HCSF Faculty Grants Open

Applications are now open for 2018 Haywood County Schools Foundation faculty grants.

This year, grants are sponsored by Duke Energy, Evergreen Packaging, First Citizens Banks, QuickDraw, the Arc of Haywood County, and the Haywood County Schools Foundation. The grants fund resources for teachers and staff to enrich the learning experience for students.

Applications must be submitted electronically at www.hcsf.haywood.k12.nc.us before October 1, 2018. Teachers applying for multiple grants must submit an application for each grant. Applications for the Arc of Haywood County grants have already been emailed to exceptional children (EC) teachers.

Winners will be selected after committees representing each grant review applications. Teachers who won grants will be invited to a Grant Recipient Reception at Tuscola High School on November 13.

Each grant sponsor has different requirements and focuses of study. The QuickDraw art grant provides funds for art teachers to purchase materials for art education projects. The First Citizens Bank grant provides funding to schools and teachers for reading initiatives. The Evergreen Packaging grant focuses on projects that promote math and science. The Duke Energy grant is for projects in the areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Professional growth and development are the focus of the Haywood County Schools Foundation grant and is available to teachers, faculty, and staff. Funding for the professional development grants is raised through Haywood County Schools Foundation fundraisers like the Mardi Gras Ball and bingo. The Arc of Haywood County provides grants to Haywood County Schools’ EC teachers.

Last year, the Haywood County Schools Foundation gave 160 grants to teachers totaling $38,877.

For more information, contact Haywood County Schools Foundation Executive Director Jenny Wood Valliere at jwood@haywood.k12.nc.us or call 828-456-2400.

Excellence in Education May Winners

The Haywood County Schools Foundation recognized Bethel Elementary School teacher Meredith Allen and Bethel Middle School teacher Ron Hundley with Excellence in Education awards for the month of May.

The Excellence in Education program recognizes teachers from Haywood County Schools who exemplify a commitment to innovative teaching practices and show dedication to student success. The program is sponsored by Jack Bishop of Edward Jones and the Haywood County Schools Foundation.

“Our teachers in Haywood County changes students’ lives for the better every day,” Bishop said. “This gift is just a small thank you from our office for everything they do for our children.”

Each month, teachers from the 15 Haywood County Schools are recognized with an Excellence in Education award. Award winners are presented with a certificate and a $100 check sponsored by Bishop.

“Teachers are some of the most influential role models that our students have,” Haywood County Schools Foundation Executive Director Jenny Wood Valliere said. “Ms. Allen and Mr. Hundley, like so many of our teachers, truly care about the wellbeing of their students.”

Third grade teacher Meredith Allen is currently finishing up her fifth year of teaching at Bethel Elementary School. At any given time, Allen is teaching her third graders about everything from current events to how to write reports to multiplication.

Allen said her main goal as a teacher is to design learning tasks that encourage students to develop independence and responsibility.

“I try to lead them through the process of learning but put a lot of emphasis on working in small groups to foster that sense of independence and responsibility,” Allen explained. “When they are collaborating with their classmates, they are building off what they already know.”

Like many teachers, Allen says she cannot imagine doing anything else.

“Elementary school is such an exciting time because kids are learning so much so fast,” Allen said. “I love seeing things click for kids, especially when they have struggled with something and then their hard work and perseverance pays off and they get it.”

For the past 21 years, Ron Hundley has been teaching Haywood County Schools’ middle school students. He taught at Waynesville Middle School for 15 years and has been teaching at Bethel Middle School for the past six years.

Hundley currently teaches eighth grade math. His lesson plans cover linear functions and the Pythagorean Theory, but Hundley says he teaches much more than that.

“My students learn not to be intimidated by math, and that it’s ok to get frustrated by it sometimes as long as you make up your mind to persevere,” Hundley said. “Besides math, they learn to value other’s insight into solving problems, and just because we did a problem in different ways, that doesn’t mean that one of us is wrong.”

When Hundley is not in the classroom, he is most likely in the gym or on the field coaching sports. He coached soccer at Waynesville Middle for 13 years and has been a basketball coach at Bethel Middle for four years.

While many might think spending that much time with middle school students would be difficult, Hundley said that he enjoys the interactions he has with his eighth graders.

