Category Archives: Office of Teacher Education (OTE)

News from the Office of Teacher Education

NC-NNSTOY Fall Meeting Pix

Current and Former North Carolina Teachers of the Year Meet in Greenville

On Saturday, November 14th, thirteen current and former state and regional North Carolina Teachers of the Year met at the College of Education at East Carolina University to discuss teacher leadership, development, and recruitment at the quarterly meeting of the newly founded North Carolina chapter of the National Network of State Teachers of the Year (NC-NNSTOY). The NC-NNSTOY chapter is a service organization that was chartered in 2014-2015 and is spending this year planning activities to promote education as a profession across North Carolina. The purpose of the organization is to “advance the teaching profession and advocate for public education to ensure the best educational opportunities for all North Carolina students.” The group is currently working its platform for encouraging more individuals to consider teaching as a profession as well as avenues for supporting current educational professionals.

As a part of the members visit to Greenville, the current N.C. Teacher of the Year team engaged with 5th grade students in Jami Dickerson’s classroom at Eastern Elementary as well as visited Pactolus Elementary where they were hosted by Steve Lassiter, the current North Carolina Principal of the Year.

The NC-NNSTOY chapter looks forward to growing its membership and to taking a leading role in shaping educational policy, advocating for education, as well as sharing professional expertise within the field of education. For more information about the National Network of State Teachers of the Year, visit this website:

In attendance were teacher leaders from across the state including:

  • Diana Beasley, 2006-2007 North Carolina Teacher of the Year
  • *James Bell, 2007-2008 North Carolina Teacher of the Year
  • Jennifer Bell, 2010-2011 North Carolina Teacher of the Year
  • *Laura Bilbro-Berry, 2000-2001 North Carolina Teacher of the Year
  • *Jami Dickerson, 2015-2016 Region 1 Teacher of the Year
  • Allison Ormond, 2003-2004 North Carolina Teacher of the Year
  • Ruth Ann Parker, 2008-2009 Region 2 Teacher of the Year
  • Malinda Pennington, 2012-2013 Region 3 Teacher of the Year
  • Cindi Rigsbee, 2008-2009 North Carolina Teacher of the Year
  • Sonya Rinehart, 2008-2009 Region 1 Teacher of the Year
  • Mariel Barker Sellers, 2015-2016 Region 4 Teacher of the Year
  • Keana Triplett, 2015-2016 North Carolina Teacher of the Year
  • Jennifer Whitley, 2015-2016 Region 6 Teacher of the Year

*ECU College of Education Alumni

Captain Arrrgh Headshot

From the TRC: Reluctant Readers

It’s the third Thursday of the month and a new edition of From the TRC is published to highlight another service or resource Joyner Library’s Teaching Resources Center (TRC) has to support the College of Education’s faculty and students. Today we’ll cover one of our newest bibliographies, Reluctant Readers.

The TRC has created, and constantly updates, an extensive list of bibliographies and guides available to help students, faculty and staff easily navigate our collections. Print copies for select topics are available in the TRC while our entire catalog of bibliographies and guides are available on the TRC’s website. The reluctant readers bibliography is currently only available online, and is based on titles from the Young Adult Library Association’s (YALSA) Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers List.

But, we need to define who a reluctant reader. The umbrella term, reluctant reader, is used to describe a few different groups of students. Reluctant readers generally fall into one of three categories, those who can’t, don’t or won’t read. Students may not read because they lack the literacy and comprehension skills needed to do so which can lead to self-doubt and a fear of their secret being “found out.” The latter two categories encompass students able to read, but either dislike reading itself or their personal interests lead them to other activities they find more attractive.

So, what to do? A simple Internet search will overwhelm you. There is no shortage of parenting websites, non-profit and for-profit companies willing to share tips, tricks, and books. The Lexile Framework for Reading also offers tips and links to additional resources.

One theme you will find over and over again as you sift through all these resources is student choice. Allow your reluctant readers to choose reading material (e.g., comic book, graphic novel, popular magazine, etc.) about topics they are interested in. Of course, if a teacher knows their students’ interests, and happens to know a few books that may pique their interest, it’s a win-win. That’s why the TRC created our bibliography for reluctant readers.

