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COA’s Teacher of the Year & Faculty Award Winner

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Lucretia White was selected as College of The Albemarle’s (COA) Teacher of the Year. Her local award made her a state-level nominee as well. After being notified that she’d been nominated at the state level, she submitted letters of support, curriculum vitae, faculty self-evaluation and student evaluations.

Additionally, Lucretia was awarded COA’s Faculty Winner for the Excellent/Innovation Teaching Technique Award. She ties the award to the successful collaboration with peers Leah Jones, Dr. Susan Peck and Shellee Rust. Working with distance education, Lucretia was able to redesign the College Student Success (ACA 111) and College Transfer Success (ACA 122) classes according to Quality Matters™ standards. One activity they implemented was a basketball game that was used in face-to-face sections and online. “It added gamification to the class. Students play a basketball game to learn about SMART goals: specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timebound,” said Lucretia.

Lucretia is well on her way to making a difference in the lives of students both young and old. She was reassured early on with her career choice in education as she took on her first position working with Elizabeth City-Pasquotank Public School 6th, 7th and 8th grade students who scored a Level I or II on their End-of-Grade reading test. This position posed a challenge. Although she had just graduated from Elizabeth City State University with a bachelor’s degree in English, she had to learn her students and their style of learning. Lucretia knew she needed to connect with each student at an individual level in order to grow their interest in learning. Taking this task to the next level, Lucretia conducted her own independent study. She researched creative techniques using hands-on engaging activities with a focus on reading skills. At the end of the year, the students showed tremendous growth from their previous End-of-Grade test scores. Through her efforts, she realized the impact from her instruction, and what started as a challenge, became her passion to see the students grow and succeed.

As she began to establish herself as an educator, she went on to teach 7th grade at Elizabeth City Middle School. Her students loved her teaching style and would consistently ask her to join them in high school when the time came. Oddly enough, that is exactly what she did after finding out about a position that was open to teach 9th grade. Lucretia wanted to grow both her students and herself by excelling to the next level. Colin Brickhouse, who had Ms. White in both 7th and 9th grade said, “She was very positive, supportive, and she really tried to connect with all of her students.”
Lucretia went on to receive her master’s degree in English from Western New Mexico University and started teaching part time at COA. In 2012, she made the switch from public schools to a full-time developmental instructor for COA’s Edenton-Chowan Campus and by 2014 had become the program coordinator for developmental reading and English. In 2015, Lucretia was made an assistant professor.

“Life is 10 percent what happens to you and 90 percent how you react to it (Charles Swindoll),” said Lucretia when asked what quote she lives by. Lucretia is the mother of two sons, Justin age 15 and Jordan age 5. She and her boys enjoy playing laser tag and other games, spending time with family and attending church. She is involved with her church, Greater Anointing Ministries, where she serves as the financial secretary, church historian, sings in the choir, and serves on the prayer team. During the summer, Greater Anointing provides a snack outreach program and delivers snacks to young children in various Elizabeth City communities. Lucretia uses this opportunity to educate parents and young teens on programs offered through COA. She and her family are supporters of the Make a Wish Foundation due to their deep appreciation for the lifelong memories it brings to families. Lucretia also enjoys cooking and is known throughout COA for her delicious banana pudding.

An educator that stood out among the rest along Lucretia’s path was her 6th grade social studies teacher, Ms. Judy McKenzie, who became one of her biggest mentors in life. When asked what advice she would give to new teachers she said, “Wear a ‘be’ CAPE: be confident, be consistent, be accountable, be passionate, and be engaging and encouraging. Also, know that you make a difference in the lives of your students, even if it is not instantly visible.” One of Lucretia’s favorite teaching assignments is “This I Believe” essay, a fundamental life belief assignment that she borrowed from a colleague at Alamance Community College. This assignment allows her to get to know her students better based on their beliefs.

“Not only does she teach us, but she encourages and pushes us to our full potential leaving no stone unturned. Many teachers and professors teach to make a living, Ms. White lives to teach us, which makes a major difference for her students,” said Arelia Williams, one of Lucretia’s former students.

Lucretia has long-term career goals to become a Department Chair and has the aspiration to teach American Literature. She enjoys working at COA and finds support within her colleagues. “There is a collaborative spirit among faculty and staff at COA. Colleagues at COA share best teaching practices and provide encouragement and support to each other. Most importantly, we are family!”

Her future is a bright one as she was interviewed as a top five finalist for the NC Community College System’s 2018 Excellence in Teaching Award out of fifty-eight people nominated.