November 2021 NCAE News Bulletin

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NCAE North Carolina Association of Educators

News Bulletin Nov. 2021

Vol. 52, No. 4

Autumn … The Season of the Soul!

NCAE News Bulletin


Grounding Our Gratitude What are you most thankful for? It’s a question each of us should be asking ourselves as we approach the Thanksgiving holiday season, especially in light of all that Tamika Walker Kelly

has happened since the President beginning of the pandemic.

We, along with our students, have endured a lot in the almost two years since COVID-19 became a household name. Schools abruptly closed, learning went virtual, and masks became the new fashion accessory. Then, slowly, we began the process of reopening and now we are back full speed with challenges such as not enough teachers, bus drivers, and other vital school personnel.

However, in spite of this chaos, we are doing the important work of educating students and ensuring their futures are bright. The fact that we get to do this every day is something to definitely be grateful for and we should consider doing what I call, “Grounding Our Gratitude.”

Grounding our gratitude means we must remain grateful for each other and appreciative of each other because the

messages we sometimes receive from the outside feel hollow and empty. It’s important for us not to ground our gratitude in external things, but those things we treasure and value, those things close to our hearts. For instance, being grateful for the students in our schools. Despite everything that’s going on around us, our students still want to know us as educators, and many are excited about learning. They want that sense of relationship with us and their classmates.

The relationships we have with each other as professionals speaks volumes, too, because if no one else understands what is happening in the world of education, your fellow colleagues do. It’s why we should celebrate each other during American Education Week (November 15-19), which takes place the week prior to Thanksgiving. This national week of recognition is set aside to thank those who serve our public school communities and we should use it as a time to uplift ourselves as well. The job of educator is a noble one. Let’s be proud of the positions we hold. Whether administrator, teacher, or custodian, our dedication shines through in our commitment to give students our very best.

Lastly, the strength we share helps ground us, not only in dealing with all we face inside of our school buildings, but with our lives outside of those walls as well. It helps us focus on family, friends, interests, and those things that make us whole. So, as you gather this Thanksgiving with loved ones, reflect on all you are grateful for. Celebrate those around you as well as yourself and enjoy every moment this special holiday has to offer!

Teach Truth: Know Your Rights FAQ

What to know about your rights and protections when teaching about racism, sexism, and historical prejudice, sometimes incorrectly called "critical race theory." For more information, visit or call the NCAE Advocacy Center at (855) 275-6223.

NCAE News Bulletin


51 Years and Counting! Fifty-one years ago on February 16, 1970, Rosa Johnson’s

journey as a public school employee began. It’s the only job she has ever had and the school where she works is the only one at which she has ever been employed.

Johnson is the data manager at Laurel Mill Elementary School in Franklin County, where she also serves as the treasurer and is responsible for payroll. She comically lets on that she has three jobs, but only gets paid for one. However, she’s not complaining because she loves what she does.

“This job has kept me, it has saved me, because I have had so many personal losses over the years,” said Johnson, a native of Franklin County. “God has richly blessed me, and my goal is to richly bless the lives of others, especially these children.” She shared that she graduated from the school when it was Gold Sands High School (prior to being named Laurel Mill and transformed into an elementary school) and was interviewed for the job by the school’s former principal.

Johnson is one of thousands of Education Support Professionals who helps keep public schools running and one of thousands who will be celebrated on November 17 as part of American Education Week. Although eligible for retirement, she continues to work at the school from which she graduated because of her love for public education. “I had plans to retire in 2000 but began thinking, ‘I’m fairly young and there is no need to retire and get another job when I already have one that I enjoy. Let me continue working for

a while longer.’ But I never anticipated staying another 20+ years.”

Laurel Mill Elementary is a small, low-income school situated in a very rural part of the state. Johnson, who lives one-eighth tenths of a mile away, said there are some students who don’t have running water in their homes. “We are a tight-knit community. We know our parents, we know our students, and we know their needs and do our best to provide for those needs. I know we’re living in a time of social distancing, but if they come in for a hug, they’re going to get it. I may not be in the classroom, but I’ll do whatever I can to connect with them, put a smile on their faces, and give them hope.”