Joyner Library’s subscription to Novelist Plus will also come in handy at times like this. Novelist Plus allows users to search for “Title Read-alikes” and “Author Read-alikes”. For example, if a student liked Kwame Alexander’s novel, The Crossover” A Basketball Novel, you can use that feature to find a list of similar reads:

Figure 1: The Crossover: A Basketball Novel’s entry in Novelist Plus. Read-alikes are found just above the “Find It!” button.

Figure 1: The Crossover: A Basketball Novel’s entry in Novelist Plus. Read-alikes are found just above the “Find It!” button.

Figure 2: Clicking on the “Title Read-alikes” will show a list of novels with similar themes.

Figure 2: Clicking on the “Title Read-alikes” will show a list of novels with similar themes.

Why is it important to become familiar with Novelist Plus? All K-12 educators in North Carolina have free access to either Novelist K-8 or Novelist Plus through NC WiseOwlJoyner Library’s subscription to Novelist Plus is the only way pre-service teachers can access this resource until you have your own classroom.

We hope to hear from you soon!

Until next time…Dan Z. in the TRC

Michelle Casey

NC NTSP Coach Profile: Michelle Casey, ECU Region

Michelle Casey is an Instructional Coach with the North Carolina New Teacher Support Program (NC NTSP), serving the East Carolina University (ECU) Region.  Michelle earned both her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in special education from ECU, and considers it an honor to represent such an exemplary university through NC NTSP.

Michelle has 24 years of experience at elementary and middle school levels, serving as an exceptional children’s teacher and administrator. Her work the NC NTSP is focused in the Lenoir County and Pamlico County Public School Systems, that are part of ECU’s Latham Clinical Schools Network.

“The feedback and assistance I have received from Michelle Casey, through NC NTSP, has been extremely beneficial in helping me get through some of the growing pains of first year teaching,” said first year teacher Matthew Henderson. Henderson teaches sixth grade science at E.B. Frink Middle School in Lenoir County.

Kaitlyn Fussell, a first year sixth grade math teacher at E.B. Frink in Lenoir County Schools agreed. “I have really appreciated Michelle’s guidance,” said Fussell.

Michelle is a currently pursuing a doctorate in educational leadership. Her dissertation research focuses on sustaining novice teachers who teach in high-need educational communities beyond the first five years of teaching in the southeastern region of North Carolina. This focus transpired from serving as an Instructional Coach in high-need educational communities and witnessing the dedication of teachers to sustain their career.  She is honored to serve novice teachers in Lenoir County.

For more information about the North Carolina New Teacher Support Program go to

Pictured above: First year teachers, Kaitlyn Fussell and Matthew Henderson, work with NC NTSP Instructional Coach Michelle Casey at E.B Frink Middle School in Lenoir County. From left to right: Casey; Fussell and Henderson.


Apply Now for ECU’s Online Teacher Education Partnership

Do you want to be a part of a profession that makes all others possible?

Do you want to make a difference?

Do you want a career that is meaningful, challenging, and creative?

Are you looking for a degree program that will fit your busy lifestyle?

If your answer to any of these questions is yes, then you should become a teacher through State Employees’ Credit Union Partnership East!

East Carolina University offers four-year teaching degrees through the  State Employees’ Credit Union Partnership East (SECU PE).  Students take the first two years of specific college transfer courses at any NC Community College and enter ECU as juniors to complete – a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education, Special Education – General Curriculum, or Middle Grades Education.  The online option for Middle Grades Education includes concentrations in language arts and social studies.    All SECU Partnership East coursework is offered through online instruction with classroom learning experiences in your local schools.  Students participate in a full-time internship at the culmination of the degree coursework.

Applications for 2016 cohorts are now open.  Test scores from the Praxis Core for Educators, prerequisite coursework, an interview, and a minimum GPA are required for admission to SECU PE.  Applicants must meet minimum transfer admission requirements to East Carolina University to be eligible to participate.

