Schools Come Together to Build Future Teachers

Monday, March 14th, 2022

On Thursday, March 10, 2022, an agreement was signed between Southeastern Community College (SCC), the University of NC at Pembroke (UNCP), Columbus County Schools, and Whiteville City Schools. With the help of local high schools, students who plan to become teachers can be identified, attend SCC to earn their Associate degree, and then transfer to UNCP to complete their bachelor’s degree in Education.

“This represents a key pathway for students in Columbus County to become our future educators,” said Dr. Chris English, SCC President. “This is an exciting partnership.”

“Thanks to NC Promise and SCC, students can complete 4-year undergrad degrees with little to no debt – that’s a big deal,” Dr. Robin Cummings, Chancellor, UNCP. “Partnerships like the one we have created with SCC, and now Whiteville and Columbus County schools, is what makes our economy grow. I love to see Columbus and Robeson working together, leveraging our institutions so students who grow up in rural areas have the courage and support to go to a 4-year university. Each person here today has benefited from a teacher who nurtured them. We need more teachers like that.”

Students can start in high school taking classes in the Teacher Preparation program at Southeastern Community College free through Career & College Promise. All it takes is 1 or 2 classes to start earning college credits early.

New Career & College Promise eligibility makes it easy for high school students to earn college credit while still in high school.


Meet one of the following requirements:

  • 2.8 or higher high school GPA,
  • OR demonstrate college readiness on an approved assessment,
  • OR recommendation of high school principal approval for technical pathways.

Loury Floyd, Dean of Education at UNCP shared that the institution recently awarded $2.9 million to provide scholarships to future educators. These scholarships will be used for students in Columbus, Robeson, and Scotland counties.

Eligible students could potentially earn both an associate’s and a bachelor’s degree debt-free through SCC scholarship and UNCP scholarship opportunities.

“One of the greatest things about being here in Columbus County is the local, homegrown aspect of our educators,” said Dr. Marc Whichard, Whiteville City Schools Superintendent. “Our teachers know the hearts of their students because they are in the same communities. This is such a meaningful partnership – go to college, earn your degree, come back to your home and teach the next generation of students.”

North Carolina has a shortage of qualified teachers in all grades of special education, middle and high school math, and all core subjects in elementary school grades, according to the U.S. Department of Education.

Dr. Deanne Meadows, Superintendent of Columbus County Schools shared, “We have been trying to find ways to recruit and retain teachers. We must find students to become educators. We need them. Being able to impact kids as an educator is a dream come true and I hope we can work to show the bright side to teaching. Economic development happens in education. It’s the cornerstone of everything we do.”

Pictured from left, top photo: Dr. Cummings, Dr. English, and Dr. Meadows
Second photo: Representatives of UNCP, SCC, WCS, and CCS
Third Photo: Dr. Cummings, Dr. English, and Dr. Whichard

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