Sylvia Hughes is a retired newspaper editor and columnist residing in Windsor. In addition to three sons, she has a gaggle of grandchildren, many of whom love cooking with her just as she did with her mother and grandmother.

74


Pork Subgum cubes, Cut pork into ½ inch s op ch rk po s les ne 1 lb. Bo in skillet until ped, removing fat. Saute 1 bunch green onions, chop minutes, crisp. Cover and cook 5 ed tops includ n. cut in remove from pa 1 large green pepper, green pepper s, ion on Saute . strips and mushrooms 2 minutes ½ lb. mushrooms, sliced routs, Add vegetables or bean sp or les tab ge ve ey su op 1 can ch at until meat, nuts and stock. He bean sprouts pieces hot. ½ cup walnut or almond sauce, Add cornstarch to soy Add 1 ½ cup chicken stock th. Stir in and stir until smoo ch tar rns Co . tsp 1 s 1 tb. Plu with hot salt and pepper. Serve 1 tb. Soy sauce opping noodles. (Doing your ch te tas to er pp pe d salt an the night before) d 1 can fried noodles, heate

New Engl and Sal ad Roll 1 cup salad shrimp or lobster (ca n use 1 tablespoon lemon juice imitation) Add a few dashes of hot ½ cup celery sauce (op tional) ½ cup finely diced cucumber ¼ cup red bell pepper Salt and pepper to taste 1 small green onion, tops includ Whisk dressing together ed until Dressing; smooth. Add rest of ingredients. 2 tb. Mayonnaise Put on sandwich rolls and top with 3 teaspoons mustard slaw mix

P o r k C h o ps a n d 6 pork chops in fourths 6 potatoes, cut 1 tb. Soy sauce 2 tb. Oil ice 2 tsp. Lemon ju ire sauce 1 tb. Worcestersh n sugar 2 tb. Light brow 2 tb. Catchup

Potatoes

s and potatoes Place pork chop aining sh. Whisk rem in a baking di ops pour half over ch ingredients and and potatoes. s. es at 350 degree Cook 30 minut ning fully. Add remai Drain juices care es. 30 more minut sauce and bake

75


Views

Ph Sarah otos by Hodg es-S Mar ti n Cou talls Schoo nty ls

Super heros made and apperance at Williamston Primary School to honor a local hero, first grader Sammy McDanial for National World Syndrom Day. 76


DOWN RIGHT AWESOME

77


Grace & Truth

The greatest mission P astor Webb Hoggard

great towers are the destinies set before every generation. Racial

equality and human sanctity are not the works of nature, but the work of people. Humans build enduring and magnificent feats because we build on one another. Every age builds on the last, so it goes that the most excellent job given to anyone is the person who educates another. Many thanks are owed to those who give their lives to instruct others. The heights and

“Physical,

you’ve ever considered education as serious business, there is nothing more important than helping others build brighter futures.

emotional, intellectual and social health is how we see a better future.

C

limbing mountains and building

depths in which we find ourselves today are built atop hundreds of layers of instructors.

Educators form the world. So, if you teach others in any way, I say thank you. I would also like to remind every educator that we must engage our students holistically. We must not think our job is intellectual only, but we must regularly engage emotionally. Let’s connect young people to their entire existence. Physical, emotional, intellectual and social health is how we see a better future. I’m grateful for people who have done that for me, for my wife, and now for my kids. I thank

Without the forethought to serve the future by writing down all they learn and experience,

taught rich truths authored in Heaven on a

God for every lesson my parents learned that

we can’t be where we are.

plain that we don’t naturally gravitate.

they taught me.

I taught in a high school for seven years. I know it’s a mostly thankless job. Honor doesn’t come till many years later when those you gave your all recognize the investment. I am incredibly blessed by dozens of men and women who poured their life into me. I’m so grateful to those who taught me about life, science, history, the Bible and God. My life is richer.

Jesus met with every kind of person with patience and taught them things that would change their life. When Jesus was giving his last instructions to his followers, He commanded us to go and teach everyone about what He has taught. Jesus’ great mission that He sends all of us to do is to teach. Education is the most important assignment we have.

If you want to build a brighter future, don’t think of bricks and hammers and bank accounts. Think people. Think about children or young people that are just starting. A better world is a world of better people. Governmental systems, economies and religion are not based on better theories. They are based on better humans. And no one has more influence on that than educators.

I am a follower of Jesus. I do all that I can to

So, whether you believe in Jesus or not,

Emanuel Webb Hoggard is pastor at

honor Him and live like Him. Jesus was known

whether you have ever recognized the ones

Askewville Assembly of God. He can be reached

as a rabbi or teacher for his entire life. Jesus

who took the time to teach you, and whether

via email at pastorwebb@hotmail.com.

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79


County: Hertford Marker ID: A-86 Date Cast: 2014

MARKER TEXT

F. ROY JOHNSON 1911-1988 Folklorist and publisher. Left newspapering 1962 to chronicle folkways & peoples of northeastern N.C. Office stood here.