“I get to laugh many times a day, but I also really like getting to be a part of teenagers discovering that they can figure stuff out on their own,” Hundley explained. “In class, we celebrate the thought process as much as right answers, because learning to think and reason will serve them well in their future – both in school and life in general.”

Waynesville Gallery Association Donates Art Supplies

The Waynesville Gallery Association recently collected art supplies for Haywood County Schools’ art teachers as part of its Winter Arts Smokies Style festivities.

The entire event was organized by the Waynesville Gallery Association, which supports the rich cultural heritage of Western North Carolina by creating opportunities for artists to interact with the public.

Artists and community members donated everything from crayons to oil paints to yarn for the supply drive during the month of March.

“Everyone learns on different levels,” Janet Metzger, owner of Moose Crossing Burl Wood Gallery, said. “Art is a way to expand productivity and increase creativity in our children.”

Members of the Waynesville Gallery Association include Cedar Hill Studio, Art by Mollie, Mountain Favors, Twigs and Leaves Gallery, Moose Crossing Burl Wood Gallery, the Haywood County Arts Council, Earthworks Gallery, the Jeweler’s Work Bench, T. Pennington Art Gallery, and Village Framer. The art supply drive also received support from other shops on Main Street, Goblin Lane Gifts, and Joe Rich Kelly.

Haywood County Schools Foundation Awards 131 Scholarships

The Haywood County Schools Foundation surprised 99 Pisgah, Tuscola, Haywood Early College, and Central Haywood high school students with 131 scholarships totaling $217,900 on May 4. Scholarship amounts ranged from $300 to $40,000.

Unsuspecting students from each school were called to the library where they were greeted by Haywood County Schools Foundation Executive Director Jenny Wood Valliere.

“We are so proud of each one of you in here, and we can’t wait to see and hear about your success in college,” Valliere said with a smile. “The fact that you were chosen to receive one of these scholarships based on your application is a really big deal, and you should be proud of yourselves.”

Kendall Myers, a senior at Tuscola High School, received the largest scholarship offered by the Haywood County Schools Foundation, the James and Betty Scott Memorial Scholarship.

The Scott scholarship is up to a $10,000 annual award and is renewable for four years; totaling $40,000. The scholarship is open to Tuscola seniors who have a high degree of need coupled with a serious commitment to achieve a college education.

“Receiving this scholarship definitely takes the burden of paying for college off of my parents and myself,” Myers said. “I just want to thank the scholarship committee for awarding me this scholarship because now I can attend college with a little less stress and be able to focus on my studies.”

Myers will attend Western Carolina University to major in nursing. She hopes to work as a registered nurse for a few years before going back to college to become a nurse practitioner.

All scholarship recipients will be recognized at a Partners in Education ceremony on May 21 at Tuscola High School.

The Haywood County Schools Foundation was established in 1983 and is the longest running educational foundation in North Carolina.

Currently, the Foundation manages more than 60 scholarships that have been established by businesses and individuals in the community. Scholarships may be endowed or funded annually. Criteria for awarding the scholarship are designed by the donors and the Foundation Board of Directors. Endowed scholarships are generated through the investment of permanently-held principals, so that only the income from the principal is used for scholarship awards.

For more information about donating to a scholarship fund or setting up a scholarship through the Haywood County Schools Foundation, contact Executive Director Jenny Wood Valliere at 828-456-2400 or visit www.hcsf.haywood.k12.nc.us.

Pisgah Receives $10,000 Gene Haas Donation

For the third year in a row, Pisgah High School’s machining program received a $10,000 grant from the Gene Haas Foundation.

The grant will be used to provide scholarships to Pisgah seniors who plan to major in a manufacturing or engineering related field in college. Students are eligible to receive up to a $2,000 scholarship.

“Haas really supports education, and we’ve received tremendous support from them in the form of equipment discounts, technical support, and monetary donations,” Pisgah machining teacher Chip Singleton explained. “Machining is such a great career field for our students. It has a wide range of appeal because they can go to work right out of high school or go on to college and get a two- or four-year degree.”

The Gene Haas Foundation was established in 1999 by Gene Haas, the owner of Haas Automation, Inc. Haas Automation is a billion-dollar company and is America’s leading builder of CNC machine tools. The Foundation is focused on giving scholarships to students who are pursuing CNC machinist training.

