• Episode 17: PCS Director of Data, Research & Accountability Shannon Wainright

    by Length: 38:14
    As we near the end of another school year, it also means we're approaching the testing period - a time that often produces anxiety and angst for both students and parents. Pitt County Schools Director of Data, Research & Accountability Shannon Wainright offers insight to the process, how data is analyzed and used to sustain efforts to improve student achievement, and perhaps most importantly, offer helpful tips how to manage stress, properly prepare and implement strategies for those days. Additionally, we talked about opportunities which exist AFTER testing from a support and retake standpoint.
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  • Episode 16: PCS Student Services Focused Inquiry Team (FIT)

    by Length: 35:51
    May is Mental Health Awareness Month and a perfect time to connect with the PCS Student Services Focused Inquiry Team (FIT):
    Corrine Davis - School Counselor, Bethel
    Jessica McIntyre - School Social Worker, WMS, NPHS, Bethel
    Laura Bennett - School Counselor WGP
    Rene Lee Bryan - School Social Worker GRW, Pactolus, Stokes
    This podcast will explore resiliency practice within our schools and equip students, staff, and families with strategies and resources to overcome stressful situations.
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  • Episode 15: 2024-25 PCS Teacher of the Year Rachel Candaso

    by Length: 25:39
    The 2024-25 Pitt County Schools Teacher of the Year - Rachel Candaso - joins us on Episode 15 to talk about her unusual but rewarding journey as an educator. In her fourth year at Wellcome Middle School, Ms. Candaso, currently serves as an AVID teacher and site coordinator after earning her certification two years ago via a non-traditional route - an alternative pathway to licensure. She initially arrived in Pitt County through the Teach for America organization after earning bachelor degrees in political science and criminal justice. Hear about her experiences growing up in Guam and Arizona, and how she's now making an impact in eastern North Carolina.
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  • Episode 14: PCS Director of IT Cory Rankin

    by Length: 29:18

    Episode 14 offers listeners an opportunity to learn about information technology, a critical operating aspect of our district that many might either take for granted or are intimidated by in our ever-evolving and advancing world. The only constant in the technology industry is change, so we are fortunate to have PCS Director of IT Cory Rankin provide us with comprehensive insight on where we were, where we are and where we're headed to as a district which places a premium on utilizing cutting edge technology. Also, as a cybersecurity specialist, Cory will discuss some of the preventative and security measures he's implemented and how those have enhanced both user and data capabilities and protection across our district.

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  • Episode 13: Greenville-Pitt County Chamber of Commerce President & CEO Trent McGee

    by Length: 34:46
    Find out why Pitt County is such a desirable place to work, play and raise a family by listening to Episode 13 featuring Greenville-Pitt County Chamber of Commerce President & CEO Trent McGee. One of the centerpieces of the quality of life we enjoy in our area is a rich and multi-faceted partnership between our school system and the Chamber - one that is firmly committed to grow minds and invest in our future. Among the many highlights discussed include Grow Local, Teen Leadership Institute, a newly-established scholarship for a PCS graduate and support for the Pitt County Educational Foundation Teacher Executive Institute. 
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  • Episode 12: Director of Transportation Richard Hutchinson

    by Length: 46:48

    Pitt County Schools' Director of Transportation Richard Hutchinson joins us for Episode 12 to discuss a myriad of topics, many that help keep the wheels in motion across our expansive district. He'll also talk about how evolving technology and a commitment to efficiency has helped address challenges that are unfortunately prevalent in this sector of our service to students and families, not only here, but across the country. He was appointed to his current position in October of 2022 after serving on-campus administrative leadership roles for the previous 15 years, which included 11 within PCS - as assistant principal at J.H. Rose High School and Ayden-Grifton High School. 

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  • Episode 11: Director of Student Services Mrs. Karen Harrington

    by Length: 26:00

    Student-centered topics are on the forefront in Episode 11 as we feature Director of Student Services Mrs. Karen Harrington, who talks about Pitt County Schools' effort to provide an exceptional learning environment for all students in our system despite societal challenges that many face each day. Her staff's work, along with counselors, social workers and nurses, promote partnerships with our educators, parents and members of the community that focus on providing preventive care and support the removal of barriers that affect our students. In addition, means to help students find pathways that present them with the best possible chance for success - opportunities like open enrollment - are discussed, along with how those processes work. 

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  • Episode 10: Annual School Calendar Discussion

    by Length: 25:10

    Episode 10 features a topic that is of great interest in our community and one that generates passionate discussion - the annual school calendar. Two individuals who play key roles in its development process, PCS Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources Dr. Kristi Rhone and District Attorney Ms. Emma Hodson, explain the origination, creation and approval of the calendar. Both address misconceptions that currently exist and offer clarity and transparency to the process, the need for the collection of feedback and how it is utilized, its ties to state laws and how you can support efforts to see a change that would help students.

