Stories About Extraordinary Experiences with the NC State College of Education

Nina Schoonover

During American Education Week, we asked our alumni, students and friends to share about their extraordinary experiences with the NC State College of Education and what experiences left a big impression on them. Read what they had to say about these extraordinary experiences. American Education Week 2019


‘Valerie Faulkner Embodies What an Educator Should Be’

From Brandon Daniel

As an educator, I’ve learned to value resources. At NC State, we have a valuable resource in professor Valerie Faulkner. She embodies what an educator should be: knowledgeable, empathetic and passionate. I try to “bring it”in my classroom as she brought it in ours. I left class each time empowered with knowledge and how to cultivate it. We learn by doing and sharing those experiences. We learn by taking risks. Thank you NC State and Valerie Faulkner for taking a risk on me.


‘Mark Townley Played a Huge Part in my Inspiration to Become a Teacher Myself’

From Storm Alexander

An educator that I had through high school was an NC State alum who had graduated from the college of education. Mark Townley taught me AP Environmental Science at Holly Springs High School, and he played a huge part in my inspiration to become a teacher myself, and especially inspired me to attend NC State.


‘Without this Remarkable University, College and Elementary Education Program, I Would Not be Able to Thrive as a Passionate Educator’

From Danielle Scharen

The College of Education at NC State has been an integral part of my life as I have spent more than a quarter of it as a student in this college! I received both my Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in the Elementary Education department at NC State, drawn in by the outstanding focus on science and engineering aspects that closely align with my teaching philosophy. But I didn’t stop there. I have yet again returned to the College of Ed and am now in the process of working towards my PhD in Elementary Learning Sciences with a focus on elementary science. Because of the College of Ed and the incredible faculty at this university, I had a very successful teaching career in North Carolina elementary schools and spread the importance of science and technology education to students, parents, educators, and administrators statewide. I wanted nothing more in my career than to continue to spread that knowledge and passion for science education in the elementary years, and have now changed my focus to pre-service teachers and in-service teacher support. In my most recent doctoral journey with the College of Ed at NC State, I feel simultaneously supported and challenged by the TELS department to make an impact in the field of education. Without this remarkable university, college, and Elementary Education program I would not be able to thrive as a passionate educator.


‘Dr. Hill Prepared Me Well for Life in a High School Classroom’

From Robert Palmer

Dr. Kevin Hill profoundly impacted by teaching career. He taught several valuable lessons that I consistently pass along to others. Dr. Hill stressed the importance of teaching 80% of your curriculum to the best of your ability. Doing so would make you successful in the classroom. I made this the focus of my teaching and have found that it does create success. Mentoring three beginning teachers and one student teacher gave me the opportunity to share Dr. Hill’s wisdom. Dr. Hill prepared me well for life in a high school classroom.


‘Thank You Dr. Jones for Making Me Fall in Love with This Program and Teaching’

From Courtney Callaghan

I joined the MAT program in Spring 2019; I was a full time student and my husband was deployed overseas. Nervous to head back to school was an understatement. My first class was Science Methods with Dr. Gail Jones. I immediately felt welcomed into her class and into the program and clicked with the other students in my class. Dr. Jones is everything I strive to be as a future educator – fun, experimental, and brilliant. I loved being in her class so much I took an elective with her because I just love her methods and approaches so much! Thank you Dr. Jones for making me fall in love with this program and teaching!!


‘I Currently Hold 3 Degrees, but the Experience I Have Witnessed at NC State Has Been By Far the Best Out of all of My Degrees’

From Marsha Creekmore

I currently hold 3 other degrees, including a master’s, but the experience that I have witnessed here at NC State has been by far the best out of all of my degrees. My advisor has been very forthcoming with all the information that I have needed and has been very supportive. My professor have keep me very engaged and have also been very supportive and helpful when I needed it. I am so happy and look forward to continuing my experience here.


‘My Professor, Dr. Lisa Hervey, Changed My Life as a Teacher’

From Twanna Monroe

My professor Dr. Lisa Hervey, changed my life as a teacher because she introduced various digital tools in the class. Now my students are excited about learning because of the technology integration.