Kip Asmuth, a sales engineer with Phillips, presented Singleton with the $10,000 check. Phillips is the Southeast’s sole distributer of Haas equipment.

“I’ve worked with Chip for years, and he’s developed a really innovative machining program here at Pisgah,” Asmuth said. “Chip’s program opens up many doors for students to become a part of the fast-growing, high-tech machining field.”

Lance Shallenberger, a senior in Singleton’s machining level III class, filled out a scholarship application and is hoping to benefit from the Haas Foundation donation. He will be attending Western Carolina University this fall to major in engineering technology.

“I’ve learned how to operate manual machines all the way up to creating CNC codes and running it on the large machines,” Shallenberger said. “I like being able to see what I’m designing on the computer and then making a finished product on the machine.”

Shallenberger, an avid outdoorsman, hopes to one day work for a mountain bike company as an engineer.

The training that students, like Shallenberger, receive in Pisgah’s machining program is meant to set themselves, as well as companies and the local economy, up for success.

According to a recent report from the Manufacturing Institute, the skills gap in the U.S. manufacturing industry is expected to result in two million jobs going unfilled over the next decade.

Factors contributing to the shortage of skilled workforce include baby boomer retirements, economic expansion, loss of embedded knowledge due to movement of experienced workers, a negative image of the manufacturing industry among younger generations, lack of STEM skills among workers, and a gradual decline of technical education programs in public high schools.

At Pisgah’s career fair in March, many manufacturing companies in the surrounding areas reported that they had the difficult task of hiring highly-skilled workers to build in-demand products.

“Our machining program is working to build a pipeline of qualified and dedicated young workers who are excited about manufacturing and eager to launch a successful career,” Singleton said.

Excellence in Education April Winners

The Haywood County Schools Foundation recognized Clyde Elementary School media specialist Megean Wantz and Tuscola High School teacher Dawn Williams Tox with Excellence in Education awards for the month of April.

The Excellence in Education program recognizes teachers from Haywood County Schools who exemplify a commitment to innovative teaching practices and show dedication to student success. The program is sponsored by Jack Bishop of Edward Jones and the Haywood County Schools Foundation.

“Teachers are such an important part of the Haywood County community,” Bishop said. “This gift is just a small thank you from our office for preparing our children for success.”

Each month, teachers from the 15 Haywood County Schools are recognized with an Excellence in Education award. Award winners are presented with a certificate and a $100 check sponsored by Bishop.

“Teachers do so much in today’s world. They are listening, coaching, and mentoring the future generation,” Haywood County Schools Foundation Executive Director Jenny Wood Valliere said. “Ms. Wantz and Ms. Williams Tox, like so many of our teachers, are bringing out the best in each of their students.”

Megean Wantz began her educational career seven years ago as a classroom teacher. While her husband was serving in the U.S. Marine Corps, Wantz worked in Onslow County, N.C. as a first and third grade teacher before switching to the library as a media specialist. Since moving to Haywood County three years ago, she has been the media specialist at Clyde Elementary School.

Wantz said her media center is not set up like libraries on television shows or in movies. There are no quiet signs, and there is no librarian shushing kids.

“Libraries should be loud and active because students are collaborating with each other,” Wantz explained. “I have tried to create an environment where students are encouraged to work together, explore new technologies and information, and solve real-world problems.”

Wantz works with teachers in each grade level to reinforce their curriculum with library projects. She is also responsible for teaching students library skills, about new technology, and how to conduct research.

Like so many in education, Wantz said she loves her job because of the students.

“I love having deep meaningful conversations with the kids and watching them grow,” Wantz said. “Every day is different, and I’m always excited to see what each day will hold.”

Dawn Williams Tox brings a global perspective to her Spanish classes at Tuscola High School. Prior to teaching at Tuscola, Williams Tox taught middle and high school in Guatemala and English as a Second Language (ESL) at Haywood Community College and with Haywood County Schools.

In both her Spanish 2 and Spanish 5 classes, she weaves in lessons on culture, food, social norms, and current events, along with typical vocabulary and conversation instruction.

