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District eyeing talent, increasing capacity for academic growth

Chris Poston, who oversees elementary and middle grades education in CCS, engages a student at N.C. Central career fair.

DURHAM — Next week, degree in hand, N.C. Central University’s (NCCU) Abla Mansour will be poised to educate children with special needs, taking her student-teaching experience into a classroom at a school where educators are serious about the work.

“I’m looking for a big, big support for special education,” Mansour said during a career fair at NCCU. “We need it.”

Chatham County Schools (CCS) has it.

In February, Melvin Diggs began his work as the school district’s executive director of programs for exceptional children, as well as those who are advanced learners. He brought nearly two decades of experience — including work as a special-education consultant with the N.C. Department of Public Instruction — to a team of CCS educators already engrossed in growing and lifting students academically and otherwise.

The career fair at NCCU was an opportunity for its graduating seniors in the H.M. Michaux, Jr. School of Education to broaden their perspectives beyond where they did their student teaching. Joash Chung (far right) is with educators preparing to provide interviewing tips to N.C. Central University students.  It’s where Mansour met Chris Poston, the executive director of elementary and middle grades for CCS.

“We’re looking for people who really put kids first,” Poston said.

CCS is hiring across all skill sets. On-spot interviews during the district’s career fair Thursday from 4-7 p.m. at Horton Middle School in Pittsboro will provide opportunities to explore roles both inside and outside the school system’s classrooms. It’s a journey Poston began years ago, serving the district as a teacher, providing another level of leadership as a principal and now using his expertise to shape students throughout the school system. CCS is a prime place for an educator to grow, he said.

“If you come in to Chatham County Schools just loving on our students, doing what’s right for kids, absolutely,” explained Poston, who was representing CCS at NCCU’s career fair. “We are a large enough district to bring innovative learning and technology to everyone, but also we’re small enough that they can get to know their superintendent, their assistant superintendent, their principal really, really well. We want to make sure that they have the right connection with the right people so they can have the best teaching experience possible.”

CCS touts a competitive salary supplement, and there’s no shortage of professional development and support for its educators.

Critical for NCCU’s Ginger Lipscomb after she picks up her teaching degree next week is finding a school system that actually offers classes in what she teaches.

“What I teach is somewhat rare,” Lipscomb said. “Family and consumer science, and specifically apparel and textiles. And not that many schools offer apparel and textiles anymore, which is odd since we live in North Carolina, and it’s like a textile state.”

CCS, with an award-winning career-and-technical education program, checks the box for family and consumer science. And apparel. Plus interior design. The district, kind of, has it all, Poston said.

“Some people are looking for a K8 school that’s small — two-, three-hundred kids — where they can get to know every kid and see the kid along the progression of their educational journey,” Poston explained. “Some people are looking for something that’s closer to the larger cities in North Carolina like Durham and Raleigh. So we can offer all of those things.”

Published April 29, 2019