Category Archives: Alumni News

Casey Robacker

ECU at The Council for Learning Disabilities

On October 2nd, 2015, ECU’s own Cassie Robacker presented at the International Council for Learning Disabilities Conference in Las Vegas, Nevada. Her presentation, “Token Economy Made Easy Through ClassDojo,” was a sensation. Congratulations Cassie for a wonderful presentation. Thank you for representing ECU and the Special Education, Foundations, and Research Department.

Dail Berry

Elementary Science Alumna Receives WITN’s Teacher of the Week Award

Congratulations to Dail Berry who received this week’s Teacher of the Week award from WITN. Last May, Berry graduated from East Carolina University, receiving the Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education with a concentration in Elementary Science. In the summer of 2014, she was an innovative camp counselor for the East Carolina Summer Science Camp. In her role as camp counselor, she created and implemented the popular camp session, Under the Sea. Ms. Berry also has experience working as a counselor for the 4H program in her hometown. After graduation, Berry decided to return home to Hyde County to start her teaching career. She is now teaching 7th and 8th grade science at Mattamuskeet Early College High School. When asked about her interest in science, she stated, “I fell in love with science while taking courses at ECU and now I want science to be my focus.”

Berry has already distinguished herself as a leader in her school by assisting with the Junior Beta club, a Co-advisor of the Envirothon team, and the Assistant Varsity Coach for the high school volleyball team. For the next three years, she will also be a part of a new research grant entitled PIRATES, Preparing and Inspiring Readiness for Achieving Teaching Excellence in Science. Dr. Tammy Lee, Assistant Professor in Science Education at ECU, noted: “The goal of this grant is to support beginning teachers that specialized in elementary science within their undergraduate education program at ECU.” The person nominating Berry for this award said, “She is an amazing teacher and the sweetest person. It’s her first year teaching and I’d love for her to get recognition for all her hard work and determination.”

Here is the link to the WITN interview with Berry:

Celebrate International Literacy Day

Celebrate International Literacy Day

Faculty in the Department of Literacy Studies, English Education, and History Education are thrilled to celebrate International Literacy Day on Tuesday, September 8, 2015. #ILD2015

International Literacy Day helps bring our attention to the nearly 800 million adults worldwide who cannot read, write, or perform simple math calculations. This is a time when groups and individuals can renew their efforts to promote literacy and demonstrate their commitment to providing education for all.

Dr. Johna Faulconer, Associate Chair of the Department of Literacy Studies, English Education, and History Education, noted, “About 26% of the world’s population is illiterate and women make up two-thirds of that number and while that number is high, it has dropped. International Literacy Day is a day to call attention to the importance of literacy and to celebrate our accomplishments. We are thrilled that so many groups across the ECU campus are taking part in the effort to support International Literacy Day, Our ECU community truly models our mission to inspire positive change.”

The Department of Literacy Studies, English Education, and History Education, partnered with the Teaching Resource Center and the Pitt County Literacy Volunteers invites anyone to attend a Book Exchange in celebration of literacy awareness on Tuesday, September 8, 2015 outside of Joyner Library from 10:00 am – 2:00 pm. For more information, contact Emily-Lynn Adkins at

To mark the occasion, many ECU faculty, staff, and students submitted photos.


COE Alumna and Current MAEd Student Named Pactolus Teacher of the Year

Melissa Zurawski was named Teacher of the Year at Pactolus School in Pitt County where she teaches fifth grade English Language Arts. She is in her fourth year of teaching and uses the principle, “Effort rather than ability leads to success,” to guide her work with students. She explains, “I want my students to understand that they should forever put their all into everything they do and always be perseverant. My students understand that I believe in them and that regardless of their strengths and weaknesses, they will succeed if they put forth effort in all they do.”

Melissa earned her BS in Elementary Education in 2010 and is currently continuing her studies at East Carolina University in the Master of Arts in Education – Reading Education Program. She explained, “Throughout my experience in the READ Master’s program, I have gained knowledge of specific reading interventions to use with my students who are struggling in reading. I am learning new strategies that build a strong literacy foundation and target areas of needed instruction for my students. I am becoming a lifelong learner and I am always encouraging my students to do the same. There is no barrier in a child’s reading education that cannot be moved, no bridge that cannot be crossed and no gap that cannot be closed with the dedication of teachers that care.”

Adrienne Lee displays the Teacher of the Year award she earned as a first-year teacher.

What Do SECU Partnership East Students Do After They Graduate From Their Online, Degree-Completion Program?

They go on to become leaders in their classrooms and schools! This is definitely the case for Adrienne Lee, a 2014 Special Education graduate. Ms. Lee is currently serving as a Kindergarten through 5th Grade Adaptive Special Education teacher at Poplar Springs Elementary School in Stokes County. As a former teacher assistant, Ms. Lee completed her degree in special education part-time through SECU (State Employees’ Credit Union) Partnership East by taking her coursework all online and completing her field experiences and internship in her home county. She transferred from Forsyth Technical Community College where she completed her first two years of her teaching degree into SECU Partnership East where she finished her degree while continuing to work as a teacher assistant.

Ms. Lee shared, “I know my experience as a TA was an advantage to my success but I know my education prepared me to be a knowledgeable teacher.”

