ECU community mourns loss of instructor

By Kathryn Kennedy and Jeannine Manning Hutson
ECU News Services

Co-workers and students of East Carolina University teaching instructor Debbie O’Neal are grieving this week following her death March 31.

She and her husband – both rated pilots – were killed when their fixed-wing Lancair LC-42 aircraft crashed in a Winston-Salem residential neighborhood after experiencing engine trouble, a National Traffic Safety Board official told media on Monday.

Funeral services are scheduled for 1 p.m. Wednesday, April 3 at Rock Springs Center, 4025 N.C. Highway 43 N, Greenville.

An additional memorial service was held Tuesday, April 2 at the Washington Eye Center, where her husband, Dennis, worked.

O’Neal came to ECU in 2004, and this semester she was teaching three sections of English composition in the classroom and two distance-education sections of English grammar.

Department of English Chair Jeffrey Johnson spent Tuesday meeting with students in O’Neal’s classes, accompanied by staff from the ECU counseling center. He said the students were “taking it hard,” and many asked if they could reach out to her family.

“Her students know how invested she was in them,” Johnson said. “She was really outgoing, full of energy and ideas, generous with her time. All these qualities of hers…make (the loss) even harder.”

O’Neal was very involved in the ECU Language Academy, which provides intensive English-language instruction to international students and professionals. She also worked with the College of Education by developing ways to integrate English as a second language (ESL) teacher education into existing curriculum.

Marjorie Ringler, associate professor in the College of Education’s Department of Educational Leadership, said she and O’Neal worked closely for years. “We were inseparable at work and as friends as well,” Ringler said Tuesday.

O’Neal was a linguist and Ringler works on partnerships with principals and school districts; together they were a great team, Ringler said. The pair recently attended an international conference in Dallas, presenting their success in teaching English as a second language in a rural eastern North Carolina school.

O’Neal engaged her classroom students as well, Ringler said, and held them to high standards.

“In the Department of English, she saw her students as her kids,” Ringler continued. “She was a mother to them because (she taught) the freshman composition class.”

She added that O’Neal kept in touch with many students and would get Facebook and email messages about how she had changed their lives. “She made sure everybody knew that she cared,” Ringler said.

“She lived life to the fullest. She was a pilot, made her own jewelry, and was always in touch with her three kids. She skied as well. What did she not do? And she tackled everything head on.”

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ECU alum speaks at national education conference

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Harvey

An East Carolina University graduate shared her experiences as a first-year, middle school math teacher at a national education conference Feb. 27-March 2.

Lauren Williams Harvey ‘12 served as a panelist at the annual American Association of Teacher Education Conference (AACTE), held this year in Orlando, Fla. She spoke on how an innovative program at ECU’s College of Education prepared her for teaching.

The College is in its third year of implementing edTPA, an assessment tool that measures the teaching behaviors and effectiveness of education students. edTPA was developed by Stanford University in partnership with AACTE.

“Being a first-year teacher can be stressful, but the preparation I received…allowed me to feel confident in my classroom,” said Harvey, who teaches sixth-grade math at E.B. Aycock Middle School in Greenville. “With this confidence, I feel that I am able to meet the individual needs of all of my students on a daily basis.”

ECU administrators recommended Harvey to serve as a panelist for the session, titled “edTPA Into Practice: Novice Teachers Speak Out,” because of the university’s extensive adoption of edTPA and the deep engagement of the faculty with Stanford University and its Center for Assessment, Learning, & Equity, according to Susan Petroff, vice president of AACTE.

“The opportunity to speak at the AACTE conference on edTPA gave me a chance to both share my experiences through the process as well as advocate for the College of Education,” said Harvey, who one of only three new graduates to appear on the conference agenda.

During the panel session, Harvey reflected on how the middle grades education program at ECU prepared her to execute the edTPA process and, more importantly, to be a successful new teacher.

“Each day, I reflected on my lessons and how well my students were performing, but the edTPA allowed me to focus on specific needs and common errors that may occur during a lesson.”

In her remarks, Harvey said that edTPA was a rich, challenging opportunity that allowed her to demonstrate her pedagogical knowledge and skills. From making sure that she was planning instruction that reached all students, to assessing student work to identify gaps in instruction or misconceptions existing among her students, participating in edTPA at ECU made Harvey a confident, prepared first-year teacher.

“This truly was a memorable occasion,” said Dr. Linda Patriarca, dean of the College of Education. “Listening to her articulate so clearly and cogently how she plans, instructs and assesses the students in her class and how she uses the data to inform her planning and subsequent day’s instruction was awe inspiring.”