“My classroom is all about collaboration because to learn new languages, we need other people,” Williams Tox explained. “Like pretty much anything in life worth doing, my students have to listen, talk, make a ton of mistakes, try new things, and support each other.”

Williams Tox said her ultimate goal as a Spanish teacher is seeing her students develop usable language skills. By the end of Spanish 5, students should be able to hypothetically visit any Spanish-speaking environment and quickly join a conversation.

“Teenagers are amazing and remind me to laugh every day,” Williams Tox said. “I love listening to their enthusiasm for whatever it is that interests them because that vigor and life is contagious.”

Pisgah Students Look to the Future

Hundreds of high school seniors and dozens of local businesses filled Pisgah High School’s auxiliary gym for the school’s third-annual career day on March 29.

Representatives from across industries including Evergreen, Giles Chemical, Champion Credit Union, Neo Corporation, GE Aviation, and many others answered students’ questions about qualifications, typical work days, and career paths.

“We view the career day as a way to demonstrate to teens that high school is the opportune time to equip themselves to make career or college choices that will provide future financial stability,” Lynn Ray, Haywood County Schools’ career development coordinator, said. “Everyone is going to get a job eventually, whether it’s entry-level or a CEO and everything in between.”

Representatives from Haywood Community College and Western Carolina University were also in attendance to answer questions about fields of study.

“I’m really glad that Western was here today, and I could talk with someone about their nursing program,” Natalia Rodriguez, a senior, said. “I want to be a nurse because I want to help people.”

Haywood Regional Medical Center’s table was also crowded with students interested in working in health care.

“I’m getting my CNA this year through my public health class here at school,” senior Tyson Willis said. “I’d love to start working at the hospital this year as a CNA, and I want to continue my education and end up working in some type of forensic pathology.”

Although many of the employers present at the career fair employ professionals in a variety of departments such as accounting, human resources, and marketing, the majority of businesses were scouting for technical positions.

“Machinists make up about 80 percent of our workforce, and I would say about a third of our machinists at our Marion plant are Pisgah and Tuscola graduates,” Alan Burnette, ABB HR business partner, said. “The schools and people in Haywood County understand the great opportunities that careers like machining offer to young people.”

Haywood County Schools’ Career and Technical Education (CTE) program is working to bridge the gap between students and employers by directly preparing students for high-wage, high-demand careers.

Agriculture, pulp and paper, drafting, welding, masonry, and machining are all a part of the school system’s CTE program. Even within one CTE field, a variety of jobs are available.

At the conclusion of Pisgah’s career day, the school had an apprenticeship signing ceremony for two seniors who recently began working at GE Aviation in Asheville.

Since January 15, Lucas McCracken and Kyler Fouts have been leaving Pisgah each day after second period to go work at GE Aviation as machinist apprentices.

McCracken works in an area making mid seals, which go into the hottest part of a jet’s engine, and Fouts’ department makes the front outer seal that holds the plane’s engine together.

“I’m looking forward to the tradeoff of getting a good, high-paying job real soon,” Fouts said.

Apprenticeships integrate school-based and work-based learning to instruct students in employability and occupational skills, such as machining, needed by local industries. The Pisgah seniors attend classes in the morning to meet high school graduation requirements and then work at their apprenticeship from 12:30 to 6:30 p.m.

Both seniors agree that the hardest part of the apprenticeship for them is making time for family and friends while still going to school and working 30 hours a week.

“It’s been a tough adjustment, but it really is the opportunity of a lifetime to be in high school and already have a career,” McCracken explained.

Since 2005, the machining program at Pisgah has partnered with local businesses to place seniors in apprenticeships. Chip Singleton, Pisgah machining teacher, has worked to increase the rigor of his classroom curriculum and to teach skills needed in today’s precision machining industry.

“At GE Aviation, we make pretty much anything that goes into a plane that spins or rotates,” Sarah Hutcheson, GE Aviation employee HR manager, said. “We are so happy to have such a great relationship with Pisgah, and we continue to partner with them because they are turning out the kind of employees we need.”

Many of the CTE programs, like machining, offer high schoolers a jumpstart on their future by giving them a chance to have a college transcript started and certifications all free of charge. Between Tuscola, Pisgah, and Central Haywood high schools, more than 20 classes are available that offer articulated credit at N.C. community colleges.

