3 Tips to Being a Fearless Educator
Ms. Shuford taught high school English for 62 years and retired at age 82. For her recent 90th birthday, her family asked former students and co-workers to send cards to help celebrate. She received over 100 that included notes about how she changed their lives.
By the Numbers: Who Graduated
- Doctor of Education: 14
- Doctor of Philosophy: 26
- Master of Education: 62
- Master of Arts in Teaching: 34
- Bachelor’s: 27
Ms. Shuford is Kristy Teskey’s aunt, and Kristy Teskey ’91 is the executive director of My Future NC who delivered the Charge to the Graduates during the NC State College of Education’s Winter Commencement Friday, Dec. 15, at the McKimmon Center.
“She is a great example of a fearless educator who positively impacted lives throughout her life,” said Teskey, a member of the NC State College of Education’s advisory board who has worked in education and workforce development for the past 25 years. “She had the same vigor and passion for teaching and her students at 82 than when she started teaching at age 20.”
Ms. Shuford was tough but fair, Teskey added, and she expected the best of her students and pulled the best of our them. She did not choose an easy path, and when others tried to sway her in different directions, she was steadfast. She did not lose her fearlessness.
“Don’t lose your fearlessness,” either, Teskey encouraged the 163 new College of Education alumni. “The stakes are too high. Our students, our state, our future depend on you.”
So how do you maintain your fearlessness? Teskey offered three tips.
- Do your work with humility and grace. “Treating people with transparency, fairness and the benefit of the doubt is fundamental to being fearless. . . . There will no doubt be times when you need to ask forgiveness instead of permission–but choose these times wisely and work to be the respected resource of ideas and information because you have demonstrated to others your mastery of using your head for meaningful discussion, your heart for thoughtfulness, and your hands for making a difference.
- Take intentional actions. “You will be confronted throughout your careers with both energy takers and energy givers who will come in all forms and fashion. An important takeaway for you is don’t be the constant energy taker — always be an intentional energy giver and most importantly, find others who give you the positive energy that will lift you to the best educator you can be in order to stay strong and intentional in your purpose. Be the light that others gravitate towards.”
- Keep students at the center. “Everything you do as an educator and every decision you make, you need to hold it up to the student light and ask yourself: Is this best for the student? I have founded that in my 25 years of working and advocating for equity in education, that when adults get around a table to talk about education issues, they lose sight of what is best students. . . . Be the voice that always keeps education student centered.”
See Our Graduates
Over 100 students crossed the stage Friday, Dec. 15. Before the commencement ceremony, we grabbed photos of as many as the new alumni as we could.
We also got photos of many of the faculty who prepared them to think and do the extraordinary in order to improve lives, schools and communities across North Carolina and beyond through the field of education.
Meet 3 Fearless Graduates
Alessandra Dinin ‘17 PHD: Examining Experiences
“I became interested in better understanding and improving upon the experiences of these groups in higher education STEM programs,” says Alexandra Dinin '17PHD, a research analyst at the Trinity College Office of Assessment at Duke University. “I was also interested in methods to study and evaluate higher education.”
Sarah Jane Bristol '17: Why I Chose Education
"I've always been passionate about issues of opportunity and education, and I came to realize that education was the common opportunity for every person," says Sarah Jane Bristol' 17, a mathematics education major and Goodnight Scholar who placed second in our student video contest for our Why I Chose Education campaign.
Sam Wheeler ‘17 PHD: Going the Extra Mile
“I wanted to be more of a leader in science education,” says Sam Wheeler '17 PHD, a physical teacher at the North Carolina of Science and Mathematics and former president of the North Carolina Science Teachers Association who completed his Ph.D. degree over eight-and-a-half years. “This degree will help me move STEM education in the direction I think it needs to be moving in.”
Watch the Ceremony
Relive the NC State College of Education's 2017 December Graduation ceremony through this video
or download your own copy
A Look Back at May 2017
The NC State College of Education's December 2017 graduates join 330 other new alumni who graduated in May 2017. In total, 493 earned their undergraduate or graduate degrees from the NC State College of Education in 2017. "There is no profession that gives you greater possibilities to bring hope and impact the lives of so many," NC State Education Dean Mary Ann Danowitz told the December graduates.