For more information about ECU’s College of Education, visit http://www.ecu.edu/cs-educ/. For more details on the edTPA, visit http://edtpa.aacte.org/.

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Counselors connect with ECU College of Education

ECU hosted school counselors from aross eastern North Carolina this month.

ECU hosted school counselors from aross eastern North Carolina this month.

 

Forty-Four high school guidance counselors from Eastern North Carolina gained up-to-date information about East Carolina University and its teacher programs during “Each One-Reach One,” held on campus Feb. 12.

Sponsored by the ECU College of Education, event drew educators from the following school districts: Beaufort, Bertie, Clinton City Schools, Duplin, Edgecombe, Gates, Hertford, Hyde, Johnston, Martin, Nash-Rocky Mount, Pitt, Roanoke Rapids, Sampson, Vance, Wayne, and Wilson. Invitations were issued to each high school within the Latham Clinical Schools Network which comprises 37 counties within eastern North Carolina.

The counselors learned about the processes involved for applying to ECU. The Honors College provided details about its unique opportunity for academically talented students. Attendees also participated in a crash course by the ECU Financial Aid office about changes to application processes at the federal level.

The College of Education shared detailed information about the college’s scholarship opportunities. Teaching faculty from mathematics, science and instructional technology education, as well as special education and middle grades education, spoke about their high-need programs.

The event aimed to assist counselors with information about the college application process, while encouraing them to prompt students to consider education as a career choice. Recruitment packets, along with College of Education scholarship information, were given to each attendee for use back at their high schools.

For more information about recruitment efforts for the College of Education at East Carolina University, contact Laura Bilbro-Berry, assistant director of teacher education, at bilbroberryl@ecu.edu or via phone at 252-328-1123.

Counselors attending the outreach event at ECU learned about the college application process.

Counselors attending the outreach event at ECU learned about the college application process.

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AVID Day challenges students to maximize potential

East Carolina University’s College of Education hosted more than 400 eastern North Carolina sixth through twelfth graders in two events designed to challenge those students to maximize their potential.

The Nov. 14 and Nov. 28 AVID Days held by the Office of Professional Development and Student Outreach encouraged underachieving students to attend college by providing opportunities for them to explore college access options.

ECU faculty and students interacted with the visitors in sessions on such topics as college admission, service-learning, academic success, personalities and leadership development.

Seventeen public middle or high schools were represented at the events.

For additional information, contact Christa Monroe at monroec@ecu.edu or call the Office of Professional Development at 252-328-2950.

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Eastern North Carolina Teachers of the Year Honored at Event

Jennifer Lilly, a Teacher of the Year from CamTech High School in Camden County, speaks to colleagues at a celebration for outstanding teachers sponsored by ECU’s College of Education on Dec. 6. (Contributed photos)

 

Eighteen Teacher of the Year recipients from eastern North Carolina were honored at a Dec. 6 event sponsored by East Carolina University’s College of Education. The event, titled “Each One-Reach One,” served as a celebration of outstanding educators and their positive impact within the region.

Joining the Teachers of the Year were first- and second-year educators. The novice and veteran educators represented the following counties: Beaufort, Bertie, Camden, Clinton City, Craven, Cumberland, Edgecombe, Gates, Halifax, Hertford, Hyde, Jones, Lenoir, Northampton, Onslow, Pitt, Vance and Wilson.

Invitations were issued to each member of the Latham Clinical Schools Network, which comprises 36 counties within eastern North Carolina. Several of the educators honored are alumni of the College of Education’s teacher education programs. During the event, the educators brainstormed how to better promote the profession of teaching. When asked what kind of individuals they wanted to see join the profession in the future, the educators noted they wanted to see new teachers who were “passionate about the profession, compassionate about others, and tech savvy to meet the needs of 21st century learning.” Within the discussion on how to promote teaching as a career choice, the Teachers of the Year shared that there is a need to “get the media and legislators more involved in understanding the positive experiences that are happening in classrooms.”

In addition to sharing recruitment strategies, these outstanding educators were asked to videotape themselves sharing their thoughts about why they teach. The individual clips will be combined to create a promotional video to share with potential teacher education students at spring recruitment events. The positive messages shared will provide prospective students with excellent examples of quality teachers who are proud of their profession.

For more information about recruitment efforts for the College of Education at East Carolina University, please contact Laura Bilbro-Berry, Assistant Director of Teacher Education, at bilbroberryl@ecu.edu or via phone at 252-328-1123.

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