New teachers bring ‘mission’ approach to their classrooms

JON C. LAKEY / SALISBURY POST The annual new teacher breakfast was held Thursday morning at the Hurley YMCA.  All of the new teachers received a small plant for their classrooms. Kelly Arvan (left) is a new 4th grade teacher at Overton Elementary School and Regina Sapp (right) will teach kindergarten at Knollwood Elementary. Human Resource officer for the schools, Mary Houston (center) greets the pair at the breakfast.
JON C. LAKEY / SALISBURY POST The annual new teacher breakfast was held Thursday morning at the Hurley YMCA. All of the new teachers received a small plant for their classrooms. Kelly Arvan (left) is a new 4th grade teacher at Overton Elementary School and Regina Sapp (right) will teach kindergarten at Knollwood Elementary. Human Resource officer for the schools, Mary Houston (center) greets the pair at the breakfast.

SALISBURY — If you want to identify a new teacher, just look for the potted plant.

New teachers

Here is a roster of beginning teachers and the schools where they will be located in Rowan-Salisbury Schools.

These are teachers that have just completed college and/or those who are making a career change into teaching (seven are lateral entry) and are part of the Beginning Teachers’ Program.

Right now, there are 50 teachers falling into this category. “This does not include all new teachers coming to RSS this year,” Public Information Officer Rita Foil said. “That number is a moving target at this point.”

Loranda D. Lambeth, North Rowan Middle, grade 7 math/social studies.

Katie L. DeAngelo, West Rowan Middle, grade 7 science.

Daphne S. Atwood, West Rowan Middle, CTC business education, grades 6-8.

Victoria Sawyer, West Rowan High, agriculture.

Raye G. Brothers, West Rowan Middle, grades 6-8 CTE Tech Ed.

Carol R. Ottinger, North Rowan High, music.

Kathryn M. Cecconi, East Rowan High, exceptional children.

Amanda J. Blackwood, Hanford Dole Elementary, kindgergarten.

Catherine Falkenbury, Salisbury High, social studies.

Kelly Arvan, Overton Elementary, grade 4.

Whitney Leigh E. Corriher, Overton Elementary, grade 5.

Mitchell P. Owens, Carson High, social studies.

Kristen L. Smith, Isenberg Elementary, grade 1.

Francheska Rodriguez, Knollwood Elementary, English as a second language, K-12.

Kimmon A. Miller, Knollwood Elementary, grade 1.

Hannah P. Clark, Bostian Elementary, grade 1.

Ashton T. Walker, Landis Elementary, grade 3.

Leslie P. Stirewalt, Knollwood Elementary, grade 3.

Whitney G. Parchment, Mount Ulla Elementary, grade 1.

Angela F. Galloway, Mount Ulla Elementary, grade 3.

Kristen M. Parry, Landis Elementary, grade 3.

Torey E. Hammond, Hanford Dole Elementary, grades 3-5.

Bradley A. Mulkey, Southeast Middle, grade 8 science.

Daniel V. McCallum, Carson High, furniture/cabinet-making.

BriAnna S. Atkins, Henderson High, family and consumer services.

Jorge Castro, North Rowan High, Spanish.

Yvette I. Shelton, North Rowan High, science.

Asiah M. Simmons, Isenberg Elementary, kindergarten.

Chelsea N. Lannon, Koontz Elementary, art.

Melinda K. Ogg, Knox Middle, language arts.

Amanda L. Phelps, Overton Elementary, grade 3.

Julia K. Kraft, Granite Quarry Elementary, grade 2.

Stephanie E. Kluttz, Granite Quarry Elementary, grade 1.

John C. Eckert IV, West Rowan High, English as a second language.

Beth E. Poydock, Knollwood Elementary, English as a second language.

Regina Sapp, Knollwood Elementary, kindergarten.

Linda M. Heiland, Koontz Elementary, exceptional children resource.

Kerrie E. Smith, Koontz Elementary, grade 2.

Lauren C. Ferguson, Koontz Elementary, grade 1.

Whitley Helms, China Grove Elementary, grade 2.

Allison Miller, Koontz Elementary.

Joshua Hatley, Carson High, CTE.

Lyndsay Tomlinson, Isenberg Elementary, K-5.

Juliann G. Miller, Salisbury High, resource.

Laura Mills, North Rowan Elementary, grade 5.

