A Tale of Three Teachers

Across North Carolina’s Triangle and Triad, Philip Boyne, Mollie Richardson Williams, and Jasmine Frantz are working to inspire the next generation of scholars and leaders. They are teaching more than physics, chemistry and math, respectively, as they bring the values learned as Park Scholars into the classroom.

When he’s not performing improv at ComedyWorx or perfecting his next batch of homebrewed porters, Philip Boyne ’09 is the resident physics teacher and 2013 recipient of the Excellence in Teaching award at St. David’s School in Raleigh. Though he is now rounding out his sixth year as an educator, Boyne’s career as a teacher almost didn’t happen.

“I was a physics major and worked in an undergraduate lab for two years of college,” said Boyne. “I enjoyed it a good bit, but parts of the job were also frustrating. I liked working with people more. Deciding to teach in October of my senior year was a risk, but it’s been so rewarding.”

Boyne continued his own education last year, earning a masters in secondary science education from East Carolina University. His thesis on collaborative learning in science is reflective of the interdisciplinary work he does during the summers as a science instructor for North Carolina Governor’s School.

Mollie Richardson Williams ’12 knew she wanted to be a teacher, and NC State’s College of Education only strengthened that conviction. Williams graduated with dual degrees in secondary science education and chemistry before following in the footsteps of a long line of educators. But Williams’ decision to become a teacher was all her own.

“I chose to become a teacher because it was a career path that would allow me to enlighten a new generation of learners and problem-solvers, promoting self-efficacy and a commitment to scholarship,” said Williams.

Now in her second year as a chemistry teacher at East Montgomery High School, just south of Greensboro, Williams was notably named this year as a Kenan Fellow. The mission of the Kenan Fellows Program is to improve K-12 STEM education by providing leadership development for exceptional teachers through innovative collaborations with research partners in industry, higher education, and government.

Even though Pi Day is her favorite celebration of the year, Jasmine Frantz ’13 didn’t immediately recognize her future path as a math teacher. However, it only took her Park Finalist interviewers twenty minutes to make that connection.

“I think I finally began to realize that I wanted to teach during my Finalist Weekend interview,” said Frantz. “One of my interviewers asked me why I was going into the First Year College. I explained that I wasn’t set on a particular major yet. After chatting some more, she said she thought I had decided since I talked a lot about my math teachers’ impact on me and how I looked up to my mom for being a teacher.”

Her interviewer was right. Frantz is now in her second year as a math teacher at Raleigh’s Wake Young Women’s Leadership Academy.

Park Principles in the Classroom

Boyne, Williams, and Frantz each bring their experiences and lessons learned as Park Scholars with them into the classroom.

Frantz acknowledges her relationships with NC State faculty as instrumental in her development as a teacher.

“The Park program introduced me to my mentor and Park Faculty Scholar, Dr. John Griggs, who was a former high school math teacher,” said Frantz. “He played a very supportive role in advising me and allowing me to bounce ideas off him about a future career in education.”

The Class of 2013’s Learning Lab II to study education policy in Washington, D.C. was also key to developing her thoughts and beliefs as a teacher.

“To be able to go to D.C. to study our nation’s educational system and hear from experts on the topic was a priceless experience,” said Frantz.

The Park Scholarships program’s emphasis on goal setting through tools like the Plan of Professional Development helped Boyne articulate his intentions as he looked ahead to each year.

“The Park Scholarship helped me by forcing me to plan every semester and to set goals,” said Boyne. “I wouldn’t have done this otherwise.”

Reflecting on her role as both a teacher and active member of society, Williams points to the Park Scholarships program’s four pillars—scholarship, leadership, service and character—as the foundation for her vision as a person and educator.

“The Park Scholarship provided the stepping stones to help me become the educator that I am today,” said Williams, “an educator that strives to instill a desire to learn in my students; a desire to inquire, learn throughout their lives, and become the scholars of tomorrow.”

Story by Mary Charles Hale ’13