In an era where tough economic times force school districts to decrease faculty, Millennium Charter Academy is adding five members to its staff.
New teacher orientation was held at the academy on Thursday with Headmaster Kirby McCrary briefing the new hires on the history, future, mission and vision of MCA. According to McCrary, the orientation sought to consolidate and highlight critical information on matters ranging from school’s philosophy and goals to non-instructional matters.
“Growth is happening here,” said McCrary. “We are the same as any public school except that we conduct ourselves like a business and run like a business.” He indicated that the school runs on 14 percent less than a typical public school because MCA does not receive any capital expenditure funding. The school also receives no lottery money for funding.
When asked if the academy has doubled up on duties for faculty as many districts have done, his answer was direct.
“At this school our motto has always been if it needs doing it’s your job. That’s how we operate,” explained McCrary. “This is not something we are told here. The people bind to the mission of our school. That mission is to produce intelligent, virtuous citizens who lead in a constitutional democracy.”
He also credited the willingness of locals to give freely of their time and knowledge and resources with the success of the academy.
The new teachers are Brett Livengood, Brittany Branch, Toby Bunton, Mike Drury and Martha Arrington.
Livengood is a Mount Airy native with a master’s in mathematics and will be teaching mathematics at MCA. He has four years experience teaching in the public schools and two years experience teaching GED programs. His interest in math came from him always being good with numbers. He said he feels one of his strengths as a math teacher is to get the concepts across through a variety of mediums and can show how math is used in everyday life.
Branch has a Bachelor of Science in animal science from N.C. State University and looks forward to teaching agricultural science as an elective at MCA. Agriculture is a passion of hers and she hopes to put the school’s new greenhouse to good use as well as establishing some raised-bed gardens. One of her goals is to introduce students to agriculture so they realize that industry provides everything from the food they eat to the clothing they wear.
Bunton is a fourth-year teacher with a Bachelor of Arts in English from UNC-Greensboro. His interest in the discipline was kindled by his love of literature and writing. He uses a Socratic method of teaching to engage his students in a lifelong journey in poetry and literature. He comes from a family of educators and initially did not want to teach.
“My mom knew best,” said Bunton. “Finally I gave in. I still want to be a writer.” He is working on a collection of poems titled “Mountain City.”
Drury holds a master’s in history and is a recent graduate from Calvin College in Michigan. He holds teaching degrees in both history and social studies. Students can look forward to an unflinching look at history and geography from him.
“You teach it all,” said Drury. “You teach the good, the bad and the ugly of history. If you don’t do that, you can’t expect students to be able to learn from the past.”
Drury uses historical fiction, writing, narratives, lecture and simulation to teach students about the citizens that came before them.
Arrington has a Bachelor of Arts in exercise and sport science with child development as a second course of study. She said she really wants to get more students involved in sports and teach them how activity can be fun and how to live and obtain a healthy lifestyle. She also said that sports is especially important at the middle school level because it can foster leadership and help students learn to be good roll models.
She would like to further involve parents through healthy living logs and introduce new sports to MCA through physical education classes. She said she understands how to structure lessons to engage students improve their skills and increase their knowledge.
Reach David Broyles at firstname.lastname@example.org or 719-1952.