‘I Never Had a Professor Who Inspired Me to Challenge Myself More and Want to Be the Best at Teaching Math than Dr. Kolb’

From Stacy Surratt

I was at NC State as a NC Teaching Fellow (Class of ‘95). My major was Math/Science Dual Degree and my experience at NC State was truly extraordinary! One of my favorite professors, who I continue to talk about to this day, was Dr. John Kolb. He had a way to make you want you to do better, be better in the classroom and outside of the classroom. He was not hearing any excuse for not coming by to see him to get extra help. I never had a professor who inspired me to challenge myself more and want to be the best at teaching math than Dr. Kolb. His positive impact and impression he made on me, I pray, comes out in my teaching each and every day for my high school math students.


‘ELM 375 Was Such an Eye Opening Experience for Me’

From Connie Kim

During my junior year in the College of Education, I took ELM 375 and it was such an eye opening experience for me. The class provided us with the opportunities to openly and respectfully discuss topics that would typically be considered “taboo” or uncomfortable to talk about but are necessary to have in order to better understand how we can foster a positive classroom environment. I was introduced to so many new and different perspectives and we really dove deep into important topics that I will carry with me as I work with children in my own future classroom.


‘The College of Education Prepares Teachers Better Than Anywhere I Know’

From Lori Worthington

It is hard to list one experience and how it impacted me — there were so many impactful experiences! Every class related to education that I was enrolled in has made me the teacher that I am today. My professors, especially Dr. Carol Pope, prepared me so well that I was truly ready on my very first day as a teacher. My student teaching experience was phenomenal. The College of Education prepares teachers better than anywhere I know. I was fortunate to be named Camden County’s District Teacher of the Year in 2018-19 and I owe that award to what I learned in the College of Education. I am so thankful for my education at NC State.


‘I Know How Important it is to Build Relationships With My Students While Teaching Them’

From Alyssa Johnson

I enjoyed David Mills’ class during my time in Elementary Education. His class was challenging, but he made time to meet with us and formed a bond with our cohort. He even invited us all to his house for dinner. Many of our professors were friendly and helpful, but he really got to know us while teaching us. Thanks to this experience, I know how important it is to build relationships with my students while teaching them.


Jermaine Howell

‘Mrs. Melanie Smith Exemplifies a Professor Who Goes Above and Beyond to Ensure All Her Learners Achieve Excellence’

From Jermaine R. Howell

I can proudly say Mrs. Melanie Smith from the Curriculum and Developmental Supervision program exemplifies a professor who goes above and beyond to ensure ALL her learners achieve excellence!!! I have been in dialogue with Mrs. Smith before I got accepted into the college/university. She guided me throughout the process of application and emailed me updates of my application status. During the program orientation, she, along with Dr. Horne, outlined the program and provided snacks. I was afforded the opportunity to have been in two classes with her as my professor. Her methodologies, professor-to-student relationship, and grading were all of high standards. She is a professor who ensures her students understand and are able to apply the content during the teaching/learning process.  I have also build a trusting relationship with Mrs. Smith in which I have shared different things with her and knowing it will be held in confidence. I have also learned a vast amount of knowledge and experiences from her with regards to coaching, teaching, and developmental supervision. She will always be my favorite N.C. State professor!!! In close, I will add her favorite quote “onwards, and upwards”.


‘The Awesome Professors Who Taught GC 120 and TDE 110 Reignited My Spark and Helped Build a New, Close-Knit Community’

From Isabella Forst

After changing majors, I wasn’t entirely sure what I wanted to do academically. While taking GC 120 and TDE 110, two of my favorite classes ever, the professors enthusiastically supported my learning and encouraged me to express my creativity with the material in a way I had never experienced before. Those two classes, and the awesome professors who taught them, reignited my spark and helped build a new, close-knit community less than a semester after changing my major. A big thank you to the College of Education for giving me a new lease on learning!


‘The Johnston Principal Leadership Academy Has Taught Me I Must First Know Myself and My Own Value Before Taking on a Leadership Role’

From Allison Price

As a current graduate student, the Johnston Principal Leadership Academy (formerly known as NELA) has taught me I must first know myself and my own value before taking on a leadership role in education. I will be forever grateful for this experience and the life lessons the program has taught me. Because of this program I have the confidence I need to move on to bigger opportunities and make a larger impact in our world. There will never be enough thank yous!


