At the time I received this award, I was a 4th grade teacher at Corinth-Holders Elementary School in Zebulon, North Carolina. In addition to my teaching, I was the mentor coordinator liaison for Corinth- Holders Elementary and Johnston County Schools. I worked directly with county officials in supporting/training the initially licensed teachers (ILT's) at my school. I loved helping other teachers to be successful in their classrooms and instruction. At the time of the award I was also the Vice President of the Parent-Teacher Organization at our local school, a member of the County Improvement Team, and the fourth grade representative on our School Improvement Team. In July of 2010, I accepted a position at East Carolina University as a coordinator in the College of Education. I now help advise, guide, and support nearly all of our Elementary Education majors throughout their years at our institution. Although I learned many things about the realm of higher education, I found that I truly missed being with the students and teachers. I thoroughly enjoyed my time at East Carolina University; however, I quickly realized where my heat was. It was back in the schools! In 2012, I accepted a position back in Johnston County as a curriculum coordinator at South Smithfield Elementary. As a result of this change, I found my desire to return to school. I am currently pursuing my Ed.D. in Curriculum and Instruction from University of North Carolina at Wilmington. I am finalizing my dissertation with a focus on school transformation. I have immensely enjoyed the journey. In addition to the wonderful opportunities in which I have engaged as a result of my career paths, I was also a member of the Teacher Advisory Council with Dr. June Atkinson for the state of NC from 2008-2010. I received my National Board Certification in November of 2010. Recently, I have been afforded the opportunity to participate in district-wide professional development sessions and curriculum writing. I have also been an active part of the leadership team with NCAE, North Carolina Association of Educators, in providing state-wide professional development and support for NBCT candidates. My current role as School Improvement Coach has taken me back to where my educational career first began. I now have the amazing opportunity to work with and coach the teachers at the elementary school in which I attended as a student. The journey of returning back to my roots and being able to give back to the community in which my education began has been a humbling and meaningful experience. I am grateful for every twist, turn, stepping stone, and path this journey called life has given me. It has truly been an amazing journey thus far with more to see and experience in the future.
I feel so privileged and honored to be a part of such a wonderful family of amazing educators! Every time I see a notification or view the shadowbox of my own experience, I relive the dream once again. Receiving the Milken Family Foundation Award was truly a dream come true. I never thought, in a million years, how this might positively affect my life and career, but it has opened doors that I thought were impossible to open. Receiving this award has fanned the flame within myself to become more of an educational leader in coaching teachers to realize their potential and impact. It has also given me the drive I needed to help pursue further individual growth and development to ensure that students ultimately have the means necessary to continue their educational growth. This experience has given me the courage to pursue a lifelong dream of receiving my doctoral degree. The world is a much better place because of all of the work all of our amazing educators do each and every day. Knowing that there are educators out there who are dedicated to the profession gives me hope for the future. I cannot thank this amazing foundation enough. I am the educator I am today due in large to the passion you helped instill. From the bottom of my heart, "Thank you!"
2001 East Carolina University, B.S. in Business and Marketing Education
2007 East Carolina University, MAEd. in Reading
2010 National Board Certified Teacher in Early and Middle Childhood/Literacy: Reading-Language Arts
2007 Academically and Intellectually Gifted Certification