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CCS Employee Spotlight

posted Sep 30, 2016, 6:15 AM by Greg Shull


Ramona Addison – Teaching Assistant at James Love Elementary


CCS Work History
I worked at North Elementary as a Head Start assistant for five years and am in my second year at James Love Elementary. Growing up I attended Marion, Graham, Fallston Elementary, Shelby Middle and High schools.

Family
I am married to Jeffery Addison. We have four children, who also attends Cleveland County Schools.

Education
I earned a Bachelor of Arts from Limestone College and am currently attending East Carolina in the B-K Licensure program.

What do you like best about your school/work location?
I love being able to help our preschoolers build a good foundation that will help them be successful not only in education but throughout their lives. I love working at James Love because we are more like family, we work as a team, and we help and encourage one another.

If you could give students one piece of advice, what would it be and why?
I would tell all students to never give up. All things are possible if you believe in yourself and stay positive. Nothing worth having will come easy.

Why is Cleveland County Schools special to you?
I am a product of Cleveland County Schools. I was very fortunate to be able to have had wonderful, effective teachers throughout my educational journey. Cleveland County Schools is special to me because its philosophy helped me become the teacher I am today. My goal is to be an effective educator and do the same for my students as was done for me.



David Allen – Principal at Shelby High

CCS Work History
I attend Marion Elementary School (K-5), Cleveland School (6), Shelby Junior High School (7-9) and Shelby High School (10-12). I graduated from Shelby High School in 1986. I was hired as an interim to finish the 1994-95 school year at Kings Mountain High School in English. I returned to Shelby High in the fall of 1995 in both the Exceptional Children's and English Departments, moving to English full time in the spring of 1996. I taught English, Yearbook, Driver's Education, Programming and Broadcasting and coached tennis (2003 State Champs!) during my teaching career. I spent 12 years over two stints as an Assistant Principal before becoming a principal in the fall of 2013.

Education
I have a Bachelor of Arts in Broadcast Journalism (UNC Chapel Hill), Bachelor of Arts in English (UNC Charlotte), and a Master of Arts in School Administration (Gardner-Webb University).

Family
I am married to Amy L. Allen (Principal at North Elementary), have two sons, David Ray Allen, Jr. (junior at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill) and Michael Allen (senior at Shelby High), and a daughter, Katie Allen (8th grade at Shelby Middle School).

What do you like best about your school/work location?
Shelby High School is home to me. I spent a lot of time on this campus as a child with older brothers and sister who were involved in various activities and then spent three years here as a student. I was very involved and enjoyed my time here. I see the faculty, staff, and students at Shelby High as one big family and it is my pleasure to come to work every day.

If you could give students one piece of advice, what would it be and why?
Get involved. There is nothing better than being connected to a group (family). Whether it is a sports team, a club or an organization like band or drama, there is nothing better than being a part of something where learning and fun go hand-in-hand.

Why is Cleveland County Schools special to you?
My wife and I have both made careers with Cleveland County Schools, and our children have grown up a part of the CCS family. To see the opportunities that my children have had because of Cleveland County Schools is such a blessing.



Heather Lease – EC Teacher at Bethware Elementary

CCS Work History
This is my fourth year teaching at Bethware.

Family
My parents are both retired and live in New York in my hometown of Hyde Park. I also have an older sister, Kristen who lives in New York with her husband. I try to go home as often as I can to visit!

Education
I went to SUNY Binghamton in New York for my undergrad where I got my bachelor's in English. Then I went to Mount Saint Mary College in New York where I earned dual master degrees in General Education/Special Education at the Elementary Level.

What do you like best about your school/work location?
What I like best about Bethware is the co-workers and students whom I work with every day. I teach my students each day, and in return, they have taught me how to become a better teacher. I am not from Kings Mountain, but I feel a sense of community among the teachers, parents, and students.

If you could give students one piece of advice, what would it be and why?
It is okay not to know, but it is not okay to not try. As long as you try and work hard, you will reach your goal!

