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Scott Bigelow | 910.521.6351 |
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Friday, November 2, 2007

UNCP hosts N.C. Teacher of the Year in seminar

James Bell, North Carolina’s 2007-08 Teacher of the Year, believes that once you gain a child’s trust, teaching is easy.

James BellBell, a middle school teacher in the Edenton-Chowan Public Schools, was at The University of North Carolina at Pembroke for a day-long symposium on October 19 titled “Journey to Empowering Teachers: Rigorous Academic Achievement for All Students” Nearly 200 teachers and administrators attended the.

The event was hosted by UNCP’s School of Education and the State Board of Education’s Teacher of the Year program and brought in seven Regional Teachers of the Year to give workshops.

“At UNCP, we take our mission of service to the public schools of North Carolina very seriously,” said host Dr. Zoe Locklear, dean of the School of Education. “We are here to provide professional development and host conferences like this one.”

James BellBell is believed to be the only lateral entry teacher to be named North Carolina’s Teacher of the Year. A Las Vegas, Nev., native, he started out in journalism.

“It was an interview with the national champion lawnmower racing champion that changed my life,” he said. “What do you ask a professional lawn mower champion? I said right then that there had to be a better way.”

A job coaching football for Davie Middle School in Halifax County came with the additional assignment of teaching social studies and English. There, Bell found his future wife, also a teacher, and his passion for teaching.

“I truly love literature and writing and my passion comes through,” he said. “You can’t fool kids.”

James BellBell is 10 years into teaching, coaching football and wrestling and has a seven-month-old daughter. A North Carolina Wesleyan College graduate, he earned his teaching credentials at East Carolina University and is planning to enroll in UNCP’s Master of Public Administration program.

Animated and personable, Bell is passionate about everything he does. He teaches students through the heart.

“You’ve got to get into their hearts as well as their heads,” he said. “You’ve got to connect with students beyond the classroom.”

For more information about teacher education at UNCP, please call 910.521.6221 or email

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