Degree Program Beginning Semester Application Deadline
Elementary Education (Full-time) Summer January 15
Elementary Education (Part-time) Fall February 15
Special Education (Part-time) Summer January 15
Middle Grades Language Arts and Social Studies (Part-time) Fall February 15

Graduates from SECU PE have a high rate of employment with the majority finding jobs right in their home counties. The convenience of online course delivery, field work close to home, and an opportunity to shape future generations are all reasons YOU should consider this opportunity.

For more information or to apply, contact the SECU Partnership East Coordinator for your region.  Contact information is located at


College of Education Graduate Recognition Ceremony – December 19, 2015

The College of Education Graduate Recognition Ceremony is scheduled for 9:00 a.m. on Saturday, December 19, 2015 in Williams Arena at Minges Coliseum. The faculty and staff of the College of Education are pleased to present a special Graduate Recognition Ceremony (GRC) for our graduates. The ceremony will feature individual recognition of College of Education students receiving degrees. Friends and families of the graduates are cordially invited to attend. It is not necessary for graduates or guests to RSVP for this event. Tickets are not required to attend the ceremony.

For University Commencement Ceremony details and information about the ECU Commencement Weekend, please visit

2015 NC Teacher of the Year Keana Triplett photo credit: NC Department of Public Instruction

College of Education hosts the 2015 NC Teacher of the Year

On October 19, 2015, Ms. Keana Triplett, the 2015 Burroughs Wellcome Fund North Carolina Teacher of the Year, visited East Carolina University. Over sixty students attended Ms.Triplett’s inspiring keynote address which was featured as a part of the Teacher Toolbox Workshop series, offered by the College of Education.

A North Carolina Teaching Fellows graduate, Triplett earned a Bachelor’s degree in Secondary English Education in 2005, and a Master’s degree in Educational Technology in December 2012, both from Appalachian State University. In 2014, she achieved National Board Certification in English/Language Arts.

Triplett has spent her entire teaching career at Ashe County High School. Since 2005, she has taught 9th, 10th and 12th grade English. She is chair of Ashe County High School’s Writing Committee and a member of the school’s Literacy Committee. She also is a Senior Conference Presenter for the Appalachian Community of Educators Society, a Teaching Fellows Advisory Council member for Appalachian Educators and a Cooperating Teacher for Appalachian State University student teachers.

She is the North Carolina Region 7 Teacher of the Year for 2014-15, and Ashe County Schools’ Teacher of the Year as well as Ashe County High School Teacher of the Year for 2014-15. She is a two-time grant recipient having received the Ashe County Schools’ Endowment Grant in 2010 and the Blue Ridge Electric Bright Ideas Grant in 2009. As Burroughs Wellcome Fund North Carolina Teacher of the Year, Triplett spends her time traveling the state as an ambassador for the teaching profession.

The College of Education was honored to sponsor this event as a way to teach, lead, and inspire!

For more information about teacher education at East Carolina University, please visit our website at

To view a recording of the event, please visit this link:

Montague Franklin with Jennifer Stalls

Education Graduate Leads Middle Schoolers in Conducting Nature Research

Jamaya Heath, Precious Wallace

(L to R): Jamaya Heath, Precious Wallace

By Crystal Baity
ECU News Services

Eighth-graders at C.M. Eppes Middle School hope to find out if a backyard weed actually contains some beneficial ingredients.

Their teacher, Jennifer Stalls, an East Carolina University alumna and graduate student in the College of Education, brought the real-world research question to her science classes as a participant in the Kenan Fellows Program for Curriculum and Leadership Development.

Frank Marr, Luke Daigle

(L to R): Frank Marr, Luke Daigle

Stalls is one of 42 educators from across North Carolina who completed a five-week summer research experience and two weeks of professional development as part of the annual program.

Stalls worked in the genomics and microbiology lab at the N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences with mentor Dr. Julia Stevens, who is studying the symbiotic relationship between invasive plants and bacteria in nitrogen fixing. The process is needed to convert gaseous nitrogen into forms that can be used by living organisms.

