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Theresa Pierce receives Kirk Scholarship

SALISBURY — Phil Kirk, a native of Salisbury, recently awarded the Phillip J. Kirk Jr. Endowed Scholarship to Theresa Pierce, Rowan-Salisbury Teacher of the Year, at a meeting of the Rowan-Salisbury Board of Education.

The scholarship funds a week at the North Carolina Center for the Advancement of Teaching in Cullowhee and Ocracoke. Pierce also received $250 as part of the scholarship for classroom projects.

Kirk, a former teacher at Knox Middle School and Salisbury High School, said Pierce has received the scholarship twice in the 11 years he has presented it.

“That is unheard of, and we commend her for this tremendous accomplishment,” he said.  “There are many adjectives which could be used to describe her — passionate, positive, energetic, intelligent, in addition to being a superb communicator.”

Speaking to the Board of Education, Kirk praised faculty and staff for bringing new thinking and innovation to local schools.

“I hear great things across the state about you, and it makes me proud to be able to say that I am a graduate of East Rowan High, as well as a former teacher at Knox and Salisbury High,” he said.

The Catawba College graduate commended the “bottom-up process rather than top-down, which so often occurs in education.”

Kirk had words of advice for the audience.

“Keep communicating, be patient and continue to ask the hard questions. Accountability is a challenge in a new system which you are developing. Also please remember that all children can learn. All children are different and it takes more time and more resources and more patience, but all can learn.”

Kirk closed by saying, “Remember that no matter what you do, you can’t please everybody.”

Kirk also visited the Early College at Rowan-Cabarrus Community College and viewed aspects of the program with Pierce.

“I enjoyed talking and listening to the students, all of whom are so excited about the Early College experience.”

This marks the 11th consecutive year that Kirk has provided the scholarship to a Rowan-Salisbury teacher. In addition to Pierce, previous recipients include former Teachers of the Year Joy Whidden, Julie Stolze, Theresa Pierce, Sakinah Riley, Alex Reynolds, Cassie Thompson, Nancy Goodnight, Anthony Johnson, Abby Covington, and Zach Overcash.

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