Watson Chronicle


Support for Educators in the Field

PDS Hosts Partnership Teacher Celebration

Wednesday, May 05, 2021

During the spring semester, 200 Watson College students successfully completed internships in area schools. On April 29, partnership teachers, site coordinators, student interns and faculty attended a virtual meeting hosted by WCE’s Professional Development System Office to celebrate the college’s collaborative work with partnership schools, teachers and interns.

Watson College Dean Dempsey and Associate Dean Bill Sterrett joined WCE’s PDS Director Somer Lewis in expressing appreciation to WCE’s school partners and offering congratulations to Watson’s 2021 teacher education graduates.

Principal Baruti Kafele, a nationally recognized school leadership expert, was the featured speaker at the event.

“I love attending events like this because it takes me back to my own years as a beginning teacher in Brooklyn, New York in the late 1980’s and reminds me of why I chose to become a teacher,” he said. “What drove me was not teaching English or math, it was being in a position to influence the lives of young men, specifically young black men facing significant challenges in life.”

Kafele referred to teaching as a professional practice; a word more frequently applied to the fields of medicine or law. He challenged Watson’s future teachers to continually enhance their practice as an educator, remember their “why,” and bring an attitude of success to the classroom every day.

“Ask yourselves, are your students at an advantage because you are their teacher? Your answer, deep down, must always be an emphatic yes,” he said.

Jennifer LaFleur Receives 2021 Roy E. Harkin Award

Jennifer LaFleur, PDS Partnership Teacher and Site Coordinator at Cape Fear Center for Inquiry, was recognized as the spring 2021 Roy E. Harkin Award recipient at the April 29 event.

Kim McCormick, CFCI Interim Director, nominated LaFleur for the award. In her nomination, she stated, “Jennifer is an outstanding example of a teacher leader with demonstrated excellence as the designated person in our school who leads the coordination of the school-community partnership with UNCW. In particular, her commitment to establishing and maintaining a solid partnership and facilitating effective communication and collaboration with our leadership team, our faculty, and our UNCW partners has created the ideal environment for our interns to learn and grow. Jennifer’s guidance and oversight of the internship program at our school has been the key to creating successful experiences for preservice teachers.”

In recognition of her accomplishments, LaFleur received a plaque, a small stipend, and her name will be added to a plaque that is displayed in the Watson College of Education.

The Roy E. Harkin award is designed to recognize a public school teacher who has contributed to the preparation of future teachers by demonstrating excellence as a partnership teacher and/or site coordinator. The award was established in 2008 in memory of Dr. Harkin, who served as chair of the Education Department at UNCW from 1976 to 1979 and as dean of the School of Education until 1991. This award is funded by the family and friends of Dr. Harkin in recognition of his commitment to partnerships with public schools and his appreciation for the contributions of public school educators to the preparation of prospective teachers. Nominations for the award are accepted from WCE’S 12 PDS partnership districts and charter schools.