08/24/12 — Dillard Middle boasts mother-daughter teacher combos

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Dillard Middle boasts mother-daughter teacher combos

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on August 24, 2012 1:46 PM

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Dillard Middle School has three mothers and daughters teaching at the school this year, and nearly had a mother/son combo as well. The educators said they appreciate having added support from a family member just down the hall. From left, Manning Musgrave and daughter, Casie Musgrave, Bernadette Hamilton and daughter, Monica Tobe, Jeremy Brown and mother, Claudia Luckey-Brown, and Joe Ann Jones and daughter, Arika Jones. Jeremy Brown has since been reassigned as an assistant principal at Eastern Wayne High.

It's safe to say that working at Dillard Middle School is like one big family.

But now that is even more true, given that the school boasts three sets of mother/daughter teachers and almost had a mother/son combo.

Sitting down with the group takes on elements of a family reunion -- a blending of the familiar with the new.

Joe Ann Jones, a family consumer science teacher, and her daughter, Arika Jones, a Read 180 teacher, are in their fourth year working at Dillard.

"I came here because I was transferred here. She came here because of a teaching position," said Joe Ann, who had taught at Goldsboro High School for 19 years. "It's been wonderful."

"It's cool to have my mom here," said Arika, the current Beginning Teacher of the Year at the school. "My mom was my teacher when I was in high school. That's what made me want to teach."

Art teacher Bernadette Hamilton has been in the profession 16 years, one at Goldsboro Intermediate and the past 15 at Dillard. Her daughter, Monica Tobe, a special education teacher, has been in the profession for eight years.

"I did seven at Edgewood and this is my first year at Dillard," Mrs. Tobe said. "Back in 2008, I was Beginning Teacher of the Year (at Edgewood) and my mom was Teacher of the Year (at Dillard). They said that's never happened."

Claudia Luckey-Brown has been a school social worker for 15 years. This is her third year at the school.

She was joined last year by her son, Jeremy Brown, a data coach. He had actually been a student at Dillard as a youth, before graduating from Goldsboro High School in 1997. After a stint in the Army, he started his career in education in Florence, S.C. Just before being interviewed for this story, he learned he has been promoted and will be assistant principal at Eastern Wayne High School.

"I taught him at School Street Elementary," said Manning Musgrave, a fifth-grade language arts and social studies teacher in her 27th year of teaching. She first taught at Dillard in 1994-95 and is returning to the school.

"And I went to school here, too," chimed in Arika, who said she graduated from GHS in 2003.

"I graduated from Goldsboro High School, too," her mother said.

As did Mrs. Musgrave -- Class of '79.

Mrs. Musgrave's daughter, Casie Musgrave, who finished at Eastern Wayne High School in 2008, just graduated from N.C. State University. She will be teaching sixth grade language arts and social studies.

"Mom got the job (at Dillard) and I heard that there might be openings and I applied and got it. It makes me feel like home," she said. "I always knew I wanted to be a teacher. I grew up in the Wayne County Public Schools, everybody knows my mom. It's great. I was always coming back here (to Wayne County)."

It's a unique situation but a "great experience" watching your child embark on her career, Joe Ann said.

"As far as teaching in the classroom, I try not to say too much because she's a professional and a colleague," she said.

"For me, when you want your children to spread their wings and do what they want and they decide to do the same thing that you have done, and haven't said for them to do that, it's so gratifying," Mrs. Hamilton said.

"I feel the same way," added Ms. Luckey-Brown. "It's a wonderful thing that they follow you."

As parents and children, whether at home or working together, there is bound to be some shifting of roles. And admittedly, each has been able to teach the other something.

From her mother, Casie said, it would be "how you treat students and you treat them with respect, just the way you are with them, I have learned that from her."

"I have learned from my mom to stay organized," Arika said. "She's very organized."

All agreed that they have even more reasons to look forward to another school year.

"I think because we have so many new staff members, new principal, new administration, she (Arika) makes it exciting," Joe Ann said. "In my 23 years of teaching, I have never come early to set up my room -- not that I didn't care, but now, I was excited. We came in a week early."

"I know for me, Sonja (Emerson, principal) and I taught together at Edgewood for five years," said Mrs. Tobe. "One of my other reasons coming here, I knew I wanted to be under her as a principal. I actually left the county to work at Caswell Center (in Kinston). I made it known that I wanted to come back, contacted Sonja and the rest is history."

The duos may share a mother/child relationship, but noted that they have also become friends.

"She has her children and her family at home, but we talk school stuff and we're excited over the Staples teacher day," Mrs. Hamilton said. "My husband and her husband just shake their heads."

"She has helped me set up the classroom for eight years," her daughter said. "I trust her and value her opinion. If she says it doesn't look right, it doesn't look right."

"I have just grown up listening to her talk about the school system and finally this year I'm able to participate," said Casie. "I have grown up hearing all these names and now they're my colleagues."