WELCOME TO THE EIGHTH ANNUAL

WELCOME TO THE EIGHTH ANNUAL

WELCOME TO OUR

Virtual Gala

Welcome to Stars of Education 2021, WakeEd Partnership’s annual gala to celebrate and spotlight those who make Wake County Public Schools and this community the very best place to be. 

This year, we honor teachers, coaches, band directors, business and community leaders, school administrators, a phenomenal public health leader, and one four-term Governor of North Carolina. It will be a very special night!

Stars of Education is a chance to gather and celebrate our public schools, our teachers, school leaders, and our families for how they have navigated this most extraordinary 18 months…and counting. We can’t say thank you enough to all of them.

Stars of Education is also our single largest fundraiser. This event supports our nationally recognized programs like Partners Read and SummerSTEM, as well as new initiatives like Tools4Schools, a free classroom supply warehouse coming soon for all Wake County teachers. We simply could not do what we do for our schools without you.

So enjoy the program and thank you for being part of it!

Keith Poston
President, WakeEd Partnership

WELCOME TO STARS OF EDUCATION 2021

CONTINUE THE CELEBRATION

Missed the live event? No problem! Catch up on all the excitement by watching our 2021 Stars of Education virtual gala right here!

Then explore this page to see extended interviews with our honorees!

AGENDA

AGENDA

WELCOME

Keith Poston, WakeEd Partnership

PRESENTING SPONSOR

Greg Winkler, Pinnacle Financial Partners

WHY WAKE ED?

Keith Poston, WakeEd Partnership

WCPSS HALL OF FAME | ARTS & ATHLETICS

2021 Recipients: JR Richardson, Milton Senter

Cathy Moore, Superintendent of Wake County Public Schools

WCPSS HALL OF FAME | BUSINESS & COMMUNITY SERVICE

2021 Recipients: Gordon Brown, Greear Webb

Jennifer Pride, WCPSS Teacher of the Year

WCPSS HALL OF FAME | EDUCATION & ENTREPRENEURSHIP

2021 Recipients: Muriel Summers, Victoria Scott-Miller

Dr. Elena Ashburn, North Carolina Principal of the Year

VERNON MALONE FRIEND OF EDUCATION AWARD

Elaine Loyack, Delta Dental of North Carolina
Dr. Mandy Cohen, 2021 Award Recipient

TOGETHER, WE CAN DO MORE

Keith Poston, WakeEd Partnership

DR. ROBERT E. BRIDGES LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD

Keith Poston, WakeEd Partnership
Jim Hunt, 2021 Award Recipient

Follow WakeEd on Social Media!

Share your favorite Stars of Education moments using our hashtag #WakeEdStars.

STARS AMONG US

Send a message to your Star of Education! Use the button below to submit a message and we’ll share it with your favorite educator.

TOOLS 4 SCHOOLS

Have you heard the big news? WakeEd Partnership is opening a FREE classroom supply store for Wake County educators! Consider making a tax-deductible gift today to help us stock the shelves at Tools4Schools.

WHY

WakeEd?

WakeEd Partnership is an independent, education-focused nonprofit committed to improving public education and advocating for excellent educational opportunities for all students in the Wake County Public School System. Since 1983, WakeEd has provided programs and resources to help WCPSS educators engage students in innovative ways that address the rate of change in education and the modern workforce. Additionally, WakeEd advocates for educators and school leaders at the local and state level in support of evidence-based best practices and policies that promote effective teaching.

Explore the sections below to get to know our programs!

FAMILIES AND SCHOOLS TOGETHER

WakeEd served as the collective impact hub for the Families and Schools Together (FAST) initiative. We were proud to partner with Wake County Public Schools, the YMCA of the Triangle, Boys & Girls Clubs, Marbles Kids Museum, and the City of Raleigh Parks Department to provide safe, socially distanced learning centers across Wake County.

FAST provided safe remote learning support for more than 2,000 families every day last fall at 46 sites across Wake County.

We also served more than 50,000 meals and distributed $1.5 million in financial assistance to families.

PARTNERS READ

Being able to read on grade-level by the third grade can change a child’s life. Partners Read places mentors into WCPSS elementary schools to read with first and second grade students and provides books to fill students’ home libraries.