Carrie Bartlett, Knox Middle.

Lisa Myers, West Rown Middle, media.

Jennifer W. Hinson, Mount Ulla Elementary, grade 2.

Eleather M. Weston, Hurley Elementary, grade 2.

Molly Trexler, Woodleaf Elementary, music.


But you’ll also notice a mix of anxiousness and can’t-wait-to-get-started enthusiasm with the 50 new teachers in Rowan-Salisbury Schools this year.


The new teachers wound up a week of training and orientation Thursday morning with a breakfast sponsored by the Rowan County Chamber of Commerce. They walked away from the Hurley Family YMCA with VIP gift bags from businesses and individual plants for their classrooms donated by Garden Greenhouses and Godley’s Garden Center.

School starts Aug. 26, and the new teachers face hectic days filled with setting up their rooms, meeting parents at open houses and getting to know their fellow faculty members.

They’ll also be finding a spot for their plants.

Regina Sapp and Kelly Arvan, recent graduates of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, said starting out in a new room will be much different from their stints as student teachers, when the classroom and its lead person were already well-established.

Their first days in the classroom and communications with parents will almost be like family meetings, they said.

Sapp, who will be teaching kindergarten at Knollwood Elementary, said it will be important to get to know her students personally and find out some of their interests.

Arvan, a fourth-grade teacher at Overton Elementary, said she’ll hope to take a couple of minutes with each student individually.

But both women stressed how much teaching as a profession and career means to them.

“It’s my mission,” Sapp said.

Teacher of the Year

Rowan-Salisbury Schools Teacher of the Year Alex Reynolds, a theater arts instructor at Carson High School, offered several words of advice Thursday morning to his new comrades.

He advised them never to walk into their first day of classes with a negative impression about some students, based on what other teachers have told them.

When other teachers look at their classroom rosters and star the problem students, let those symbols be motivation for them to work hard for those kids, Reynolds said.

The new teachers must realize they will fail sometimes, Reynolds added, but being able to recognize that and rebound from it will help them succeed.

More than curriculum

The days also will come, Reynolds said, when the teachers will have to dress a kid down, saying this is not what happens in class or his or her behavior is completely out of line.

Those kids may have to be banished to the hall, for example, but teachers cannot forget that kid once he is exiled, Reynolds said.

Before the class is over, he said, a teacher has to go outside to the student, take a breath and explain why he or she was not pleased with the behavior.

You also have to make it clear you care about this student, believe in him or her and reach out in this moment of weakness to show they are not alone, Reynolds said, adding the lesson must end on a positive note.

“Good teachers teach curriculum,” Reynolds said. “Great teachers change lives. ... I love every second of every day. I’m so proud to welcome you to this incredible county.”

Business support

Dr. Alan King, a former Rowan-Salisbury Schools teacher and administrator and one of the owners of Creative Teaching Aids, praised Superintendent Judy Grissom for doing the best job possible in keeping job cuts here comparatively low, despite challenging budget conditions.

King urged the teachers to keep their focus on the students, no matter what’s happening in Raleigh. He said businesses here are depending on them to make Rowan County a better place to live.

“Understand how important your jobs are,” he said.

Elaine Spalding, president of the Chamber of Commerce, said local business knows the importance of education to the community. The Chamber sponsors the new teacher breakfast and Teacher of the Year gatherings annually.

Several school board members and other local officials were on hand for Thursday’s breakfast. But the stars of the show were the new teachers.

Ready or not

Juliann Miller and Catherine Falkenbury, new teachers at Salisbury High School, said they will try to be ready for their first days in class, but they acknowledged some of the normal uneasiness.

“Being ready is the part that concerns us, too,” said Miller, “because as new teachers we don’t know what being ready is. You think you can plan for everything, then something will happen you didn’t plan for.”

Falkenbury, a social studies teacher, said two great history instructors provided the inspiration for her to become a teacher, as did her mother, a teacher herself.

Through her mother, she saw both the pitfalls and great moments that come with teaching, Falkenbury said.

But overall, she added, teachers confront many chances to have an impact on their students — to put them on the right path or change their lives completely.

Students first

Hannah Clark said teaching — in particular, teaching in Rowan County — is in her blood. “I knew since I was little,” she said. “... And I went with it.”

Clark’s mother, Jayne Petrea, recently retired after a career as a teacher. Clark also has aunts and cousins who have been teachers in Rowan County, from elementary to high schools.