When asked what accomplishment she is most proud, she said gaining the respect of colleagues, not only at her school but throughout the district. “I treat people the way I want to be treated. There again, I love people and I enjoy connecting with them.” She is also proud of her two children – daughter, Renee’ who is an educator in Franklin County and a son, Jay who lives in Arizona – and her three grandsons, Jaylon, age 17; Alex, age 14; and Ian, age 12.

Not only is Johnson a proud member of the public education community, but she is also a proud member of NCAE and has been for many years. “I can’t remember what year I joined, but being a member is important to me. The additional support gives me peace of mind and connects me with like-minded people who want to see the profession grow and thrive.”

•Monday, November 15 – Kickoff Day

•Tuesday, November 16 – Family Day

•Wednesday, November 17 – Education Support Professionals Day

•Thursday, November 18 – Educator for a Day

•Friday, November 19 – Substitute Educators Day

NCAE News Bulletin


Sewer Flies, Mice and Mold. Our Schools Need Help Now! (This Letter to the Editor, written by NCAE members Kenya Donaldson and John deVille, has been published by 17 newspapers across the state.)

Complaints ranged from undrinkable water, termites and even sewer flies. There was extreme overcrowding near a world class golf resort. Old air conditioners trigger water leaks, mold, and breathing concerns but not enough cold air.

No, these were not conditions inside tenement apartments. They are reports from around North Carolina inside our children’s public schools.

As classroom teachers with almost 60 combined years of experience, we know we’ve never faced headwinds like now. A pandemic still burns through our communities. A statewide shortage of teachers and school bus drivers is real. And just when we need them most, our schools have too few nurses and social workers who are vital to making sure all students get what they need.

Then there’s the deplorable condition of too many of our school buildings. Earlier this month, the state’s Department of Public Instruction released an alarming report that got little attention. It said the price to renovate and rebuild North Carolina’s public schools jumped 58 percent over the last five years to $12.8 BILLION. The report was overshadowed by a statewide school bus driver shortage and news of five schools in Guilford County temporarily closing because of failing air conditioners. Guilford is the state’s third largest school district where schools average 55 years old. One thousand A/C work orders from 40 schools flooded an understaffed maintenance crew as classes started in the late August heat.

Unfortunately, Guilford County is not an outlier. After the first month of classes, the NC Association of Educators surveyed educators on school building conditions. The responses were startling. The list reads like a slumlord’s rap sheet.

Near the University of North Carolina, a Chapel Hill educator said an elementary school’s water is undrinkable and loaded with heavy metals. Down east, a Wayne County teacher said termite and bee infestations drove teachers from their high school classrooms.

Near the famous and spacious Pinehurst golf resort, a Moore County teacher said her local high school was deteriorating and extremely overcrowded. It was built for 1,800 students but currently holds 2,300.

On the South Carolina border, a Columbus County educator said her school is 90 years old with mold in the ceiling and years of grime caked on restroom stalls.

In the mountains near the Georgia state line, the cafeteria ceiling leaks in a Macon County high school where some buildings are 70 years old. A Brunswick County teacher near Wilmington said their school was over 80 years old with rodents, sewer flies and even mouse traps in the library.

Meanwhile in Raleigh, state lawmakers are almost three months late with a state budget in a General Assembly building where thermostats hover comfortably between 70 and 72 degrees. Lawmakers sit on a $6.5 BILLION surplus. The recurring sticking point is the size of corporate tax cuts, not public school construction. That speaks volumes about priorities.

The governor’s budget proposal would ask voters to approve a construction bond that would include $2.5 BILLION for public schools. North Carolina has not had a statewide school bond in 25 years, during a period when both Republicans and Democrats had controlled the legislature. Leaders of the General Assembly don’t want a bond now. Instead, they want to invest only a third of what the governor proposes for school construction and renovation.

But wasn’t the “Education Lottery” supposed to help build schools? It’s a nagging question the public often raises, and some politicians are now asking, too. The lottery broke sales records during the pandemic, and more lottery revenue is going to schools. But state lawmakers have steadily slashed the percentage of lottery revenue dedicated to schools, and they cut the percentage earmarked for school construction. Meantime, lawmakers are using lottery revenue to pay for school expenses that the normal state budget used to cover. A small bi-partisan group of lawmakers filed a bill six months ago titled “Restore Lottery Funding for Schools.” So far, the bill has not gotten a vote.