MARK IT!

Information courtesy of the N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources

“F.

Roy Johnson is a hunter

of the Johnson Publishing Company,

of sorts, a man after

he published twenty-two books on

rare game. His prey is

topics that included Indians, the Gatling

often elusive as a fox, and the terrain he

gun, folk tales, legends and myths, the

covers can be delicate. He stalks the folk

Roanoke colonies, Nat Turner, peanuts,

tales and memories of another time.” So

riverboating, and witches and demons.

began a feature story in the September

He

prided

himself

on

being

a

1, 1981, issue of the Norfolk Virginian-

mechanical master and never purchasing

Pilot. The subject was Frank Roy Johnson,

any new equipment, but rather recycling

a native of Bladen County who moved

outdated machines cast aside by the

to Murfreesboro in 1940. He was a 1932

local community college. As a one-man

graduate of Duke University, where he

operation, he personally set the type and

worked on the student newspaper and

bound every one of his copies by hand.

met his future wife, Margaret Hamlin.

He also reprinted works by Captain John

His newspaper career began in 1934

Smith, Thomas Harriott, John Brickell, and

in Surry. Six years later he moved his

Sallie Southall Cotton. He co-authored

equipment to Murfreesboro where he

several books with Frank Stephenson.

founded the Daily Roanoke-Chowan News

Stephenson counts Johnson as his

and the Northeastern Carolina News. He

mentor, as did Parramore, longtime

merged the two titles in 1947 and, in 1962,

professor at Meredith College. Johnson

sold his paper to his competition, the

worked with the Division of Archives and

Parker Brothers Company of Ahoskie.

History to microfilm twenty-three reels to

of his newspapers. His estate, settled

concentrate on his primary interest,

The

sale

freed

Johnson

up

up by Stephenson, deposited his notes,

the history and folklore of northeastern

research materials, and correspondence

North Carolina. With a young Thomas

in the State Archives. In 1976 Johnson

Parramore, he published “The Roanoke-

received the Brown-Hudson Folklore

Chowan Story” as an 18-installment

from the North Carolina Folklore Society.

feature in his paper. Under the auspices

He died on October 17, 1988.

East Main Street in Murfreesboro REFERENCES F. Roy Johnson Collection, North Carolina State Archives Carolina Comments (January 1989), p. 11

80


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81


PARTING SHOTS By Thadd White

There are so many educators who have helped shape my life. I remember even now – some 40-plus

They were sometimes hard and strict, but I can also say I never doubted their love for us or their desire to see us succeed.

in another edition down the road. As you read about the men and women who are shaping the lives of children, we

years later – the kindness of Beverly Jilcott

In high school, I failed Spanish. I wasn’t very

hope you will enjoy their stories and realize

in my first grade class. She was an excellent

good at it, and I had my mind on other things

how hard they work daily for our children, our

teacher we all loved and made coming to

as well. That didn’t detract from how good a

future.

school better.

teacher Sharon Mattingly was. It’s not often

I am thankful to each educator who

you can fail a class and still think the teacher is

touched my life, and those who have helped

A few years later my classmates got to experience the very best of Bertie County. Hulda Tayloe and Kay Byrum were among the best elementary/middle school teachers anyone could ask to have. When our class made it to high school, many of the teachers knew which ones of us had been in their classes because of what we knew. I can’t say either of them was always fun.

I am thankful to each educator who touched my life, and those who have helped shape my children and the other children of this region into fine people. 82

among the very best. I spent more time with Gail Bridgers than any teacher at Bertie High School. She taught me and made me a better person. She also made me a writer, for which I am eternally grateful. I can’t go without mentioning the love and respect I had for Bill Hawkins. He was not only one of the best football coaches I’ve ever known, he was an excellent classroom teacher. There are so many others – Styron Bond, Lloyd Spruill and Barry McGlone to name a few – who did such a wonderful job teaching and taught me so much.

shape my children and the other children of this region into fine people. We are forever in your debt. We will be back next time with a few places you “must see” in each of our counties. We look forward to bringing those to you. Until next time, remember… all who wander are not lost. Continue joining us as we wander through Beaufort, Bertie, Chowan, Edgecombe, Gates, Greene, Halifax, Hertford, Hyde, Martin, Nash, Northampton, Pasquotank,

Perquimans,

Pitt,

Tyrrell,

Washington and Wilson counties. Thadd White is a father, a fan of Chelsea

This edition of Eastern North Carolina

Football Club and a grateful recipient of a good

Living pays tribute to some of the best and

education thanks to the teachers who shaped

brightest in the classrooms of Eastern North

his life. He serves as Group Editor of five Adams

Carolina. We could have easily done 100

Publishing Group publications, including the N.C.

stories in the 18 counties and still not began to

Press Award-winning Eastern North Carolina

hit the tip of the iceberg. Maybe we’ll do more

Living.


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