Apple employee speaks at Power in Partnership breakfast

Published 12:05 am Friday, September 22, 2023

SALISBURY — Every September, the Rowan Chamber of Commerce hosts a “back to school” themed Power in Partnership breakfast for their members to engage in. “We like to lift our Rowan-Salisbury School system and encourage the business community to get involved with our school system,” said Elaine Spalding, president of the Rowan County Chamber of Commerce. “So, really having a wonderful speaker like Dr. Mark Benno from Apple to talk about the global issues and how the business community needs to think differently about how they can help education,” Trinity Oaks normally hosts the chamber’s breakfasts, but they were unable to this month due to ongoing construction at their facility. Coincidentally, to go along with this month’s topic, the meeting on Thursday was held instead at the Wallace Educational Forum. ApSeed Executive Director Julie Morrow started things off by explaining how their “seedlings,” or educational touchpads designed for preschoolers, prepare them for kindergarten. With numerous apps and no wifi required, seedlings are a modern day instrument that lets kids grasp knowledge in an entertaining way.

“We want our children to be successful, we want our children to grow, so when they enter kindergarten, they’re ready to be successful,” Morrow said. “That seedling has been planted and they’re ready to flourish in school.”

Superintendent of Rowan-Salisbury Schools Dr. Kelly Withers also gave an update on the district’s Renewal in Action strategic plan. The five main priorities that the plan consists of is building academic excellence, growing through engaging experiences, reinforcing wellness, investing in talent and supporting organizational foundations.

“We are extremely excited about the work that went into this, but we are more excited to be out of strategic planning and strategically doing what’s in this,” Whithers said.

Dr. Mark Benno is a national education leadership manager from Apple, Inc. According to his personal website, Benno “helps organizations envision and develop effective technology integration programs.” Benno’s presentation centered around “innovation with intention” and what institutions can do to make their employees and members grow in an evolving setting. As technology develops and workplaces change, holding on to core values and creating new ones leads to a cultural transformation. Educating workers means preparing them for a contemporary 21st century reality. Even when day-to-day life is becoming more technological, Benno says when people hold on to a humanistic approach, an unrealized future can be formed.