School modernization money could come to North Carolina if Congress can pass the Build Back Better infrastructure program, but our state has the funding to renovate and rebuild our public schools right now. One educator suggested lawmakers move some budget talks into a public school with mold and old air conditioners that can’t keep classrooms as cool as the legislature. One educator in Cabarrus County answered her survey with a humble request: “Please help NC schools that need to be either replaced or renovated to make a place for our students to feel safe.”

Kenya Donaldson is an educator of 23 years in Guilford County Schools and is president of the Guilford County Association of Educators. John deVille has spent 25 years as a high school history teacher in Macon County and is president of the Macon County Association of Educators.

NCAE News Bulletin


Tinisha Shaw


inisha Shaw, a curriculum facilitator and test coordinator in Greensboro, believes that inclusion in the classroom means allowing every student to see themselves as leaders.

“Our focus on social justice and equity, our coming to an understanding, myself included, needs to be more than just history, black or African-American history, or Latino history. It needs to be about teaching our students what has come before them, how it matters today, and how they can use it for agency in their own lives.

“Some often say that ‘we have done so much in public education to be more inclusive and that everybody should be treated the same.’ In theory that sounds good. But this also ignores certain people and the situations they experience.

“If we want all children to be treated the same, this means all children’s voices need to be heard. If that makes anyone uncomfortable, really and truly, then what does that say about the inclusion of all voices? I think the whole idea of not recognizing the different voices and not recognizing the different lives people live is in itself hurtful.

“Students need to know more than just history. Let’s talk about the history of those who look like you, who were your age, how they learned to organize, prepare, lead, and fight for their freedom, and push out their messages. It’s really about helping students channel their fear, anxiety, and anger into something constructive and that empowers them. This allows them to see themselves as leaders.

“The purpose of Black Lives Matter is not about excluding anyone. It is about uplifting the voices that have gone unheard for so many years—voices that have been marginalized. These voices matter, their lives, culture, identity, and humanity matters. When you say to them, ‘I see you. I hear you. I want to hear more from you,’ that changes and impacts students in a good way. It's about empowering them, not hurting or excluding anyone.”

Reprinted from NEAToday

Riley Driver is described as organized, intentional, and tireless in her quest to build the union and support educators. “She listens and is open to everyone’s ideas,” a colleague said of her. “She is passionate about public schools and she sees the best in everyone, doing the heavy lifting behind the scenes.”

An English Language Learner teacher at Jamestown Middle School in Guilford County, Driver is in her eighth year of teaching and has been a member of NCAE since graduate school. She said she wasn’t someone who knew she always wanted to be a teacher. “I worked in the non-profit sector after college, but after a while I knew that wasn’t the work I really believed in. In 2013, I came across an opportunity to fund my master’s degree and licensure to teach EL through a program at

UNCG, and I decided to leave my job and take the leap. It felt clear that helping bring kids into the world of reading and writing was one of the most important things I could do with my time.”

Driver added the hope for change and the relationships she has built since being a member of the Guilford County Association of Educators (GCAE) kept her from leaving the profession as an overwhelmed beginning teacher.

When asked what is the absolute best thing about her job, she responded, “My favorite moments are when I get to witness my students level up their skills and understanding – and even better to see them witness their own growth. I often get to have my students for their sixth-, seventh- and eighthgrade year. It’s an amazing time to get to know someone, and I love being there as they decide who they are going to be.”

Each month a Lovable Local Leader will be featured in the News Bulletin.

NCAE News Bulletin


Put a Little Sugar on It!

Looking to Build a Relationship with Your School Board? Here’s How

Building relationships with groups that support public education can be beneficial for local affiliates, especially one with the school board. For the past year, the Forsyth County Association of Educators (FCAE) has successfully bonded with the WinstonSalem/Forsyth County School Board to meet the needs of the district’s students, educators and public schools.

The idea to reach out to the school board came up during one of FCAE’s Executive Committee meetings, said President Val Young. “The question was asked by a member, ‘I wonder will the board members come and talk with us?’ I called the board chair and she explained that no more than three board members could meet with us at a time or it would be considered a public meeting. So we decided to invite only two to each meeting.