Before COVID, we had more than 300 volunteers reading one-on-one with students in 55 Wake County Elementary Schools.

In six years, WakeEd has distributed more than 26,000 brand new books to help children build their home libraries.

When school buildings closed in March 2020, WakeEd continued Partners Read online, uploading weekly read aloud videos to a virtual library for all students to enjoy.

Thirty Partners Read videos have more than 5,500 views — that equals more than 611 hours of reading practice for children in Wake County and beyond!

After 18 months, Partners Read volunteers returned to WCPSS classrooms to read with students on October 1st.

SUMMERSTEM

SummerSTEM is WakeEd’s award-winning professional development program that exists to enrich educators’ understanding of the knowledge and skills that are necessary to succeed in STEM careers. Each year, WCPSS educators engage in hands-on experiences designed to help them bring real-world lessons to the classroom.

SummerSTEM hosted more than 200 Wake County teachers in 2020 and 2021 for COVID-safe virtual and hybrid programs that included immersions and hands-on STEM activities with more than 40 Triangle companies.

CAREER CONVERSATIONS

WakeEd launched a Career Conversations video library last year to highlight all of the amazing career pathways for Wake County students right here in the Triangle.

Our first twenty-seven Career Conversations, featuring careers ranging from psychology to teaching to mechanical engineering, have more than 2,800 views!

In 2022, we’ll be expanding our Career Conversations library and developing new SummerSTEM programming for Wake County students to provide real exposure to jobs and workplaces and support student transition from school to college or career.

TOOLS 4 SCHOOLS

North Carolina public school teachers spend on average $526 of their own money on classroom supplies each year. While Wake County Public Schools does a good job providing basic supplies to all schools, gaps remain, particularly, among our lowest-wealth students and families across the county.

To ensure that all students have the supplies they need to succeed in school, WakeEd has plans to open a classroom supply warehouse where Wake County teachers can obtain supplies for FREE. WakeEd’s Tools4Schools “store” is scheduled to open in early 2022.

STARS OF EDUCATION

Awards

WAKE COUNTY PUBLIC SCHOOL SYSTEM HALL OF FAME

CLASS OF 2021

JR RICHARDSON

Arts

MILTON SENTER

Athletics

GORDON BROWN

Business

GREEAR WEBB

Community Service

MURIEL SUMMERS

Education

VICTORIA SCOTT-MILLER

Entrepreneurship

JR RICHARDSON

Arts

MILTON SENTER

Athletics

GORDON BROWN

Business

GREEAR WEBB

Community Service

MURIEL SUMMERS

Education

VICTORIA SCOTT-MILLER

Entrepreneurship

EXTENDED INTERVIEWS

with our class of 2021

VERNON MALONE FRIEND OF EDUCATION AWARD

2021

DR. MANDY COHEN

The Vernon Malone Friend of Education Award is awarded annually to an individual who has demonstrated an exceptional commitment to public education and shares the personal qualities of the late Senator Vernon Malone, who passed away in 2009. Dr. Mandy Cohen is being honored in 2021 for her leadership during the pandemic, keeping our students, educators, and families safe and helping guide students back into classrooms. 

Dr. Mandy Cohen is an internal medicine physician and a public health expert who has led the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services since January of 2017, when she was appointed by Governor Roy Cooper. She has been lauded for her outstanding leadership and transparency during the COVID crisis. Dr. Cohen has held hundreds of press conferences and interviews to help the public understand the science and data related to the pandemic and how decisions were being made to protect the health and safety of the state.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Secretary Cohen has prioritized getting children back to learning in the classroom, while keeping students, educators, and families safeIn June 2020, under Secretary Cohen’s leadership, NCDHHS developed the StrongSchoolsNC Public Health Toolkit to help schools and education leaders plan and implement protocols to mitigate risk of COVID-19 in schools. The Toolkit is updated regularly and has been endorsed by the NC State Board of Education. North Carolina schools adhering to these protocols succeeded in limiting the transmission rate of COVID-19 within schools. Additionally, the DHHS distributed PPE to all NC public, charter, and private schools and presents monthly COVID-19 updates to school superintendents, DPI, and local health directors, as well as the NC State Board of Education.

