Catawba College Trustees, both former members of the college's teacher education faculty, will be honored October 9th at a dedication ceremony. Catawba's new Academy for Teaching will be dedicated in honor of Dr. Shirley Peeler Ritchie of Salisbury, while student teaching scholars admitted to the Academy this fall will be recognized as Martha Kirkland West Teaching Scholars in West's honor, the first group of such students who will be so designated.
Dr. June Atkinson, N.C. State Superintendent of Public Instruction, will be the keynote speaker for the Oct. 9 ceremony which begins at 7 p.m. in Hedrick Little Theatre on campus.
Dr. Shirley Peeler Ritchie '52
A Salisbury native and a 1952 alumna of Catawba, Dr. Shirley Peeler Ritchie double majored in religion and philosophy and sociology. She earned her master's degree in guidance and counseling and her doctorate in the areas of child development and family relations from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.
A member of the Catawba faculty from 1981 until her retirement in 1993, she served as director of the college's elementary education program. She received both the Swink Prize for outstanding classroom teaching and the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award during her years at Catawba.
She has served on the faculty at UNC-Charlotte and as director of Project ASCENT, a special program for gifted children that operated under the auspices of the N.C. State Department of Public Instruction. She has worked as a coordinator and counselor for a federal program to mainstream handicapped children in the Salisbury City Schools; as an elementary school counselor and school social worker in the Salisbury City Schools; and as a social service worker in the Cabarrus County Department of Social Services.
She serves on the board of Partners in Learning and has served as chair of that board. She is a member of the Catawba College Board of Trustees. She has served as chair of the Charlotte Area Educational Consortium, and has also served on the board of Rowan Regional Medical Center, the board of the Paul Laurence Dunbar Family Resource Center, the board of Meals on Wheels of Rowan County, and as a member of the Congregation Council of St. John's Lutheran Church.
Ritchie is known first and foremost as being an advocate for children. To her, one troubling contemporary trend is the pressure to fast-track children to achieve at an early age. She recommends instead letting children enjoy their childhood, look at pictures and explore their world.
Ritchie and husband Raymond, a 1953 alumnus of Catawba, are parents of three adult children, Cliff, Mark, and Celia.
Dr. Martha Kirkland West '59
A 1959 alumna of Catawba and a Salisbury native, Dr. Martha Kirkland West majored in English and minored in history. She earned her master's of education degree and her Ph.D. in elementary (M.Ed.) from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
During her career in education, West held three very different positions. She served as an elementary school teacher (fifth grade) for the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, as a college professor in Catawba's Teacher Education Department (through 1981), and as director of elementary education for the Rowan-Salisbury Schools central office (until her retirement in 1999). Even after her retirement, she continued to be an advocate for education, serving for four years as a member of the Rowan-Salisbury Board of Education.
A member of the Catawba College Board of Trustees, she has also served on the Salvation Army Advisory Board, the Rowan-Salisbury Symphony Board, the Rowan Museum Board, and the Early Childhood Advisory Board of Rowan Partnership for Children. She is an active member and volunteer of John Calvin Presbyterian Church. A history buff, with a special interest in Civil War history, West is a prolific traveler and bridge player.
While employed at Catawba, West received the Phi Epsilon Award and served as chair of the Faculty Senate. A scholarship has been established and named in her honor at institution. Additionally, Catawba has awarded West its distinguished alumnus award and an honorary degree.
West's educational philosophy is a simple one: "I truly believe that all children can learn, but at different rates and in different ways. The challenge of education is to provide more time for some children and to constantly search for new ways to impart knowledge."
West is the widow of the late Dr. James King West, a professor of religion at Catawba for 22 years until his death, and the daughter of the late legendary Catawba football coach Gordon Kirkland and wife Alene Kirkland, a teacher.
The Academy for Teaching and Its Teaching Scholars
Catawba Assistant Professor of Teacher Education and former N.C. Teacher of the Year, Dr. Cynthia Osterhus, directs the Academy which is a part of the College's Teacher Education Department. The Academy, which focuses on equipping its participants with 21st Century teaching skills, officially launched at the start of this academic year with 14 new Martha Kirkland West Teaching Scholars entering Catawba as first-year students.
