Orientation period begins with annual breakfast

Aug. 14, 2013 @ 06:03 PM

Rows of educators sat in the Northern Vance High School cafeteria Wednesday as they prepared to embark on their first year teaching in Vance County Schools.

But some new teachers are products of the county schools they will soon serve.

Eric Faucette graduated from Southern Vance High School, where he will teach physical education and weight training this upcoming school year.

“Being from Vance County, I understand what these kids are going through,” said Faucette, a 24-year-old Henderson native. “A lot of times, it’s not as black and white as this kid is bad or this kid is good.”

Faucette was one of the 129 new teachers who attended new teacher orientation, which kicked off Wednesday and wraps up Friday.

Superintendent Ronald Gregory said this year’s group includes 67 new teachers who have not taught before and 62 new teachers who are new to the county schools.

Gregory said the number of new teachers this year is consistent with the 20-25 percent turnover that the county typically sees every year.

The new teachers represented a diverse range of communities and cultures.

Through the Visiting International Faculty program, Eaton-Johnson Middle School will have two new teachers from Jamaica and one teacher from Mexico. The VIF program places veteran teachers from more than 70 nations to serve in K-12 schools throughout Virginia and North Carolina.

Eaton-Johnson Principal Larry Webb said his school already has VIF teachers from Jamaica, Philippines, Sierra Leone, Romania and Chile.

“My kids will be exposed to a lot of different cultures,” Webb said. “That’s something I didn’t have growing up.”

At orientation, the new teachers were encouraged to find their place in the Vance County school puzzle.

Board of Education Chairwoman Gloria White reinforced the puzzle theme in her remarks.

“There are many pieces of a puzzle and when you find the correct piece, it is a perfect fit,” she said to the new teachers Wednesday. “We hope this is a perfect fit and you stay for years to come.”

White also addressed the trials inherent in the teaching profession that are exacerbated during an economic recession.

“There are many challenges facing this county and this nation,” White said. “We need the cooperation of many to take on these challenges.”

Contact the writer at smansur@hendersondispatch.com.