‘EMS 204 is the Best Class That I Have Taken During My Entire Time at NC State’

From Martia Williams

The class that I am currently taking EMS 204: Introduction to Mathematics Education with Dr. Robin K Anderson is the best class that I have taken during my entire time at NC State University. Dr. Anderson does a wonderful job of not only teaching us about the different tasks that we can implement into our future classrooms but also allows us to try them out ourselves. Since taking difficult college math classes I have not enjoyed math as much as I used to enjoy it. But in this class, I have fallen in love with math again and am ecstatic about getting to teach my future students with the tools I have gained in this course.


‘The Level of Education I Have Received at NC State is Extraordinary’

From Mehrunissa Owens

The level of education I have received at NC State is extraordinary, I have learned so much in such a short amount of time, from exceptional professors to support from the graduate school. I have attended conferences, been placed at an excellent school for my student teaching experience, interacted with outstanding faculty and staff who have encouraged me to continue my education past an MAT, and love the campus and surroundings. My favorite place in POE is METRC, I love having access to everything I need in an intimate and friendly setting.  I have also enjoyed meeting the other students in my classes, there is so much to learn from each other, and our professors encourage us to do just that!


‘Through SAY, I Have Built Such an Amazing Community and Learned so Much Through Programs, Socials and Field Experiences’

From Amy Henricks

I am a member of SAY Village and I have had so many extraordinary experiences through the village! Getting to work with my elementary partner during field experience is always the highlight of my week. Through SAY I have built such an amazing community and already learned so much through programs, socials, and field experiences. Robin McWilliams, Lindsey Hubbard, and the rest of the SAY EA’s have helped make my first semester here at NC State so great!


‘I Hope to Encourage Many More Students to Attend This Fine University. I am Thankful Every Day for My Experience at NC State’

From Kimberly Steele

I attended NC State University from 1990 – 1994. I received a BS degree in Middle Grades Education (Grades 6-9) with a dual certification in math and science. I knew for many years I wanted to be a teacher, and I specifically wanted to be a middle school math teacher. I made the decision to attend NC State my Junior year of high school when I realized I could graduate with dual certification in math and science and felt that would make me more marketable in getting a teaching position back in my home county.

Each semester I took at least one math and one science course. I enjoyed both, but I quickly became more interested in the science courses and their content. The science professors opened my eyes to a lot of concepts and expanded on science domains I had studied in high school. I can remember my favorite science course at NC State was Genetics. In high school, we touched briefly on heredity and genetics in Biology, but not at the depth in which we studied it in this course. My eyes were opened and my curiosity sparked in this course.

When I began my methods courses for teaching math and science, one specific instructor stood out among the rest. Dr. Susan Westbrook taught the methods of teaching science course. She introduced us to discovery learning in the science classroom and even took us on an overnight field trip to Bear Island off the Crystal Coast in NC to demonstrate how important it is for students to experience concepts they are learning in the classroom hands on. I became very excited about teaching science from my studies and work with Dr. Westbrook, so much so that after graduation, I sought and accepted my first teaching position teaching 7th grade science, not math.

I’ve now been in education for over 25 years. I’ve been out of the classroom for the past 12 years serving as a school based instructional coach. During the 13 years I spent in the classroom, I always taught science, with only a few math classes sprinkled in from time to time. If I had attended any other university for my teaching degree, I feel that I would have only studied math and I would not have explored or considered the sciences as an option. I am very thankful to NC State for that dual program as it changed my destiny and I know beyond a doubt I became a much better teacher and instructional coach due to what I learned under my science professors and Dr. Westbrook. During those 13 years in the classroom, I taught close to 1,500 students in the area of middle grades science. Many of those students to this day accredit my science class and me for inspiring them to pursue a science related career. Through the content and methods I learned at NC State, I was able to inspire a love for science with my students through my instruction. Therefore, my education at NC State University has had an infinite impact that surely continues to grow a love and curiosity for the field of science.

I continue to promote NC State University to our students through conversations, instruction, field trip tours, and even through my attire and the NC State decor in my office. I hope to encourage many more students to attend this fine university. I am thankful every day for my experience at NC State. Go Wolfpack!”


