Arrrr! Southampton faculty urged to teach like pirates

Published 9:40 am Saturday, September 2, 2017

Passion, immersion, rapport, ask and analyze, transformation and enthusiasm featured in convocation lesson


Alice L. Williams

Southampton County Public Schools held their annual convocation to begin the 2017-18 school year at Southampton High School on Aug. 24. The convocation was presided by Dr. Tonia Taylor, director of Special Education and Student Services, who opened the ceremony welcoming all attendees including School Board Chair Dr. Deborah Goodwyn, Vice Chair James Pope III, and School Board members Dr. Carolyn Modlin, Florence Reynolds, Denise Bunn and William Worsham, along with Board of Supervisors Chairman Dallas Jones and Supervisor Barry Porter.

Girl Scout Troop No. 1707 member Olivia Hatch and Troop No. 5073 members Janay Sweat and Mia Warren served as special ushers.

Boy Scout Troop No. 125 members Jake Fouler, Aiden Hatch, Austin Overstreet and Alex Braid presented the posting of the colors and led the faculty and staff in the Pledge of Allegiance.

Zavier Fain, Southampton High School Band director, sang a beautiful rendition of the “National Anthem.”

Goodwyn addressed the audience recognizing faculty and staff for “all your hard work, all your preparation and all your dedication. Our focus is on student achievement and student success and because of you, we are able to make that possible.”

Jones followed Goodwyn with accolades to the faculty and staff stating that he is “proud to say all our schools are accredited and we have the best teachers in the world and we are grateful to have you here!”

Excitement filled the room as Dr. Gwendolyn P. Shannon, superintendent of schools, welcomed and introduced the keynote speaker for convocation, author and national presenter, Dave Burgess.

“Dave Burgess is the New York Times Best-Selling author of the best-selling book ‘Teach Like a Pirate,’ along with other notable books held in high esteem by educators across the country. Mr. Burgess delivers powerful, inspirational, and innovative books, keynotes, and professional development. He specializes in teaching hard-to-reach, hard-to-motivate students with techniques that incorporate showmanship and creativity”

Burgess’ presentation to the Southampton faculty and staff focused on student learning and methods in which teachers can “hook” students and spark their interest. Through Burgess’ presentation and Shannon’s shared vision for the school year to make it “amazing for kids” following the PIRATE theme: P-passion, I-immersion, R-rapport, A-ask and analyze, T-transformation and E-enthusiasm, the tone was set for an exciting school year for all.

During lunch, faculty and staff were able to interact and share with one another and to speak with Burgess personally.

Convocation then continued with Technology Specialist Bill Hatch recognizing the 2016-17 teachers of the year for each school and the District Teacher of the Year Christie Kizer.

Kizer gave an inspiring talk quoting her favorite educator Anne Sullivan, “My heart is singing for joy this morning! A miracle has happened! The light of understanding has shone upon my little pupil’s mind, and behold, all things are changed!”

Kizer encouraged all teachers to accept the challenges because they will make you a better teacher, have patience and be awesome for your students.

Debra Hicks, director of Accountability and School Improvement, and school principals introduced new faculty and staff to Southampton County Public Schools for the 2017-18 school year.

Convocation ended with and Title I Coordinator Chris Tsitsera and Shannon recognizing school district employees’ years of service with special notice of two teachers from Southampton Middle School, Sitrina Bynum and Dorothy Urquhart. They were awarded their 35-year pins for service to Southampton County students, and a 45-year pin was awarded to school bus driver Eunice Funches.

Shannon closed the program by again wishing everyone a successful upcoming school year by “making school amazing for students and staff.”

ALICE L. WILLIAMS is the Director of Marketing and Human Resources, Southampton County Public Schools.