FCAE Executive Committee meetings are held the first Wednesday of each month via Zoom. School board members can sign up to have conversations with members between 4:30-5:30 p.m. Meetings are not recorded and a confidentiality agreement has been set in place for all FCAE Executive Committee members to follow.

“The meetings work out well because we get to discuss specific issues occurring in the district with school board members and then incorporate what we gleaned into our regular FCAE business,” Young said. “One thing that helps keep meetings on track is we make sure everyone knows we can agree to disagree. We understand we’re not going to agree on everything, but we want to bridge the gap between the school board being its own entity and FCAE being its own entity. The goal is to have a conversation and leave knowing where each side lies on an issue.”

Young said the relationship between FCAE and the school

board is helpful in getting executive committee members who may not be as active involved in the conversation and it is helping to grow leadership. “The relationship between FCAE and the school board needs to continue after the president’s term is over. We are gaining insight into how they do business and they are gaining insight into how we do business. It’s important we let them know we are watching, that we’re concerned about what is happening in our school district, what we are willing to do to move our people forward, and what it is we expect from them.”

FCAE is a model of how a relationship between the school board and a local affiliate can work together. To ensure success, here are a few tips Young suggests:

•Extend an invitation to the school board chair letting him/her know your executive committee would like to have monthly conversations about moving the school system forward.

•The first meeting should be a meet-and-greet. Young refers to the process as “Putting a little sugar on it,” to make school board members feel comfortable with the concept.

•If any business is discussed during the first meeting, talk only about the students and goals to help them be successful.

•Ensure conversations will be confidential.

•Agree to disagree. Meetings should not be contentious.

•Share an agenda before each meeting of items to be discussed.

Young is happy to talk with local leaders on how to make connections with their school boards and can be reached at (336) 257-9261 or

2021 Virtual Fall NBC Support Seminars These seminars will consist of a deep dive into components 2, 3 and 4, body of knowledge and standards, MOC for renewals, and virtual support. NCAE NBCTs will lead candidates in each session.

The cost is $5 per session for NCAE members (excluding Introduction for Initial Candidates) and $20 per session for non-members (excluding Introduction for Initial Candidates). Click here to register. Confirmations will be sent out the evening prior to the event.

Introduction for Initial Candidates (FREE to all)

oNovember 6: 10-11:30 a.m.

Body of Knowledge & Standards

oDecember 4: 9-10 a.m.

Unpacking Component 2

oNovember 6: 10-11:30 a.m.

oDecember 4: 10-11:30 a.m.

Unpacking Component 3

oNovember 13: 9-10:30 a.m.

MOC (Renewals)

oNovember 6: 9-10:30 a.m.

oDecember 4: 9-10:30 a.m.

NCAE News Bulletin


It Was the Worst of Times

But SNCAE Chapters Persevered! Just like everything else, the pandemic had a major impact on college and university campuses across the state. Fortunately, most have resumed in-person learning, adapting to a “new normal.” For some SNCAE chapters on those campuses, the work to engage members never stopped, but took on a more creative twist to ensure they remained engaged in their quest to become teachers.

Thinking outside the box is nothing new for educators, so it’s not surprising that SNCAE members and their advisors at three schools – Catawba College, Wingate University and North Carolina A&T State University – brainstormed to keep their chapters ahead of the game.

SNCAE members at Catawba College hosted a virtual murder mystery night, offered an outdoor movie night, held a food drive for a local food bank, hosted a “magic mirror” event, and coordinated a drive-through Trick-or-Treat activity for the campus and local communities.

“Our chapter felt it was important to maintain as much a sense of normalcy and engagement as possible,” said Dr. Kim Creamer, assistant dean of Education, associate professor, director of the Academy for Teaching, and Peeler Education Endowed Chair. “Life will always hand us trials to overcome but we cannot use those trials as an excuse to disengage or become complacent in our professional growth and development. Instead, we chose to find ways to remain professionally, academically, and socially engaged (distanced, of course). We wanted to maintain a strong support system for each other.”

Creamer, who has served as advisor for five years, said the

SNCAE officers also facilitated a virtual professional learning community around the book, “Teach Like a Pirate,” by Dave Burgess.

