08/03/14 — Local teachers selected for program

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Local teachers selected for program

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on August 3, 2014 1:50 AM

Myeshia Bryant

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Teresa Dawson Everette

Two area women have been accepted into the Teach for America program, a national non-profit that assigns educators to urban and rural public schools in low-income communities.

Myeshia Bryant, a 2010 graduate of Eastern Wayne High School, and Teresa Dawson Everette, a 1982 Goldsboro High School graduate, signed on for the two-year commitment to address some of the gaps in learning for students in the lower grades.

Ms. Bryant recently graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill, where she studied public policy analysis and education, but decided to participate in Teach for America because of its promise to provide a quality education for all children.

A certified English language arts teacher in grades 6-12, she will be teaching middle school at Charles Drew K-8 Center in the Miami area.

"I am blessed to be in middle school because I have an opportunity to help my students before they reach high school without the basic reading and writing skills that it takes to be on the college preparatory track," she said. "I know that most of my students are not reading at grade level and many of those same students have more going on in their lives daily than many have in a lifetime. But it is such a blessing to be able to empower students to be invested in themselves. All children need champions. I had them and they deserve them, too."

In the region where she is assigned, 52 percent of the population lacks the basic literacy skills and necessary reading comprehension tools needed to understand the written English language, she said.

"Letting that sink in, that means 52 percent of the population have left, or will be leaving, the school system that is not empowering them to be successful even in the most basic of jobs," she said. "I really wanted to work in the areas that need me the most -- in the most difficult school systems -- and I was blessed enough to be chosen to work in Miami-Dade County Schools, the fourth largest school district in the nation with a majority of their students living in poverty and foster care."

She is the daughter of Michelle Bryant and Boysie Murray of Goldsboro.

"As a first-generation college student, I am proud to be the first person in my father's family to attend college and one of the few from my maternal family," she said. "I look forward to being that change agent adult in some of our nation's poorest schools."

After high school, Ms. Everette attended Shaw University, obtaining her degree in criminal justice. It was during her 21-year stint in the Army that she had an opportunity to be an instructor, realizing that instead of becoming a lawyer, she would enjoy being a teacher.

She recently retired from the military and now lives in Augusta, Georgia.

"They have the Augusta Veterans Program and the Augusta Warrior Project for military retirees that are in the war and disabled and I qualified to get a job through them," she said.

Her assignment with Teach for America is at Weldon Elementary School in Weldon teaching second grade.

"They gave us 10 choices, 10 states," she said.

She plans to move, before school starts, to either Roanoke Rapids or Rocky Mount.

"My dad still lives (in Goldsboro) -- Luther Dawson, on George Street," she said, proudly. "All my (four) children are grown."

She has several reasons to be excited about the teaching opportunity, she said.

"First, I'm looking forward to coming back to North Carolina so I can be close to my dad, and then I'm looking forward to getting in the classroom," she said. "It's a new beginning -- a new chapter. I'm 50 years old and I'm starting a new career."

The two-year commitment also held an appeal because the program offers to fund participants' pursuit of their master's degree in education.

"I like the fact that they pick leaders, people that have leadership qualities," she said. "It doesn't matter what your degree is in. They take you and train you to be a teacher."