‘I Discovered My Passion for Education’

From Kelsey Douglas

It was freshman year and I was unsure about my current major. I was advised to make an appointment with the college of education as that was what I was on the fence about. I made the appointment with Amanda Beller and she made me feel so welcomed and happy that I changed my major to elementary education and I discovered my passion for education. If Beller had not been so kind and welcoming to me, I might not have switched to elementary education. Furthermore, I might would have not discovered my passion for teaching. I am so thankful for supportive staff in the college of education!


‘The Professor That Changed My Mindset About Education and Life was Dr. Pat Dalton. Pat Was a Light in this World.’

From Jessica Avery

While there were multiple professors at NC State that made an impact on me…the professor that changed my mindset about education and life was Dr. Pat Dalton. Pat was a light in this world. Her philosophy that “life happens” continues to help me remember that in education we are dealing with humans…not numbers…not statistics. Educators work in building and shaping better citizens. She helped us see our worth and celebrated it. She encouraged us to do the same in our field experiences. When I think about my years in education (16), I know that one of the greatest influences on how I manage and care for people was Pat, and I am thankful for her insight.


‘I Attribute My Positive Experience Teaching Over the Last 9 Years to the Supportive Network and the Excellent Preparation I Received’

From Ashley Pratt

During my graduate program, I was a part of the Noyce Scholars program. This experience provided me with additional support and experiences to ensure that I was prepared for my future students. The network of other new educators as well as the inspiring mentors running the program helped me tremendously as I developed into a math educator. When I needed help in my first few years of teaching (both with the actual teaching as well as someone to listen to my frustrations!) I was so thankful to have a group of people who were able to help me through. I attribute my positive experience teaching over the last 9 years to the supportive network and the excellent preparation I received at NC State.


‘Completing the edTPA Was Incredibly Rewarding for Me’

From Taylor Rothenberg

Completing the edTPA was incredibly rewarding for me. Sarah Cannon was particularly helpful through the entire process, and helped when I encountered hiccups in my student teaching program. I liked that the edTPA required me to be intentional and reflective on my teaching practices, and has helped me continue those practices through my continuing role as an educator.


‘The NELA Program Has Been One of the Most Powerful Experiences of My Life’

From Jeffrey Henry

NC State college of education has impacted me in many ways. I currently attend the school through the NELA program and it has been one of the most powerful experiences of my life. This journey has taken me from Poe Hall to Washington DC and we will be traveling to California in March. I can not thank the school enough and hope to impact my students as much as I have been.


Nina Schoonover

‘Dr. Michelle Falter Has Encouraged Me to Truly Think and Do’

From Nina Schoonover

I want to share about an outstanding educator and advisor who I have had at NC State, Dr. Michelle Falter. Since starting my doctoral program, she has encouraged me to truly think and do. She has supported me when I have needed it through classes, writing, and research, but she has also pushed and challenged me outside of my comfort zone. I can’t say enough how much I appreciate having her alongside my doctoral journey at NC State!


‘Gregory Hicks is a Phenomenal Recruiter for the NC Principal Fellows Program at NC State’

From Pamela Routhier

Gregory Hicks is a phenomenal recruiter for the NC Principal Fellows Program at North Carolina State University. He not only provides extensive details on the program, but he takes the time with every individual candidate to answer any and all questions they may have. He truly makes the candidates feel as if they are the most important educator in the state, and he promotes the university as if they are the number one educator in the country. In addition, after entering the program he continues to be a phenomenal coach by giving sound advice and constructive criticism. He always offers solutions to problems, and teaches those around him to be a problem solver. After leaving the program, Dr. Hicks has continued to be my biggest cheerleader, and takes the time to check in from time to time. I appreciate all that he has done for me and the NC Principal Fellows Program.


‘All of My Professors at NC State Have Emphasized the Importance of Forming Relationships with Your Students’

From Kristen Wade

All of my professors at NC State have emphasized the importance of forming relationships with your students! This makes classroom management so much easier and you can take what you know about them, utilize their strengths, and tailor lessons! When I received news about the CED Mini-grants, I was excited to find a way to make a unique lesson for my class! Knowing that several students were interested in coding and technology, I jumped at the chance to use the Sphero robots in the library. From my grant I received Sphero accessories to use with our force and motion lessons. I created a whole Sphero lesson segment to extend concepts I had already taught, and students learned how to apply Newton’s 3 laws of motion to the tasks regarding the robots. Students LOVED these lessons and the rest of my team is looking into how they can use these lessons as well. Students were also very thankful for this opportunity and the effort that I put forth to create the lesson segment. The support from the university made this possible and made a world of difference in my physics unit. Truly grateful for this opportunity!