Wingate University SNCAE members held a virtual

Jeopardy Night and a “getting to know you” activity, which helped students feel connected to each other. They also invited former teachers of SNCAE executive committee members to talk about the profession via video. “I enjoy working with different students every year who serve as executive members and seeing their creativity come through,” said Dr. Melanie Keel, who has served as the advisor for eight years. “The executive board members really wanted to make a difference for students, giving them a way to connect with their peers during the pandemic. The chapter’s president, the first male to hold the office, is invested in student engagement. I think he and the other executive members have dynamic personalities and I think they wanted to make a name for the organization even during COVID.”

Dr. Tyrette Carter, advisor for the chapter at North Carolina A&T State University, said it was important for the chapter to remain active during the pandemic because students were and are still in classes, as well as completing field experiences in different formats. “The organization must continue to support with professional development and avenues to ensure our candidates get what they need to be successful teachers, even in our new normal. The organization continues to serve in ways that build candidates’ professional and leadership skills, and it was no different in a pandemic year.” Both she and coadvisor Kimberly Bunch-Crump began working with the chapter in 2020.

Activities hosted by the chapter included a book drive, a book reading at a local elementary school, a panel discussion of alumni members to discuss the state of teaching today, a wellness night, and an Escape Room session focused on classroom management and assessment. “This professional development session truly engaged members and other invited guests!”

SNCAE Members, Advisors Come Together for Virtual Fall Conference Our next generation of teachers gathered a few weeks ago to participate in the SNCAE Fall Conference, held virtually. The students networked, participated in breakout sessions, and gained knowledge that will assist in their education journey. They also received an inspirational message from N.C. Teacher of the Year Eugenia Floyd and heard what the profession is like from early career educator Lindsey Atkins of Wake County.

NCAE News Bulletin


Deadline for

NCAE Election Forms

is January 7 If you are interested in running for an NCAE office in 2022, now is the time to begin thinking about the process and getting your information in order.

The following state and regional positions are open: Regional Directors, NEA delegate positions – Categories 1 and 2, positions within the Division of Principal/ Administrators, positions within the Education Support Professionals Council, and positions within the Student Services Division. Forms for all positions are available by clicking here.

Forms for candidates running for Regional Directors and division/council positions MUST be accompanied by an official NCAE biographical form and a professional-quality photograph. This form is available by clicking here.

All materials should be sent to Should you have questions, please send an e-mail to or contact Derevana Leach at 919-755-5565 or 1-800-662-7924, ext. 203. Information submitted after the January 7 deadline, or without all the proper documentation, will not be published in the NCAE News Bulletin.

NOTE: March 26, 2022, beginning at 7 p.m. through April 8, 2022, ending at 11:59 p.m. are the days the NCAE Board of Directors has allocated for voting in the 2022 election of officers. Local elections must be held at the same time as the NCAE/NEA elections. The deadline for submitting local nominations for election is February 16, 2022.

YOU DESERVE MORE Like the comfort of knowing they’re covered


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Visit NEA Member Benefits for all of your insurance needs. As a member, it’s coverage you can always count on!

New Staff NCAE welcomes Abeer Javed to the position of UniServ director for Region 5, which includes Wake, Durham, Vance, Franklin, Granville, and Warren counties.

Before joining the NCAE family, Javed was an organizer for the Idaho Education Association, where he organized community members throughout the state to fight for the public education students deserve. “I wanted to work for NCAE because the leadership here has the vision, values, and drive to build worker power, all of which is necessary to protect and better our schools. I am excited about meeting the members and learning everything I can about North Carolina from them!”

Javed said public education is important to him because it is the great equalizer that accepts all students. “That is fundamental to a functioning democracy,” he said. “Every one of us should be fighting to adequately fund our collective future.”

Born in Boston, Javed grew up there as well as in Bangladesh, India, where his parents are from. He is the oldest of five children. He has three brothers and one sister. When not involved in the passion organizing brings, he enjoys being outside swimming or lounging in the sun.

