Watson Chronicle


Support for Educators in the Field

PDS Hosts Professional Learning Day; NC Teacher of the Year is Featured Speaker

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Professional Development System Professional Learning Day

Sixty partnership teachers gathered at the Watson College Oct. 17 to participate in a professional learning day hosted by WCE’s Professional Development System (PDS) Office. The event titled “Innovative, Committed and Inspired: 175 Years of Public Education in NC” featured a keynote address by James E. Ford, North Carolina’s 2014-15 Teacher of the Year, and presentations by WCE faculty and guest speakers.

After welcoming remarks by Watson College Dean Kenneth Teitelbaum and Associate Dean Ann Potts, PDS director Somer Lewis introduced Ford. A world history teacher at Garinger High School in Charlotte, Ford is the 2012-13 Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools Teacher of the Year, 2013-14 Southeast Regional Teacher of the Year and 2014-15 Burroughs Welcome Fund North Carolina Teacher of the Year. His presentation was titled “The Gospel of Education.”

Ford chose the gospel metaphor because teachers should have passion for education, he said.

“Public education now does not look the way it was intended to 175 years ago when it was created in North Carolina,” Ford said. “As teachers, our job is to promote education and advocate for what we do.”

Professional Development System Professional Learning DayFord said he was not a particularly motivated student until he received a wake-up call from a highly respected high school English teacher who told him, “I can see you’re smart. I could teach you so much if you would just listen.”

After graduating from Illinois State with a degree in communication, Ford held jobs as a truancy intervention specialist and director of a Teen Center, helping to keep at-risk kids out of trouble.

“I saw myself in them, and tried to play forward what I needed at their age,” he said.

 It was then Ford realized his passion was to change lives, and his calling was teaching. 

“I couldn’t think of any more important work than helping students understand the life-changing potential of a quality education,” he said.

Ford wants his students to learn to become “consumers of opportunity,” he said.

Ford said he is privileged to serve as North Carolina’s Teacher of the Year, representing the many hard-working teachers who dedicate their lives to the youth. He promised to devote his time to “advocating for the world’s most noble profession.”

Professional Learning Day Presentations

Elizabeth Crawford, assistant professor in WCE’s Department of Early Childhood, Elementary, Middle, Literacy and Special Education (EEMLS) was featured lunch speaker. Crawford’s presentation was titled “Global Education through Adventure Learning: K-12 Interdisciplinary, Solution-Focused Pedagogy.”

During concurrent sessions in the morning and afternoon, WCE faculty and guest speakers teamed with PDS director Somer Lewis to provide presentations on a wide range of topics:

  • Hands-On Tech Smack-Down, Jeff Ertzberger and Salena Rabidoux
  • Lego Robotics in the STEM Classroom, Chris Gordon
  • Creating Safe Schools: It’s All About You, Larry Bonney
  • Bringing Literacy to Life Using Authors and Illustrators of Children’s Literature, Katie Schlichting
  • Gathering Data with Vernier Probeware, Chris Gordon
  • Making the Match: The Right Text for the Right Reader, David Gill
  • Somewhere Over the Rainbow: Teaching & Learning, Surviving & Thriving in Multicultural Schools and Communities, Candace Thompson
  • Guide or Discipline? Developmentally Appropriate Approach to Classroom Management, Jale Aldemir
  • Practicing the Mathematical Practices, Shelby Morge
  • My Journey to Teach Like a Pirate: Increase Student Engagement, Boost Your Creativity and Transform Your Life as an Educator, Michael MacGovern
  • NASA DLN in Your Classroom, interactive videoconferencing event showcasing the NASA Digital Learning Network

Presentations can be viewed on the PDS website at: www.uncw.edu/ed/pds/pld.html

To learn more about James E. Ford and his work as NC Teacher of the Year, visitwww.jameseford.net