Her experiences within the East Carolina University College of Education prepared her to have a positive impact on the children with which she worked this past school year. Ms. Lee reports that her students made tremendous gains during the academic year and performed exceptionally well on their end of grade assessments. She notes that her students’ success has been a result of a lot of effort. She stated, “I will admit I put in some very long hours but I am so excited about how my students have been received in school and in the community.”

Her efforts at positively impacting exceptional needs children have been recognized by others. Her educator peers within her school recently recognized her as Poplar Springs Elementary Teacher of the Year. As a first year teacher, this honor is a testament to Ms. Lee’s talent and dedication to her profession.

East Carolina University’s College of Education is very proud of this novice teacher who is making a difference in the lives of children in Stokes County. Providing access to teacher education degrees through SECU Partnership East is a long-standing commitment the college has toward growing teachers for rural areas within the state.

Ms. Lee sums up the importance of having convenient access to education: “ My dream would not have not come to fruition without the SECU Partnership East and ECU.”

For more information about SECU Partnership East which is involves a partnership between North Carolina Community Colleges, public schools and ECU’s College of Education, please visit or contact Dr. Laura Bilbro-Berry at or 252-328-1123.

The East Carolina University College of Education has established SECU Partnership East. Through collaboration and innovation, the partnership focuses on preparing teachers who will help meet the demand for well-trained professionals in the classrooms of North Carolina and beyond. This endeavor involves partnerships with community colleges and public schools across eastern North Carolina.

Delilah Jackson

Dr. Delilah Jackson, 3-time Alumna, Named Superintendent of Washington County Schools

Dr. Delilah Jackson has been a long-time Pirate, earning her BS in Elementary Education, MAEd in Educational Leadership, and EdD in Educational Leadership all in the College of Education at East Carolina University.

Since earning her teaching license, she has served the children and parents of Pitt county, as a teacher,  assistant principal, principal, and finally worked her way up to Assistant Superintendent. “Pitt County Schools has been my teacher for 25 years,” Jackson said in a news release. “I am thankful for all who have been a part of my journey. I will miss each and every person that has had an impact on my life as educator in this school system.”

After 25 years, she is going to step out of Pitt county to move into the role of Superintendent of Washington County Schools. “My new role as superintendent of Washington County Schools will allow me to expand my impact on the lives of children,” Dr. Jackson said. “I am excited about my new opportunity, and I am looking forward to serving the students, parents, and community of Washington County.”

Nikki Manning

Partnership East Made it Possible for Nikki Manning to Become a Teacher

The moment you walk into Nikki Manning’s first grade classroom, you get the feeling something exciting is going to happen.  Nikki teaches at Benvenue Elementary School in Rocky Mount, NC.  She landed a job with Nash-Rocky Mount schools immediately after graduating from East Carolina University in December, 2012 and she says she loves the classroom.  Her kids love her too!  According to Denise, one of the first graders I met while visiting the school, “Ms. Manning makes us so happy!  She is the best teacher I’ve ever had.”

Nikki’s mother cared for children in her home while Nikki was young.  Many of her clients were teachers, which gave Nikki the opportunity to help out in classrooms at an early age.  While completing an internship in high school, she decided that she, too, wanted to be a teacher.

She found SECU Partnership East to be exactly what she needed to complete her degree while working two jobs.  Nikki says attending Nash Community College and then completing junior and senior coursework at ECU gave her the flexibility she needed to pursue her dream of teaching.  “I highly recommend Partnership East to everyone I can.  It is truly a great program and I feel that it more than prepared me as an educator.  The great instructors, advisors, and supervisors surely made the process that much more enjoyable, too!”

Large Blog Image

College of Education Alumni lead the pack of East Carolina University Alumni on LinkedIn.

LinkedIn has ventured into the higher education world in a way that allows institutions to connect not only with alumni and current students but with prospective students as well. It has gathered data from all profiles where education has been associated with East Carolina University and allowed the data to be searchable. If you go to ECU’s Higher Education LinkedIn page you will see that COE grads are on top of the list for where they work and what they doECU LinkedIn profile

Guilford County Teacher Expo

Guilford County School’s 2015 Teacher Expo Ready to Hire Graduates

Around the country, thousands of college seniors are making their final preparations to enter the workforce as a professional educator. As the third largest school district in North Carolina, Guilford County Schools has many opportunities for new teachers. They seek the most passionate and well-trained teachers. Due to their dedication to hiring and retention, they are hosting a unique comprehensive hiring event on Monday May, 11 staring at 9:00 A.M. at the downtown Marriott in Greensboro, called the “Get in the Game” 2015 Teacher Expo.

This FREE event is specifically for teachers who desire an opportunity to meet face-to-face with over 80 Guilford County principals with available positions. On hand will be representatives from their Benefits, Curriculum and Professional Development departments. There will also be information about their unique Mission Possible program, GCS-ACT and Lateral Entry licensure. Area vendors will also be on hand to provide information about relocation services to Guilford County.

All that is required of graduates is to register and be prepared to be hired on the spot, as Guilford County’s HR staff is prepared to process on site all teachers who receive letters of intent. So please get your resume ready and decide which school in Guilford County you would like to begin your career!

Students can register via this link:

Greene Central High School

Greene Central HS showing their Purple and Gold

On National College Signing Day at Greene Central High School, seniors and faculty celebrated by wearing shirts from the college they attended or would be attending in the fall. Principal Patrick Greene couldn’t resist getting a picture, “I saw so much purple and gold throughout the day. . . Keep sending me Pirate Grads!”