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Four from NC State teaching program sign on

Four tops scholars and future teachers from N.C. State University’s College of Education will begin their careers in the classrooms of Lenoir County after being recruited to LCPS through the university’s TIP teacher development program.

TIP recruits Perry Currin, Jessica Montgomery, Mackenzie Hunt and Angelique Marrero TIP Teaching Scholars Mackenzie Hunt, Perry Currin, Jessica Montgomery and Angelique Marrero will intern in the school district in the spring of 2020 and begin teaching that fall. This is the second class of TIP recruits to commit to LCPS since the district helped NCSU launch the partnership in 2017.

The TIP Teaching Scholars Award Program established by The Innovation Project (TIP) aims to create a pipeline of teachers for rural and semi-rural areas in North Carolina. By identifying College of Education students with the potential to become highly qualified teachers and coordinating the recruitment process, TIP helps match rising seniors on track to graduate with a teaching licensure to a district’s classroom needs.

LCPS was one of five public school districts to partner with NCSU in TIP’s pilot phase two years ago. Its first TIP recruit, science teacher Katie Martin, will join the faculty at E.B. Frink Middle School in August after interning here and spending last summer as a counselor at the district’s STEM Summer Camps.

All North Carolina natives, this year’s TIP recruits are heading for middle school and high school assignments in science and English Language Arts.

Mackenzie Hunt, a native of Robeson County, says her love for biology “inspired me to become a teacher.” She has spent the summers between her college years working with youth, including two months as a missionary and student teacher in Leon, Nicaragua. That experience, as well as growing up in one of the state’s poorest counties, affirmed her desire to make a difference through teaching.

“One of my biggest takeaways from my time working with students in Nicaragua is that no matter what the financial, cultural or economic situation, all children are able to learn when someone takes the time to make them feel important,” Mackenzie wrote in her TIP application. “Students that are experiencing poverty deserve to be treated as equal and important in the classroom.”

Jessica Montgomery grew up in Claremont, near Charlotte, before coming to NCSU to study in its Middle Grades Language Arts and Social Studies program. “My desire to teach Language Arts comes from my personal love of reading and my drive to influence and inspire my students’ reading habits in a positive way,” she wrote.

She sees her small-town background as important preparation for work in a rural school district. “I think it is important that rural districts employ teachers who are personally dedicated to working within the community and continuously improving the quality of education provided in these areas,” she wrote.

A classmate of Jessica’s in the Middle Grants Language Arts and Social Studies program, Angelique Marrero is a native of Greensboro whose formative years helped shape her opinions about education. “Growing up in poverty and as a Hispanic female allowed me to see the flaws in the education system whereas kids such as myself would barely make it by because they didn’t feel like they belonged,” she wrote.

Her hope is not only to be placed at a school but also to be located in a community. “I really love the idea of entering a community that really wants to try new things and working together to build something that’s going to last,” she wrote. “I really hope to find a school that I fall in love with and can stay for a long time to see all my ideas come into fruition.”

Perry Currin, a Nashville native who came to NCSU as winner of a prestigious Park Scholarship, expects to graduate with degrees in chemistry and science education and a minor in music performance. He’s already had a taste of teaching as an intern with the Children’s Defense Fund Freedom Schools in Tarboro and as a rehearsal technician on the teaching staff of the Nash Central High School band.

“In rural districts in North Carolina, funding may not be as readily available as in growing urban centers,” he wrote. “My experiences have taught me to respond to constraints with flexibility and creativity.”

TIP recruits commit to work for at least two years in the district and receive a financial award of up to $10,000. The future teachers participate in enrichment, summer immersion and professional development opportunities during their senior year to strengthen their relationship with the district where they will work.

Photo caption:

TIP Teaching Scholars recruited to LCPS through its partnership with N.C. State University’s College of Education are, from left, Perry Currin, Jessica Montgomery, Mackenzie Hunt and Angelique Marrero. The four rising seniors will intern in the district next spring and begin their teaching careers the following fall.