I am currently a new teacher support coach at University of North Carolina in Charlotte, NC. I support 35 teachers in four different schools. My job is to go into classrooms and see how I can best support new teachers in areas of planning, instruction and assessment. I also provide professional development in the same areas. My path to get to where I am was not a straight line! I originally went to another school out of state for my freshman year. Then I decided to come home and get my associate's degree from UNH Manchester. During that time, I decided to coach little league baseball. My thought was that if I could coach, I could teach. I was fortunate to have met one of my mentors, Dave Bettencourt, a UNH alum, who played baseball and football. I became the undergraduate assistant baseball coach and fell in love with the game. For the first 10 years of my career, I coached college baseball. I could not make enough money and got into teaching and I taught middle and high school math for the next 15 years before landing at UNC Charlotte in my current role.
My education at UNH through the COLA really helped to motivate me to become a lifelong learner. Since my time at UNH, I have acquired a master's degree and I am currently working towards my specialist degree at Appalachian State University. The professors always challenged me to be an independent thinker and look deeper than the surface to get to the answer. I got my first job just because I had a college degree and I owe that to my education.
Dr. Ann Loranger was one of the most special people I got to know while I was at UNH. She really inspired me to become a teacher. She championed my desire to teach and help set up my internship at an elementary school in Windham, N.H. I loved every second of it and I know she would be so proud to know what I have become. She motivated me and was always encouraging me to do better. When you walked into her office or saw her around campus, she always had a smile on her face. I was saddened to learn that she is no longer with us, but her legacy lives on through the Mentor of the Year award which is named in her honor.
Looking back on my time at UNH, I really wish I would have taken advantage of more of the opportunities that the university has to offer. I would have tried to do an internship or possibly study abroad. UNH has a long reach in the New England area and it is starting to reach either further. Alumni are always willing to help either fellow alums or undergraduates with opportunity or advice. I would highly recommend taking advantage of all the university has to offer while you are there. This might be the only time you get to do this before you have major responsibilities.
Education is a high need area across the country. The great thing about becoming a teacher is that you can work just about anywhere. I majored in communication but ended up teaching math. Sometimes a solid educational background can help you get to where you want to go. I would tell anyone that if you have a passion for something, go get it! Live your life with no regrets. Even if you don't make it, it doesn't mean you will not be successful in another area. Have a growth mindset and learn the word, “yet.” You might not be where you want to be...yet. You truly can accomplish great things and leverage your UNH network to help you along the way.