Feb. 21, 2017
Becky and Brad Walker have helped mold many a teacher – in Southeastern North Carolina and beyond. The Watson College of Education faculty members, a couple in life and professional colleagues at work, never tire of guiding their students on the journey toward a challenging and rewarding career.
“I love working at UNCW,” said Brad, an associate professor in the Department of Early Childhood, Elementary, Middle, Literacy and Special Education. “It’s been a dream job for me. Everyone works hard to make sure our students have the best experience possible.”
Becky Walker ’97M is an instructor often found working with WCE students in the Betty Holden Stike Education Laboratory. The “Ed Lab” supports elementary and middle-grade instruction, special education and graduate courses and enables education majors to hone their teaching skills by working with children.
“The lab is where they start thinking of themselves as teachers,” Becky said. “We see that in their lesson plans, and in how they carry themselves in their interactions with the children.”
Beyond sharing a love of teaching and mentoring teachers, the Walkers also share a life together that spans 43 years and includes five children and 11 grandchildren, with a set of twins on the way.
The Walkers’ story began more than 2,000 miles away in Provo, Utah, when both were students at Brigham Young University. “We met in ED 200,” said Brad, who taught elementary school before completing his doctorate and relocating to UNCW 28 years ago.
He is in the first year of phased retirement, but still teaches half-time and spends many hours working in local elementary schools.
“Literacy is such an important part of our lives,” he said. “It gives me great satisfaction to help young people master that skill, and to see the light in their eyes when they catch onto something.”
Working together has been a blessing, the Walkers say, and they’ve been spotted holding hands as they walk through the Education Building. One of their favorite spots is in North Carolina Teachers Legacy Hall, the large atrium that includes a glimpse of education history as well as recognitions of top teachers and principals in the region. To them, it is a constant reminder of the colleagues they have worked with over the years and that education is a collaborative effort.
“They say you stand on the shoulders of those who’ve gone before you, and that is certainly true in this college,” Becky said.
-- Tricia Vance