At the end of the school year, McCracken and Fouts will begin working full-time at GE Aviation. Both said they plan to take advantage of tuition reimbursement programs at GE by completing coursework to receive their associate degree in Computer-Integrated Machining from Haywood Community College.

March Excellence in Education Winners

The Haywood County Schools Foundation recognized Riverbend Elementary School media specialist Nikki Barker and Jonathan Valley Elementary School Pre-K teacher Elizabeth Reis with Excellence in Education awards for the month of March.

The Excellence in Education program recognizes teachers from Haywood County Schools who exemplify a commitment to innovative teaching practices and show dedication to student success. The program is sponsored by Jack Bishop of Edward Jones and the Haywood County Schools Foundation.

“Teachers contribute so much to our society and the Haywood County community,” Bishop said. “This gift is just a small thank you from our office for preparing our children for success.”

Each month, teachers from the 15 Haywood County Schools are recognized with an Excellence in Education award. Award winners are presented with a certificate and a $100 check sponsored by Bishop.

“Teachers play such an extraordinary role in the lives of our children, and Ms. Barker and Ms. Reis are no exception,” Haywood County Schools Foundation Executive Director Jenny Wood Valliere said. “Their passionate, motivating, and caring attitudes are what make Haywood County Schools stand out as a top performer in the state year after year.”

Nikki Barker has taught at Riverbend Elementary School her entire 15-year teaching career. She taught fifth grade for nine years before becoming the school’s media specialist.

Elementary schools’ media centers are more than just libraries. As a media specialist, Barker teaches everything from math to social studies to the school’s entire student body. She often collaboratively plans lessons and projects with teachers that reinforce or teach a key concept that the class is studying.

“I love getting to see that spark in students’ eyes when they understand or comprehend something that they might have been struggling with,” Barker explained. “I feel children learn best when they can experiment and apply their knowledge to see if it works and then try again if it doesn’t.”

Barker is also responsible for teaching media and technology standards, digital citizenship, and best practices to stay safe online.

Not surprisingly, Barker said that her passion for teaching children to love reading is what first drew her to the media specialist position.

“I have really enjoyed introducing different topics, like STEM or cultures from around the world, to my students through literature,” Barker said. “I try to be a facilitator and allow the kids to be hands-on learners who enjoy discovering new information through books.”

Before joining Jonathan Valley Elementary School four years ago, Elizabeth Reis was student teaching in New York City where she spent two years in diverse settings in Harlem, the Upper West Side, and the Lower East Side while attending graduate school.

“What I love most about teaching is fostering a classroom community where we become a family that learns together,” Reis said. “I feel joy watching each child grow and reveal themselves at their own pace.”

As a Pre-K teacher, Reis said her main goal is to prepare her four- and five-year-old students to be successful in school and life. Reis spends her days teaching the alphabet, phonics, counting, and number recognition, as well as social and emotional awareness.

“My classroom is a place where students can feel comfortable making mistakes and being themselves; where they work hard to communicate with new people who may have different ideas and styles than they do,” Reis explained. “When you have kids who are excited to be in the classroom community, then they feel ready and committed to do so much more for you, for themselves, and for other people.”

Meadowbrook Receives Money and Books in Memory of Late Principal

Almost five years after her unexpected death, Anna Williams’ presence flooded the Meadowbrook Elementary School media center on Friday, March 2.

Williams was the principal of Meadowbrook when she passed away on October 30, 2013 – just four days after giving birth to her second child, Emily Claire.

Meadowbrook celebrated Williams’ legacy with Anna’s Birthday Book Bash, an event first thought of by Williams’ son John Marshall and his step mother Dana Smith. Students, school staff, and community members donated more than 400 books and $500 in donations at the event to fill classroom libraries at Meadowbrook.

At the book bash, those who knew Williams happily shared memories, laughs, and some tears.

“Anna always loved reading,” Brain Smith, Williams’ husband, said with a smile. “Someone actually told me the other day that Anna would purchase books for each of the classrooms here every month out of her own pocket. That was just the kind of person she was.”

Williams’ father, Joe Williams, recalled that she would read five books each night to her son before tucking him in bed.

