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Honoring 60 North Carolina Black educators for contributions to students

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  • After declaring the "Year of Public Schools" in North Carolina, Gov. Roy Cooper recognized dozens of Black educators for their impact on the education landscape.
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Gov. Roy Cooper and the North Carolina African American Heritage Commission honored 60 Black educators, retirees, support staff, and education professionals for their achievements and contributions to public education last week.

Honorees were met with certificates of appreciation and words on the state of education in North Carolina at a reception in the executive mansion on Feb. 21.

Valerie Ann Johnson, dean of arts, sciences, humanities and a sociology professor at Shaw University, chairs the commission. Johnson said that educators should think about how important their roles are in supporting public education and, ultimately, a democratic state.

“Think about what you exemplify from the classroom to administration. From buses to the cafeteria, to what is called the media center — used to be the library,” Johnson said, “Opening up the world to our young people, and doing so in the tradition of our Black educators who knew to be a part of a civil society you had to read and write and know who you are.”

Cooper has made several efforts to ensure the state’s public schools have a diverse workforce during his time as governor, according to a press release from his office. He established the DRIVE Task Force in 2019 to create recommendations for a more equitable and inclusive school environment. He also formed the Andrea Harris Equity Task Force in 2020 to address social, economic, and health disparities people of color face.

“North Carolina is a stronger state thanks to the tireless work of our Black educators, and I am grateful for the ways each of them have stepped up over the course of their careers to help our students and communities,” Cooper said. “When we have diverse teachers in our classrooms, all of our students benefit.”

More information about the commission and honorees can be found here.