‘My Experience in NC State’s College of Education has Been Nothing Short of Extraordinary in Every Possible Way’

From Deidre Kelly

My experience in NC State’s College of Education has been nothing short of extraordinary in every possible way. In addition to being high-level experts in their fields, my professors have been kind, encouraging, and enthusiastic in the classroom. My fellow doctoral students have enhanced my education by bringing their diverse backgrounds, experiences, and viewpoints to the classes. I have had the incredible opportunity to teach a number of undergraduate classes, assume leadership roles, take part in NSF-funded research, and present research internationally.


‘I Love Being a Teaching Fellow at NC State’

From Ally Gagnon

I love being a Teaching Fellow at N.C. State! This opportunity has allowed me to be really involved in the college of education and to experience things I otherwise would not have had access to. From the guest speakers to the We Teach for N.C. spring break trip, I have had so many amazing experiences that have really motivated me and inspired me to be a great teacher. I’m confident that when I graduate, I’ll be ready to step into my classroom and be an effective teacher on day one. Shout out to Ms. Crystal Espey and Mrs. Amanda Beller, they are both so amazing and supportive, and they make the college of education feel like home!


‘Dr. Fahrer is a Wonderful Advisor and Mentor’

From Issa Dyson

Dr. Fahrer is a wonderful advisor and mentor. He does not allow you to feel alone ever. He will always ask how you are doing and if there is any way he can support you. This dedication really helped me when I was struggling. Sometimes what you need is that dedication more than anything else.


‘Dr. Jimmy Smith Made a Huge Impact on My Experience Getting My Graduate Degree’

From Paige Slider

Dr. Jimmy Smith in the college of education made a huge impact on my experience getting my graduate degree. He guided me through the entire two years and kept me on top of all of the aspects of the program. He was always available if I had a question, concern or just needed to vent. Dr. Smith always made us feel important and valued as a student and as a working teacher.


‘I Loved David Mills’ Special Education Class in Elementary Education’

From Brooke Ward

I loved David Mills’ special education class in elementary education. He not only taught us what we needed to know about working with special education students but about life and the importance of relationships. He developed a special relationship with my cohort where we all had a dinner at his house. This is one class and teacher I will never forget and I’m sure my cohort feels the same.

I also enjoyed my time as a college of education ambassador. Being able to help with events as well as meet prospective students has helped carry over in my experience now as a high school counselor in promoting my school. I also developed professional relationships with staff who I may not have had contact with otherwise. It helped me become a confident leader and allowed me to promote a school that I love.


‘Dr. Delgado Has Inspired Me to Be a Better Teacher’

From Paola Medina

I would like to share that in general, I’ve had an extraordinary experience during my first semester in MS Science Education. I love the program, the online classes, the school and the spirit of camaraderie in everybody at the NC State College of Education. Particularly, I want to recognize the incredible work of one of my professors: Dr. Cesar Delgado. He is an amazing teacher with endless patience and an enormous love for what he does. Dr. Delgado has inspired me to be a better teacher, his hard work, kindness, and passion for teaching are difficult to describe in one paragraph. Thank you for all you do Dr. Delgado!


‘It is a Nice Feeling to Know That the Faculty and Staff are Making an Effort to Know Who I am and My Background’

From Jessica Terrones

Coming from a small town to a large university like NC State was terrifying. Although, that changed once I stepped foot into the College of Education. Everyone knew everyone. I did not feel like just another student in the classroom, whose name would be long forgotten once I stepped out of the classroom. Instead, faculty and staff know who I am and even my major. It is a nice feeling to know that they are making an effort to know who I am and my background. Allowing me to feel a sense of support through the College of Education. Overall, these connections contributed immensely to my transition to NC State and making it a home away from home!


‘I Really Enjoyed the Wolfpack Readers Program’

From Daniel Hencher

I really enjoyed the Wolfpack Readers program and felt that it helped me engage with students in a different school and to implement all the research and practices I had learned about during the course.