Why is Cleveland County Schools special to you?
Cleveland County is special to me because it is the only place I have taught. I have grown so much since my first year teaching thanks to all the support I have received from my administration, other teachers, and students. Bethware has an amazing team who work hard to ensure successful learning for each child.



Pauline Merritt – English Teacher at Crest Middle

CCS Work History
I have been employed at Crest Middle School for the past eight years (since 2008). I began my teaching career at Burns Middle in 2002 (lateral entry). I have served as Girl's Track Coach at Burns Middle (Tri-County Conference Champions (2006). At Crest Middle School I have served as Student Government Sponsor (we won the Eagle Award for largest United Way Student Campaign 2008), CCS Rigor Committee Rep., SIT Team member and Head Coach of Girls' Track. Currently, I serve as PBIS team co-chair, PLC leader 7th Grade English, Spelling Bee chair, Head Coach Girls' Basketball (Tri-County Conference Champions 2011 and 2013) and Asst. Track Coach Boys and Girls. I attended Lattimore Elementary School, Crest Junior High (First group to attend 7th - 9th grade) and I am a proud graduate of Crest Senior High School!


Family
I am the 7th of 8 children of Georgia and the late Charlie Finney. My husband Wayne Merritt and I have two children, Jadin and Hannah Merritt. Jadin is an 8th grader at Crest Middle and Hannah is a 6th grader. I teach 7th grade, so the Merritt's have Crest Middle covered! My husband is a supervisor at Holly Oak Park for the City of Shelby.

Education
I am a graduate of North Carolina State University and hold a Bachelors of Arts in English

What do you like best about your school/work location?
I love Crest Middle! It feels like I am home because I am an original Dragon. I am proud to be a part of the first class to go through 7th, 8th, and 9th grades at Crest Junior High. I remember that Dragon pride as we strove for excellence in academics and athletics and I want that same pride to permeate through our current and future students.

If you could give students one piece of advice, what would it be and why?
I would tell students to do everything as if giving glory unto God. I would encourage them to have confidence and be bold in their convictions and not to be afraid of success. I think too often that we are afraid to be great but God has given us a light and we cannot be afraid to let it shine because we might outshine someone else. We all have that light if we would receive it. We are wonderfully and marvelously made and if we all embraced that ... think of how great the world would be!

Why is Cleveland County Schools special to you?
Cleveland County Schools is special to me because I am a product of this great institution. My journey from head start to 12th grade helped shape me into the person that I am. It taught me that education is what you make of it and once you receive it, it is yours forever. Upon graduation, my high school counselors gave me a needlepoint picture of a flower that read, "Bloom where you're planted." I think that is a metaphor to live by.



Jennifer Wiggins – Math Teacher at Burns High

CCS Work History
I graduated from Shelby High School. This is my fourth year at Burns High School teaching Math 1.

Family
I have a husband and two daughters. My husband and I both graduated from high school together in Cleveland County. Our oldest daughter is 3 and our youngest is 17 months. We also have two dogs and one cat.


Education
After high school, I worked my way through to an Associates Degree in General Studies at Blue Ridge Community College. After I completed my two-year degree, I went to the University of North Carolina at Asheville where I received a Burroughs Wellcome Scholarship and my teaching certification. I graduated with Honors and received a bachelor's degree in Mathematics

What do you like best about your school/work location?
I love my students, co-workers and the administration. The environment is very supportive, and everyone feels like family. It is rewarding to go to work every day knowing that you are surrounded by peers that share a common goal and that are committed to doing what is best for our students and their futures.

If you could give students one piece of advice, what would it be and why?
Because I teach high school, I often find myself advising students to find balance. There are some students who stress so much about their grades that it seems like they are not also taking time to enjoy their high school years. There are others who lack work ethic and drive and do not worry about their education enough. It is important to find balance in life. You can have a very successful and happy life by having a balance of strong work ethic and knowing when to relax and enjoy the moment.

Why is Cleveland County Schools special to you?
I grew up in Cleveland County and was educated in this school system. My parents are also a product of Cleveland County Schools, and my children will soon start their education in Cleveland County. I am proud to have been educated here, and I feel fortunate to be part of all of the good things that are happening in the Cleveland County School System.
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