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Teachers Are Influential

by | Nov 27, 2018 | Education, North Brunswick

Teachers Are Influential

Meet the north county Brunswick County Schools’ Teachers of the Year, a handful of the many educators who work tirelessly for the betterment of local students.

We all have a teacher we remember, a teacher who impacted our lives and had a significant role in sending us on our path. As the school year starts up again, we wanted to hear from some teachers here in Brunswick County. What do they love about teaching? What inspires them? What are the current challenges in the school system?

We caught up with the 2017–18 Brunswick County Schools’ Teachers of the Year from the northern part of the county to ask these questions. There are, of course, many other teachers and staff members across the school system who work tirelessly, usually without public recognition, because they feel called to teach. We thank them one and all! It is easy to see that teachers teach because they love the students, and our students are in good hands.

Barbara Brewer, Kindergarten

Lincoln Elementary School

Barbara Brewer Lincoln Elementary School

Q: When did you start teaching and when did you join the Brunswick County school system?

I have taught for more than 25 years and have taught in Brunswick County for seven years.

Q: What would you say is the biggest challenge to teachers?

As educators, our biggest challenge is to fit all the needs of our students into our day.

Q: What is your favorite thing about teaching?

My favorite thing about teaching is seeing the growth that our students make from the beginning of school to the end of school. I also enjoy collaborating with other colleagues.

Q: How do you spend your free time?

I enjoy traveling with my family in my free time and sharing experiences together.

Settle Dawkins, 5th Grade

Town Creek Elementary School

Settle Dawkins Town and Creek Elementary School

Q: When did you start teaching and when did you join the Brunswick County school system?

I began my teaching career with Brunswick County Schools in 2003.

Q: What would you say is the biggest challenge to teachers?

I believe the biggest challenge to teachers is ensuring that the needs of all students are met within our classroom. Each student is unique, and it is our job to meet their academic needs with a personalized plan.

Q: What is your favorite thing about teaching?

My favorite thing about teaching is watching the students mature and grow academically throughout the school year. As a male teacher, I am also able to support all students by being a positive male role model in an elementary setting.

Q: How do you spend your free time?

I enjoy spending time with my wife and two boys. We especially like to hang out at the beach or in Chapel Hill at a football or basketball game. We are huge Carolina fans! My wife, Jill, is also a teacher at Town Creek Elementary, and we have two sons who are students at the school. Bauer is in 4th grade and Griffin is in 1st grade.

Brenda Flowers, Band Director

Leland Middle School

Q: When did you start teaching and when did you join the Brunswick County school system?

I started teaching in 1987. I took some time away from teaching after my daughter was born, so this is my 22nd year of teaching. I joined the Brunswick County school system in 2014. This is my fifth year teaching in Brunswick County.

Q: What would you say is the biggest challenge to teachers?

One of the biggest challenges for teachers today is meeting the needs of all the students who come into our classrooms. Every child who walks through our doors is different; they come from various socioeconomic levels and many different types of home environments. Teachers must meet students where they are and help them grow, learn and reach their potential.

Q: What is your favorite thing about teaching?

As a band director, I have the unique opportunity to work with my students for more than one year. They come into my classroom in 6th grade and they don’t even know how to put an instrument together, much less how to play it. I teach them from the very beginning how to read music and how to play their instrument. By the time my students leave at the end of their 8th-grade year, they have become really good musicians and many go on to play at the high school and college levels and even continue to play in their adult lives. It’s a great privilege to be able to teach and to mentor students during this important time of their lives.

Q: How do you spend your free time?

I enjoy reading, cooking, exercising and spending time with my family. I’m a volunteer in the counseling and music ministries at my church and I’m currently working on a master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling.

Ashanda Grissett, 9th Grade Earth Environmental Science

The COAST (formerly Brunswick County Academy)

Q: When did you start teaching and when did you join the Brunswick County school system?

I started teaching as a Teaching Fellow in January of 2007 in New York City. I’ve been a teacher with Brunswick County Schools since 2010.

Q: What would you say is the biggest challenge to teachers?

The biggest challenge for teachers is that we take on so many responsibilities. We all want to do whatever we can to help our students and sometimes I think we just stretch ourselves thin. We wear so many hats — teacher, counselor, coach, mentor and role model, just to name a few. It’s such a multifaceted profession and I just wish people understood how above and beyond we go on a daily basis (even on our “summers off”).