These students, who applied and were selected as Teaching Scholars, demonstrated strong SAT/ACT scores, a strong high school grade point average, leadership, community involvement, and a commitment to teaching. Teaching Scholars participate in an accelerated and enhanced teacher preparation program that features early field experiences, the development of an electronic professional portfolio, community service, leadership development and regional travel.
Catawba's Teacher Education Program
Catawba's Teacher Education program is nationally accredited through the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) and has a rich tradition of turning out excellent teachers dating back to 1925. Since 2004, graduates of the program have enjoyed a 100 percent pass rate on Praxis II and have had great success in landing teaching jobs immediately after graduation.
This year, Catawba's faculty approved offering a four-year degree and licensure in Environmental Science Education. Other offerings being explored include a Birth-Kindergarten degree in Catawba's day program (such a degree is currently offered in Catawba's School of Evening and Graduate Studies). Members of the Teacher Education Department faculty are also exploring ways to better serve the needs of lateral entry teachers.
Catawba's Teacher Education Department offers a major in Elementary Education (K-6) or Middle School (6-9), as well as a minor in Secondary Education (9-12) with licensure in English, Mathematics, Science (Biology, Chemistry and Comprehensive Science, and Comprehensive Social Studies, and a minor in Special Subject Areas (K-12) with licensure in Music and Physical Education. A program leading to licensure in the special field of Reading (K-12) is also available.
Additionally, Teacher Education offers a graduate degree program. Practicing or in-service teachers having an initial or continuing license in Elementary Education may pursue a Master of Education degree in Elementary Education (K-6).
The Department currently has 80 students progressing through its program and all of its faculty have public school experience. In addition to Drs. Osterhus and Stringfield, other faculty in the Department include Professor of Education, Dr. Lou Ann Kasias; Assistant Professor of Teacher Education Dr. Rhonda Truitt; Professor of Physical Education, Dr. William "Bill” Russell; Professor of Physical Education and Recreation, Dr. Patricia Whitley; Associate Professor of Music, Dr. Stephen Etters; and Director of Curriculum Materials Center, Ms. Amanda Bosch.
Pinning Ceremony Planned in Addition to Academy for Teaching Dedication
In addition to the planned dedication, 25 Catawba College students will be honored in a pinning ceremony marking their admission to the Teacher Education Program. The ceremony will be sponsored by the Student North Carolina Association of Educators' (SNCAE).
Admission to a teacher education program is not automatic. Admission requirements include successful completion of PRAXIS I standardized tests of reading, writing, and mathematics; establishment of a 2.5 or better grade point average; and an interview. Applicants must also pass a criminal background check.
Those to be pinned during the ceremony include Leslie Birch of China Grove; David Bloom of Marietta, Ga.; Jennifer Board of Kannapolis; Brandon Carter of Albemarle; Natalie Charles of Lexington; Kalin Collier or Rural Hall; Savanna Farris of Rockwell; Katherine Faulkner of Dunkirk, Md.; Alyssa Mae Florida of Harleysville, Pa.; Stacy Suggs Frick of Salisbury; Lindsay Hinkle of Murrells Inlet, S.C.; Allannah Irwin of Hershey, Pa.; Jamie Jakubik of South Plainfield, N.J.; Jonathan Kennedy of Mount Ulla; Heather Kick of White Plains, Md.; Jennifer Layton of Bridgeton, N.J.; Mary McBroom of Salisbury; Brian Messenger of Kannapolis; Scott Moyer of Kannapolis; Brittany Parker of Mount Ulla; Wilbur Pender of Franklinton; Catherine Perocchi of Hyannis, Mass.; Melissa Powers of Bennett; Mitchell Reeves of Jonesville; Daniel Ryan of Westborough, Mass.; Sally Schultz of Hilton, N.Y.; Debra Stanley of Mocksville; Raiza Toledo of Salisbury; and Glenda Weaver of Kannapolis.
Faculty advisors for the SNCAE organization are former North Carolina Teacher of the Year Dr. Cynthia Osterhus and Mrs. Amanda Bosch. SNCAE officers for the 2007-2008 academic year include Christine Ofslager of Midlothian, Va., past president; Jennifer Layton, president; Alyssa Mae Florida, vice president; Melissa Powers, secretary-treasurer; Kristen Collins of Salisbury, sophomore representative; and Sean Cobb of Salisbury, freshman representative.