The 2015-20165 academic year at Paisley Magnet school will be my thirteenth year teaching in Winston-Salem Forsyth County schools and the tenth year teaching in the International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme (MYP) at Paisley IB Magnet School. To our knowledge, Paisley's full, five-year continuum, is one the few public school implementations of the MYP in the U.S. Most such implementations are featured at private schools. The Programme features a rigorous curriculum and elevated teacher expectations for students. IBO teachers maintain high academic and personal expectations for themselves as well. The faculty has created an honor code that governs student academic life.My academic and professional background include a bachelor's degree in English from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Master of Arts in Journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia. I have previously taught at vocational-technical/college/university, high school and middle school levels. My corporate experience includes eighteen years with R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., (RJR) now Reynolds American. While employed by Reynolds, I traveled nationally and internationally as a photojournalist. I came to the Kernersville Middle School via the North Carolina "Lateral Entry" program in 2002 and passed my Praxis that fall. I was "HOUSED" into high school level pedagogy at Paisley my second year in IB.My return to the eighth grade English at Kernersville Middle School in 2002 was a return to education that began with the a two-year tour with the United States Peace Corps in the Federal Republic of Cameroon from 1966 to 1968. I was the "English Master" (department chair) at St. Bedes College, N'kom, Bekom, in West Cameroon, the English-speaking state in the Federal Republic of Cameroon. East Cameroon is French speaking. Most students arrived on campus speaking at least four languages: their native dialect, pidgin English, French and English. We began teaching Latin the second year I taught at St. Bede's. I was stunned to see how quickly the students began speaking Latin in public. Neither of the teachers assigned to Latin were able to speak with a similar facility. The students, in their fifth year, sat for General Certificate of Education exam prepared in London, England. I am proud to say that this first St. Bedes' GCE class earned a 50% pass rate in English, tied with the best and oldest secondary school in West Cameroon, Sasse.In 1966, St. Bede's was a private middle/high school that featured an age range not unlike Paisley's continuum. St. Bede's, called a college in the British fashion, is located in the grasslands of northern West Cameroon. The campus, only three-years-old when I arrived, is located on a hill-side spur jutting into a pre-Columbian volcanic valley. The view is spectacular.West Cameroon, the eastern-most point of West Africa, had been the former crown colony of Nigeria's British Southern Cameroons. Citizens of the Southern Cameroons voted to leave Nigeria and join French East Cameroon at the time of independence. When I taught at St. Bedes, the school was run by Roman Catholic mission priests, the Merryhill Fathers. Today, while still Roman Catholic, St. Bedes is operated by Cameroonian staff and faculty. In 1966, students came from the entire country; during my second year, refugees from the Biafran war in Nigeria arrived on campus. The two years I lived in Cameroon provided a life-altering experience.
The valleys of the Bekom people, amongst whom I was stationed, are inhabited by subsistence agricultural society whose members placed a high priority on education. Thus my advanced degrees made me one of the most respected citizens of that community. My value was measured in a currency other than money. This experience was unique. In subsequent years, I realized that I never lost the desire to teach.
Because of my Peace Corps and RJR travel history, I bring the outside world into my classroom. Internationalism and multiculturalism are in keeping with International Baccalaureate educational philosophy. It is also a goal of units of study to introduce students to professionals working in fields that are pertinent to the topic. Paisley students seem to hunger for such contact and profit from it.
I love learning and am an avid reader. I live for summer when I can catch up on the book selections that I have stock-piled during the regular academic year. However, I must admit that I have a book "working" at all times. The only question is how much time I can give to work when there are papers to be graded.
My wife, Sylvia, and I moved to Winston-Salem in 1976. We raised our four children here (they were educated in WSFCS schools), but now we are "empty-nesters" excepting the our Maltese-poodle mix, Doozie, with whom we share our home. Oh yes, I maintain a troop Japanese koi in a back yard pond.