Q: What is your favorite thing about teaching?

My favorite thing about teaching is that I never have a dull or boring day at work — and I get to teach what I love! I’m a total science nerd.

Q: How do you spend your free time?

Free Time? What is that? Ha! I love traveling. Whenever I get a long weekend, my family and I are on the road to visit family and friends. I also enjoy being with family, reading, hanging out at the beach and trying to catch up on TV that I miss during the busy school year.

Angela Jordan, Pre-Calculus & Honors Math and Math Tutor

Brunswick Early College High School

Q: When did you start teaching and when did you join the Brunswick County school system?

I started teaching in 2000. I have been teaching for Brunswick County Schools since 2010.

Q: What would you say is the biggest challenge to teachers?

Honestly, I think the biggest challenge teachers face is the huge misconception about the teaching profession among the general public. I often laugh when I hear how teachers have the summers off or only work 37.5 hours a week. I am at work most days by 7 am and do not leave until almost 5 pm. Then I go home and create lesson plans and grade papers. I also spend many Saturdays taking our students to various academic competitions around the state.

Q: What is your favorite thing about teaching?

Sharing my passion and love for math with my students and seeing them get excited about a concept, or the elation on their face when they finally understand a concept they have been struggling with for some time.

Q: How do you spend your free time?

I am an avid crafter; I crochet, sew, bake, quilt, make jewelry and draw. I also love to read and will often trade and discuss books with my students.

Michelle Ollis-Moore, 5th Grade Science and Science Olympiad Teach Coach

Belville Elementary

Q: When did you start teaching and when did you join the Brunswick County school system?

I started teaching in 2007 after graduating with a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from UNCW. I started teaching in Bladen County and transferred into Brunswick County my second year of teaching. This is my fourth year at Belville but my 12th year teaching.

Q: What would you say is the biggest challenge to teachers?

I think teachers’ biggest challenge is reaching all children while balancing all their different learning needs. All students are different, and you have to learn how to keep all students engaged while still meeting goals set by the state. It is our job to help them reach their short-term and long-term goals while still making the curriculum fun and applicable.

Q: What is your favorite thing about teaching?

My favorite thing about teaching is getting to spend time with the kids and making learning enjoyable. It’s amazing to see the connections they make during our science labs and to see how excited they get when they enter your classroom. We build such wonderful bonds in our classroom and become a “family” throughout the school year.

Q: How do you spend your free time?

I love to spend my free time with my husband and family. We both have lots of family in the area, so we get to see each other often. We spend lots of time watching our nephews and nieces play football, baseball and dancing. I love to spend time at the beach, going to see live music and playing with our two cats and three dogs.

Elizabeth Schmidt, 5th Grade

Bolivia Elementary School

Q: When did you start teaching and when did you join the Brunswick County school system?

I am starting my seventh year teaching with Brunswick County Schools.

Q: What would you say is the biggest challenge to teachers?

The biggest challenge is making sure that every student’s academic, emotional and physical needs are met. Each one needs a different kind of love, and it can be hard at the beginning to determine what kind they each need!

Q: What is your favorite thing about teaching?

My favorite part of teaching is building relationships with students. It is a great feeling when you are able to reach a student who has had a tough time in school before. Having one of my toughest kids come back and give me a huge hug with a huge smile on his face a year later makes everything worth it.

Q: How do you spend your free time?

I am a huge Nationals baseball fan! I try to keep up with all of the games, even during the more painful seasons (like this year). My family is in Maryland, so I head home as often as possible to soak up the family time. When I’m in home in North Carolina, I spend as much time as possible reading on the beach. There’s no place like home!

George Williams, 1st SG, U.S. Army JROTC Instructor

North Brunswick High School

Q: When did you start teaching and when did you join the Brunswick County school system?

I began my teaching career on the 27th of July 1999 right here in Brunswick County at North Brunswick High School.

Q: What would you say is the biggest challenge to teachers?

The biggest challenge to teachers is not having enough time to meet the needs of the diverse population of students they teach.

Q: What is your favorite thing about teaching?

My favorite thing about teaching is motivating cadets to follow their dreams and watching them achieve at their highest potential.

Q: How do you spend your free time?

My free time is spent mostly with my wife, who is my best friend. We enjoy traveling, dining out and working in our church and the community. I also enjoy exercising.

Photography by: Megan Deitz

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