Clark has a leg up on some of the other new teachers. From December through the end of the last school year, she taught second grade at Woodleaf Elementary.

This year, she will be a first-grade teacher at Bostian Elementary, where she also was a student teacher while attending UNC-Charlotte.

Clark approaches teaching with one thing in mind — and it always keeps things in a positive perspective for her. She puts the students first. If teachers get caught up in the paperwork and all the politics about education swirling around them, it can be burdensome, she said.

But she can’t say enough about promoting teaching as a profession.

“There’s always a need for great teachers,” she said, “and that will never go away.”

New teachers

Here is a roster of beginning teachers and the schools where they will be located in Rowan-Salisbury Schools.

These are teachers that have just completed college and/or those who are making a career change into teaching (seven are lateral entry) and are part of the Beginning Teachers’ Program.

Right now, there are 50 teachers falling into this category. “This does not include all new teachers coming to RSS this year,” Public Information Officer Rita Foil said. “That number is a moving target at this point.”

Loranda D. Lambeth, North Rowan Middle, grade 7 math/social studies.

Katie L. DeAngelo, West Rowan Middle, grade 7 science.

Daphne S. Atwood, West Rowan Middle, CTC business education, grades 6-8.

Victoria Sawyer, West Rowan High, agriculture.

Raye G. Brothers, West Rowan Middle, grades 6-8 CTE Tech Ed.

Carol R. Ottinger, North Rowan High, music.

Kathryn M. Cecconi, East Rowan High, exceptional children.

Amanda J. Blackwood, Hanford Dole Elementary, kindgergarten.

Catherine Falkenbury, Salisbury High, social studies.

Kelly Arvan, Overton Elementary, grade 4.

Whitney Leigh E. Corriher, Overton Elementary, grade 5.

Mitchell P. Owens, Carson High, social studies.

Kristen L. Smith, Isenberg Elementary, grade 1.

Francheska Rodriguez, Knollwood Elementary, English as a second language, K-12.

Kimmon A. Miller, Knollwood Elementary, grade 1.

Hannah P. Clark, Bostian Elementary, grade 1.

Ashton T. Walker, Landis Elementary, grade 3.

Leslie P. Stirewalt, Knollwood Elementary, grade 3.

Whitney G. Parchment, Mount Ulla Elementary, grade 1.

Angela F. Galloway, Mount Ulla Elementary, grade 3.

Kristen M. Parry, Landis Elementary, grade 3.

Torey E. Hammond, Hanford Dole Elementary, grades 3-5.

Bradley A. Mulkey, Southeast Middle, grade 8 science.

Daniel V. McCallum, Carson High, furniture/cabinet-making.

BriAnna S. Atkins, Henderson High, family and consumer services.

Jorge Castro, North Rowan High, Spanish.

Yvette I. Shelton, North Rowan High, science.

Asiah M. Simmons, Isenberg Elementary, kindergarten.

Chelsea N. Lannon, Koontz Elementary, art.

Melinda K. Ogg, Knox Middle, language arts.

Amanda L. Phelps, Overton Elementary, grade 3.

Julia K. Kraft, Granite Quarry Elementary, grade 2.

Stephanie E. Kluttz, Granite Quarry Elementary, grade 1.

John C. Eckert IV, West Rowan High, English as a second language.

Beth E. Poydock, Knollwood Elementary, English as a second language.

Regina Sapp, Knollwood Elementary, kindergarten.

Linda M. Heiland, Koontz Elementary, exceptional children resource.

Kerrie E. Smith, Koontz Elementary, grade 2.

Lauren C. Ferguson, Koontz Elementary, grade 1.

Whitley Helms, China Grove Elementary, grade 2.

Allison Miller, Koontz Elementary.

Joshua Hatley, Carson High, CTE.

Lyndsay Tomlinson, Isenberg Elementary, K-5.

Juliann G. Miller, Salisbury High, resource.

Laura Mills, North Rowan Elementary, grade 5.

Carrie Bartlett, Knox Middle.

Lisa Myers, West Rown Middle, media.

Jennifer W. Hinson, Mount Ulla Elementary, grade 2.

Eleather M. Weston, Hurley Elementary, grade 2.

Molly Trexler, Woodleaf Elementary, music.

Contact Mark Wineka at 704-797-4263.

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