The Daily Southerner, Tarboro, NC

September 11, 2013

ECPS cuts ribbon on new professional development center


PRINCEVILLE — PRINCEVILLE – The Edgecombe County Board of Education meeting Monday evening began on a celebratory note.

Board Chair Ann Kent cut the ribbon at Edgecombe County Public Schools’ new professional development center on Beasley Street, behind Princeville Elementary School.

“This is exciting, and it’s good to see people from the community come out and join us,” Kent said later as she surveyed the crowd at the center.

The outdoor ceremony was brief, with Superintendent John Farrelly and Kristian Herring, public information officer for Edgecombe County Public Schools, sharing their thoughts on the new building. The building previously housed a family resource center.

“We are indeed proud to have another location where educational professionals can gather to plan and receive training that will allow Edgecombe County to continue preparing all of our students and citizens to become global competitors, as they experience success in a rapidly changing world,” Herring said. “Today, the Edgecombe County Public Schools System is ecstatic to present its Professional Development Center as another sign of its commitment to the core values of rigorous curriculum and instruction, community, and continuous improvement.”

Farrelly called the new center a “fantastic place” where school staff and administrators can gather for professional development. He also recognized David Coker, ECPS’ maintenance director, and his staff for the work on the building. Representatives from Barnhill Contracting Company later were recognized during the board meeting for their part in the building renovation.

“What I’m excited about is it’s in a different community. We need to spend time in all of our communities,” Kent said.

After the short ceremony in the muggy outdoors, the group of educators and community members gladly moved inside the air-conditioned building to enjoy refreshments before the board’s business meeting. Kent began the meeting by saying,

“I hope we have more meetings in the community in the near future, so the public realizes we are their school system.”

As Kent says, “Not everyone can make it out to Pearl Street” – the location of the ECPS central office in Tarboro, where the board normally meets.

Sandra Joyce, principal of Princeville Elementary School, said she likes having the professional development center in the community, as well, and she hopes it will get the community more involved in the schools.

“I’m looking forward to inviting some parents there,” Joyce said. “It’s the right size for our population of parents.”

Joyce said she likes being able to walk out of the back door of her school and step into a “different atmosphere” at the center.

“It’s a perfect opportunity for us to be able to have some professional development for our staff without having to be too far away,” Joyce said. “It’s going to be a nice place for teachers to get away, but we’re still home.”

The enthusiasm sparked by the opening of the new center continued in the board’s business meeting, with a number of recognitions:

Dr. Jerry Price, new member of the Edgecombe Community College Board of Trustees.

“We look forward to working with you and providing as many opportunities as we can to     motivate our students,” Price said.

Laurie Leary, ECPS’ director of fiscal services/ finance officer, for her North Carolina School Board Achievement in Financial Resource Management Award.

Tarboro High School: East-West All Star Coaches for Soccer, East-West All Star Football Team, East-West All Star Soccer Team

Stocks Elementary School, for its designation as a Title I Reward School. Stocks is among the highest 10 percent of all Title I schools in high-progress, meaning the school has made the most progress in improving the performance of the all students’ group over a number of years on the statewide assessments.

Herring, for his red ribbon award for the ECPS booth presentation at the Rocky Mount Fair

New administrators in the district

Just before the meeting came to a close, Board Member Faye Taylor asked the “professional-looking group of administrators” in the room to stand, and called for a round of applause for the school leaders.

“I just see so much wonderful that’s going to happen in our school system,” Taylor said, as she looked out at the administrators.

Kent echoed Taylor’s thoughts and invited the educators to attend more meetings in the future.