Beyond ongoing COVID response work, Secretary Cohen remains focused on key initiatives, including a nationally recognized Early Childhood Action Plan with ambitious health equity goals and the expansion of Medicaid in North Carolina. Placing emphasis on whole-person health, Dr. Cohen launched the country’s first statewide technology platform, NCCARE360, to coordinate whole-person care across healthcare and community-based organizations.

A graduate of Cornell University, Dr. Cohen received her medical degree from Yale School of Medicine and a Master’s in Public Health from the Harvard School of Public Health. She trained in internal medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital. Prior to serving as Secretary, Dr. Cohen led the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services out of the healthcare.gov crisis as Chief Operating Officer and Chief of Staff. Secretary Cohen is married to Sam Cohen, Senior Vice President for Health Policy at Curi. They have two daughters, ages 7 and 9.

DR. ROBERT E. BRIDGES LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD

2021

JAMES B. HUNT JR.

The Dr. Robert E. Bridges Lifetime Achievement Award is the highest honor given by WakeEd. This award is given to an individual who has dedicated their life to improving and creating an unmatched impact on public education. It is difficult to imagine another individual who has had a greater positive impact on education in this state than Jim Hunt. 

James B. Hunt Jr. was born in Greensboro, North Carolina. He grew up on a farm in Wilson County, where he and his wife Carolyn now raise beef cattle. He received a bachelor’s degree in agricultural education in 1959 and a master’s in agricultural economics in 1962 from North Carolina State University. He earned a law degree from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill School of Law in 1964.

From 1964 to 1966, he served as a Ford Foundation economic advisor to Nepal. He served as North Carolina’s lieutenant governor from 1973 to 1977 and as governor from 1977 to 1985. Reelected in 1992 and again in 1996, Governor Hunt served a historic fourth term.

The nation’s first “education governor,” Jim Hunt is a nationally recognized leader in education, and he has been at the forefront of state and national education reform. Smart Start, his nationally recognized early childhood initiative, helped North Carolina children get better childcare, immunizations, and family services. Smart Start, has been emulated by states across the nation and received the prestigious Innovations in American Government Award from the Ford Foundation and the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

A national leader on education issues, Governor Hunt’s Excellent Schools Act of 1997 raised standards and pay for teachers. Hunt also focused on the improvement of teaching quality, set high standards for K-12 public schools, and was a national leader in ensuring rigorous accountability for student performance. In the 1980s, Hunt and the Carnegie Corporation of New York created the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, which he chaired for 10 years. North Carolina has more nationally board-certified teachers than any other state in the nation.

In the last decade of his governorship, the schools of North Carolina increased NAEP scores more than any other state in America. At the end of his tenure as Governor, he had led North Carolina in raising teacher pay to the national average—an increase of one third in his last four years. His work has been recognized with numerous national awards, and in 2006, he was named one of the 10 most influential people in American education, along with Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates and former Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton.

THANK YOU TO OUR

Sponsors

Presenting Sponsor

Robert E. Bridges Lifetime Achievement Award Sponsor

Vernon Malone Friend of Education Award Sponsor

Robert E. Bridges Lifetime Achievement Award Sponsor

Vernon Malone Friend of Education Award Sponsor

Wake County Public School System Hall of Fame Sponsors

Wake County Public School System Hall of Fame Sponsors

Maynard Family Foundation

Maynard Family Foundation

Public School Champions

Public School Champions

Honor Roll

A.J. Fletcher Foundation

Amplify

Capitol Broadcasting Company

Coastal Federal Credit Union

Lenovo

The McCullen Family

NC State College of Education

Participate Learning

Pierce Group Benefits

Sarah Quinlan

Rosemary and Smedes York

Booster Club

Judy Allard

Elena Ashburn

Seth Carruthers

Cris Charbonneau

Dick Daugherty

Elizabeth Droessler

Carey Hunter

Rod Malone

Diane Payne

Mike Perera

Muriel Summers

Leslie and Vann Taylor

Tharrington Smith, LLP

Thomas Williams

Marco Zarate

Andrew Zukowski

In Kind Sponsors

 WakeEd Partnership

  3101 Industrial Drive, Suite 100

  Raleigh, NC 27609 | (919) 821-7609

Who We Are

What We Do

WakeEd News

WakeEd Partnership

3101 Industrial Drive, Suite 100

Raleigh, NC 27609 | (919) 821-7609