The written request noted that King has done an “… exemplary job on moving the needle on key priority areas,” and that the board “… would like to share your best practices across the state, in hopes that others may be able to make the same improvements.”
In response, King will provide a report on various program areas, including its work as an Education Preparation Provider, outlining the university’s approach and process of training teachers for the modern classroom.
Randall Gilmore, director of teacher education at King, said that the SOE’s successful track record of producing talented, effective instructors is the result of a combination of factors — including the experience of King’s educators, the positive outlook that students gain during their studies, and the personal attention that smaller, private institutions are able to offer.
“There is one thing I try to stress to all our students, and that is in order to be a great teacher, you have to understand the principles of servanthood and unconditional love,” Gilmore said. “You can have deep and rich content knowledge, but when you get into the classroom, you have to understand it’s not about you. It’s about equipping students to reach their full potential and letting them know they are appreciated for who they are.”
Gilmore, who has more than 30 years of experience in regional school systems, has served as a teacher, assistant principal and principal at various institutions and is a member of the Sullivan County Board of Education. He noted that his own experience, as well as that of other leaders among King’s SOE, helps graduates better understand and excel in their new work environment.
“We’re very fortunate that all of us in the School of Education have experience working in public schools,” Gilmore said. “Private school is a positive experience, but when you are training educators for a variety of environments, you have a more nuanced understanding, and that makes a difference.”
Several recent graduates of King’s SOE have been recognized for their work in the classroom, including:
— Karen Bear, Class of 2009, named 2015 Teacher of the Year for Sullivan County middle schools, and 2019 Teacher of the Year for Kingsport City Schools in grades 5-8.
— Blakleah Hensley, Classes of 2011 and 2015, named 2017 Middle School Teacher of the Year at Bluff City Middle School in Sullivan County.
— Amanda Countiss Peace, Class of 2013, named 2018 Teacher of the Year at Haynesfield Elementary School in Bristol, Tennessee, and grades 5-8 Teacher of the Year for the Bristol Tennessee School District.
— Jessica Schaus, Classes of 2013 and 2019, named 2019 District Teacher of the Year for Anderson County/Claxton Elementary School in Asheville, North Carolina.
“I believe in the power of an individual teacher,” Gilmore said. “When I was a young student, an instructor took the time to understand me and to say, ‘You are great.’ So I began to behave like it. As educators, it’s our job to equip teachers to identify the untapped power within students so that they can inspire and empower coming generations.”
The request from the State Board of Education is the most recent recognition of King’s rigorous and responsive academic programming. The university is celebrating two consecutive Bachelor of Science in Nursing classes graduating with 100 percent first-time pass rates on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX), as well as two graduates from the Bachelor of Social Work program who have been recognized at the state and national level for their outstanding work and dedication in the field of human services.
For more information, go to www.king.edu.