Stalls created a curriculum for her students to contribute to Stevens’ research by studying regional invasive species that could potentially replenish bacteria in crop fields.

Among the discoveries students are making is the notion that they like science.

Jason Harrell, Landen Congleton, Chad Langley

(L to R): Jason Harrell, Landen Congleton, Chad Langley

“I like that you can make so many things, so many discoveries with science. I like the medicine part of science,” said student Virginia Rahilly.

Stalls is one of six ECU alumni in the 2015-16 class of Kenan Fellows. Others and the schools where they teach are: Christopher Clark ’13, Chicod School in Pitt County; Taylar Flythe ’12, Ligon Magnet Middle School in Wake County; Denise Humphries ’93, Chinquapin Elementary School in Duplin County; Amy Kennedy ’07, Beulaville Elementary School in Duplin County; Julianna Martinez-Schultz ’10, Moore Square Magnet Middle School in Wake County.

Chloe Manning-Moore, Juliana Chaires

(L to R): Chloe Manning-Moore, Juliana Chaires

The Kenan Fellows Program was established in 2000 as the signature K-12 STEM education initiative of the Kenan Institute for Engineering, Technology & Science at N.C. State University.

Kenan Fellows are given opportunities for networking, professional growth and leadership development. For more information, visit

For the full article, please visit the ECU News Services Article Backyard Botantists

Jami Dickerson and Ann Bullock

ECU Graduate Presents at the NC New Teacher Support Eastern Institute for Beginning Teachers

Ms. Jami Dickerson, the 2014 Northeast North Carolina Teacher of the Year and an East Carolina University graduate was the keynote address for the NC New Teacher Support Program’s Institute held at NC State. Ms. Dickerson spoke about using brain-based principles to keep students active and involved in the classroom. Her use of active movements and music were great strategies to model for the beginning teachers in attendance.

Ron Clark and The North Carolina New Teacher Support Program, ECU Regional Office staff

NC New Teacher Support Project Coaches attend Ron Clark’s Presentation in Pamlico County

Ron Clark, founder of The Ron Clark Academy and ECU graduate, spoke this morning to the teachers and administrators of Pamlico County Schools. The North Carolina New Teacher Support Program, ECU Regional Office staff attended the event and enjoyed the inspiring presentation by Mr. Clark.

Clark was a Teaching Fellow at ECU and graduated in Elementary Education in 1994. In 2000, he was named Disney’s Outstanding Teacher of the Year. In 2007, Clark opened the academy in Atlanta, GA. Clark says since 2007, “We have challenged, motivated, disciplined, and inspired these students, and we have grown to love them for their amazing gifts and unique abilities. We truly believe that we have future world leaders at our school, and we are honored to teach them each and every day.”




Ron Preston Serves as President of the North Carolina Council of Teachers of Mathematics

Dr. Ron Preston, ECU Mathematics Education, began his tenure as President of the North Carolina Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCCTM), April 2015. He will convene the 45th Annual NCCTM State Conference on November 5, 2015 as well as the NCCTM Leadership Seminar on November 4. Both events are held at the Koury Conference Center in Greensboro.

NCCTM was founded approximately 50 years ago to unite all teachers, supervisors, curriculum developers, and teacher educators of mathematics in a shared goal of exceptional mathematics teaching for optimal mathematical learning for all NC students. In addition to conferences and seminars, NCCTM provides Mathematics Fairs for K-12 students, supports mathematics competitions for high school students, awards mini-grants to classroom teachers of mathematics, provides scholarships to support graduate studies for teachers, presents awards for outstanding performance and innovation in mathematics education, and publishes a journal.

Ron Preston is an Associate Professor with a joint appointment in the Department of Mathematics and the College of Education. He teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in mathematics education at ECU and serves as Mathematics, Science, and Instructional Technology Education’s Director of Students. He is the 2014-2015 ECU Faculty Advisor of the Year. He is active in funded projects and research in mathematics education. His holds a Ph.D. in Mathematics Education from Indiana University.