NCAE News Bulletin



2021 Educator Appreciation Ticket Package Ticket Package Includes: • Discounted ticket to the game • $10 of food and beverage credit • Atlanta Hawks T-shirt (pictured)*

Visit the link below to purchase your ticket package: *T-shirts will be available for pick-up on the day of the game. Details on where and when to pick up your T-shirt will be emailed at a later date. T-shirts are first come, first serve and may sell out. Questions? Contact Ryan Coller with the Atlanta Hawks at Tickets are based on availability and prices are subject to change. This game/event may sell out prior to the deadline. All sales are final. No refunds or exchanges.

NC Schools Make National Blue Ribbon List

Eight North Carolina schools were among 325 recognized by U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona recently as National Blue Ribbon Schools for 2021, according to a press release from the U.S. Department of Education.

The schools were recognized in one of two categories: either Exemplary High-Performing Schools or Exemplary Achievement Gap-Closing Schools.

Exemplary High-Performing Schools are:

•Brush Creek Elementary School, Madison Co.

•Elkin Middle School, Elkin City Schools

•Pearsontown Elementary School, Durham Co.

•Pender Early College High School, Pender Co.

•Union Elementary School, Union Co.

Exemplary Achievement Gap-Closing Schools are:

•Blue Ridge Elementary School, Ashe Co.

•Sallie B. Howard Charter School, Wilson Co.

•Sampson Early College High School, Sampson Co.

NC Public High School Named 2nd Best in Country

Life is full of unexpected moments If you’re faced with an accident or sudden illness, would you be prepared?

Supplemental insurance products can help pay for out-of-pocket expenses from covered accidents or illnesses, such as transportation, childcare and deductibles. Plus, they’re more affordable than you may think. • Cancer insurance • Disability income insurance • Accident insurance • Hospital insurance • Heart insurance

Contact your Horace Mann representative to learn more.

National Teachers Associates Life Insurance Company, a Horace Mann Company, underwrites Horace Mann supplemental insurance products. Horace Mann and its affiliates enter into agreements with educational associations pursuant to which Horace Mann or its affiliate pays the educational association to provide various services that are aimed at familiarizing the association’s members with the Horace Mann brand, products or services. For more information or to ask questions about your educational association’s services agreement, please email your inquiry to SI-000041NCAE (Oct. 21)

A North Carolina school has been named the second-best public high school in the U.S. by a national ranking website. ranked the N.C. School of Science and Mathematics in Durham behind only The Davidson Academy in Nevada on its list of best public high schools in America. The website also released its 2022 national and state-by-state rankings of K-12 schools and districts.

School Serves Gifted NC Students

The N.C. School of Science and Mathematics is a statewide residential boarding school serving some of the state’s most academically gifted high school juniors and seniors. The school is part of the UNC system.

NCSSM opened as the nation’s first public, residential STEM high school in 1980 in the former Watts Hospital in Durham. A second campus in Morganton is set to open in 2022.

In February, the school announced it’s getting a new academic commons area and renovated dorms at its Durham campus thanks to a record $7.5 million gift from an alumnus.

NCAE News Bulletin



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Dates to Remember November


National Play Outside Day: Link

World Chili Day

7th Daylight Saving Time Ends

8th National S.T.E.M./S.T.E.A.M. Day

9th National Young Readers Day: Link

11th Veteran's Day (NCAE Offices closed)

13th World Kindness Day: 13 Link

15th-19th American Education Week

17th National Education Support Professionals

Day Link

24th Celebrate Your Unique Talent Day

25th Thanksgiving Day (NCAE Offices closed through

the 26th)

th 26 Random Acts of Kindness Friday

30th Giving Tuesday: Link

American Indian Heritage Month Link

Children's Grief Awareness Month Link

MADD's Tie One On For Safety Holiday Campaign (11/1-12/31)

Military Family Appreciation Month Link

National Family Literacy Month

“Real education should consist of drawing the goodness and the best out of our own students. What better books can there be than the book of humanity.”

— Cesar Chavez Follow NCAE events and activities on:



Positions stated in this publication do not necessarily reflect the official position of NCAE unless so identified. The NCAE News Bulletin, a journal of the Association, is published by the North Carolina Association of Educators, 700 S.Salisbury St., Raleigh, NC 27601, 1-800-662-7924.

Linda Powell, Editor/Designer

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