“John Marshall is a wonderful reader, and Emily Claire has developed Anna’s love for reading too,” Joe said. “We are grateful that children from Meadowbrook will benefit from this book drive.”

Williams grew up in Haywood County and first worked as a teacher and assistant principal in Wake County. After moving back to her hometown, Williams served as an assistant principal at Jonathan Valley, Clyde Elementary and Waynesville Middle School before serving as the principal at Meadowbrook Elementary beginning in 2011.

Former Clyde Elementary School Principal Jeff Haney hired Williams as the school’s assistant principal in 2008.

“I just remember when I interviewed her that there was something really special about her and all the passion that she showed for children,” Haney said. “She was one of the most special people I have ever had the privilege to work with.”

Smith said he is hoping to make Anna’s Birthday Book Bash an annual event for Meadowbrook but would like to eventually collect enough books to distribute to other elementary schools.

“We would also love to start a scholarship in her memory,” Smith explained. “Some of the kids that Anna was with at Meadowbrook are now in high school, so we thought a scholarship would be a great way to continue honoring her life.”

For more information about donating to a scholarship fund in memory of Williams or donating money to Anna’s Birthday Book Bash, contact Haywood County Schools Foundation Executive Director Jenny Wood Valliere at 828-456-2400 or visit www.hcsf.haywood.k12.nc.us.

2018 Governor’s School Participants

Two Haywood County rising high school seniors will attend the Governor’s School of North Carolina this summer. Gracelyn Woods from Pisgah High School and Joza Ballance from Tuscola High School were selected for the highly-coveted and competitive summer academic program.

The Governor’s School of North Carolina is a summer residential program for intellectually gifted high school students that integrates academic disciplines, the arts and unique coursework. The curriculum focuses on the exploration of the most recent ideas and concepts in English, French, Spanish, mathematics, natural science, social science, art, choral music, instrumental music, theater and dance.

Students were selected to apply for Governor’s School in one of the above disciplines based on their grades. The application, which students submitted last fall, included two essays and two letters of recommendation.

To be eligible, students must be N.C. residents, enrolled in 11th grade, have achievement test scores between the 92 and 99 percentile ranges, and supply their class rank and transcripts.

Once Haywood County submitted their applications to the state, a selection committee with specialists in each academic discipline reviewed and scored each student application. Haywood County’s students were notified of their acceptance in March.

Woods and Ballance were both selected for English. Woods will attend Governor’s School West at Salem College in Winston-Salem and Ballance will attend Governor’s School East at Meredith College in Raleigh.

“English is my love and passion,” Woods said with a smile. “I love my AP English class because it makes me question people, politics, and other current events while helping me develop my own opinion.”

The English curriculum focuses on modern and post-modern fiction, poetry, and drama. During Governor’s School, students will be encouraged to read closely, imaginatively, analytically, and empathetically. Many of the classes will incorporate creative and analytical writing workshops to help students improve their writing.

“I love reading books with quirky characters and analyzing poetry,” Ballance said. “I think the diversity I’ll be immersed in at Governor’s School will help me look at the world from other perspectives.”

During Governor’s School, students complete an intense study of the field they were nominated in and attend classes that encourage group discussion of practical applications of theory. Students have the opportunity to learn from speakers, performances, exhibitions, field trips, demonstrations, seminars and film series. When students are not in class, social and recreational events are offered.

“I’m really hoping Governor’s School will be kind of like a college experience for me,” Woods explained. “It will be nice to be around hundreds of like-minded kids my own age who are excited to learn.”

Woods and Ballance will complete the nearly six-week program from June 17 to July 25 with a three-day midsession break in July.

The cost of the program for the two Haywood County Schools’ students is being paid for by a donation from Dr. Doris Hammett, a local Haywood County Schools supporter and retired pediatrician.

“It’s amazing to me that someone from our community truly wants to help provide these great experiences for kids in Haywood County,” Ballance said.

Woods agreed.

“I probably wouldn’t have been able to attend Governor’s School without Dr. Hammett’s donation,” Woods said.

Governor’s School faculty and staff include teachers and professionals from public and private schools, colleges and universities, and independent artists and scholars.

Governor’s School is the oldest statewide summer residential program for academically and intellectually gifted high school students in the nation. Each year, up to 650 N.C. students are selected to attend Governor’s School.