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National Superintendent of the Year addresses veteran teachers

By Jeanie Groh

jeanie.groh@salisburypost.com

It isn’t every day that a nationally-renowned speaker is in town, but Rowan-Salisbury Schools’ veteran teachers had the opportunity to hear from Dr. Mark Edwards on Thursday evening.  Edwards is the reigning national superintendent of the year.

Edwards spoke as a part of the “Thank You for Your Leadership” event, designed to thank Rowan-Salisbury teachers for their hard work.

Not only were veteran teachers in attendance, but support staff, administrators, teacher leaders, students and even community members and leaders were also invited.

“These are our best and brightest leaders,” said Rowan-Salisbury Superintendent Dr. Lynn Moody.

Moody added that it was especially important for her to recognize the long-time teachers.

Those teachers are the ones who have the content and background knowledge necessary to lead during times of change, she said.

“It made me feel like I still mattered,” said Enochville Elementary teacher Erin Kelly. “A lot of people forget about veteran teachers.”

The event was named after Edwards’ book, in which he talks about the importance of leadership across the board during a digital conversion.

Edwards is superintendent of the Mooresville Graded School District, located less than an hour southwest of Rowan County. The school system gained international attention from its highly successful implementation of the one-to-one digital conversion.

“It’s essential if we want to prepare them [students] for their future, not our past,” Edwards said.

He added that technology gives students the information and personalization they need to be able to take charge of their own education.

Although technology is important, Mooresville’s key to success has been its teachers.

“Any success we’ve had has had nothing to do with a laptop,” Edwards said. “One of the most important attributes we bring is love.”

A healthy school culture is of absolute importance.

Edwards told the teachers they must be “all in,” and seek the best for every child every day.

“I liked the ‘all in’ statement. It has to be a team effort,” said Enochville teacher Jeanne Zentmeyer. “That’s the culture I feel at Enochville.”

Edwards said he believes that Rowan-Salisbury is headed in the right direction with its new one-to-one digital conversion.

“All the ingredients are there,” he said. “There are so many outstanding leaders.”

He warned that change takes time, that they should “stick with it,” and that the process requires community support.

“I truly believe Rowan-Salisbury is a sister district to us,” Edwards said.

“I’m a big fan of Dr. Moody,” he said, adding that he’s “impressed with her courageous leadership.”

Edwards called Rowan-Salisbury a “rising star” in the state and nation.

“Rowan-Salisbury absolutely can be one of the best, but it starts with you,” Edwards told the teachers.

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