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  • Episode 9: 2023-24 PCS Teacher of the Year Ainsley VanBuskirk

    by Length: 25:09
    Joining us on Episode 9 is Pactolus Global School first-grade teacher Mrs. Ainsley VanBuskirk. In addition to serving as the sitting 2023-24 Pitt County Schools Teacher of the Year, Mrs. VanBuskirk was recently selected as a Milken Educator Award recipient - a prestigious national honor awarded annually to only the most exceptional educators. She became Pitt County's first Milken Award recipient since 1999, joining an exclusive network that not only includes teachers, but principals and administrators across all 50 states. We hope you enjoy this heart-warming journey of a truly home-grown educator.
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  • Episode 8: Innovation Early College High School Principal Dr. Jennifer James

    by Length: 31:22

    Dr. Jennifer James, the 2023-24 Pitt County Schools Principal of the Year, is featured in Episode 8 to reflect back on her path as an educator and administrator, as well as discuss her unique current leadership role at Innovation Early College High School, which is located on the ECU campus. Dr. James is the founding principal at IECHS, which opened its doors a little over five years ago and continues to reach new heights that has enabled many first-generation students to experience substantial growth through - true to its name - innovative instruction and an unparalleled culture of excellence.

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  • Episode 7: Community Partner, Great Harvest Bread Co.

    by Length: 24:28

    Pitt County Schools values our community partners as they provide support and resources to help our students and teachers grow and thrive. Gregg Green, owner of Great Harvest Bread Co., has been a tremendous collaborative partner with the Pitt County Educational Foundation and established a Community PTA in 2022. Join Gregg and Joy Strayhorn (operations manager) as they elaborate on their dedication to PCS, community engagement, and share tips for a healthy work environment and healthy living.


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  • Episode 6: PCS Director of Athletics Rob Maloney and Isaiah Crumpler

    by Length: 47:58
    In Episode 6, we'll talk about a topic that builds both affinity and community. It has been often said that athletics is similar to a front porch - not the most important part of a house, but undoubtedly the most visible. Pitt County Schools is proud of its rich past, exciting present and promising future on the fields and in the arenas of competition. The recent past includes a combined 13 state team and individual state championships since the start of the 2022 calendar year, and we delve into present and future with our two guests - PCS Director of Athletics Rob Maloney and D.H. Conley High School student-athlete Isaiah Crumpler.
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  • Episode 5: Pitt Pirate Robotics

    by Length: 32:40

    Meet Pitt Pirate Robotics, founding lead mentor, Ann McClung and J.H. Rose High School student, Carson Fraley, as they share information regarding Pitt Pirate Robotics programs and STEM opportunities throughout Pitt County. Ann McClung is a former veteran PCS science teacher who continues to work with interested students pursuing their STEM interests through the FIRST Robotics Program. 

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  • Episode 4: Tom Kulikowski and Clinton Todd, PCEF

    by Length: 28:36
    Episode 4 of the PCS CONNECT podcast features an organization that is at the heart of Pitt County Schools, the Pitt County Educational Foundation (PCEF).
    Guests Tom Kulikowski (PCEF Board chair) and Clinton Todd (PCS Talent Acquisition Coordinator) joined Beth Ulffers (PCEF Executive Director) to gain an understanding of the multifaceted programs that support PCS teachers and students throughout the district. 
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  • Episode 3: Dr. Kristi Rhone and Ms. Tinisha Banks, HR

    by Length: 34:58

    While there has been no shortage of headlines over the last few years, the same can't be said for teachers, administrators and other staff in schools across the nation. Unfortunately, Pitt County Schools is not immune to vacancies within its system and that is a topic that will be discussed in this episode of PCS Connect with Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources Dr. Kristi Rhone and Certification Specialist Ms. Tinisha Banks. Both will address the shortages, but more importantly, explain strategies and solutions to help PCS in its recruitment and retainment efforts.

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  • Episode 2: Mrs. Allison Setser & Mr. Wynn Whittington, Principals

    by Length: 26:02
    With the first week of a new school year underway, it is fitting that this edition of PCS Connect features Eastern Elementary School Principal Mrs. Allison Setser and Pitt County Early College High School Principal Mr. Wynn Whittington. Both have served top leadership positions at schools in our district for a combined 19 years and we're hopeful their collective experience will answer questions parents might have, help promote relationships between school and home, and perhaps most importantly, prepare children for academic and emotional success.
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  • Episode 1: Dr. Ethan Lenker, Pitt County Schools Superintendent

    by Length: 32:21
    Pitt County Schools Superintendent Dr. Ethan Lenker, who is currently the longest-serving district leader in North Carolina, discusses the upcoming school year and the state of public education locally, regionally and nationally in this inaugural edition of PCS Connect. In this podcast, Dr. Lenker shares what makes PCS and Pitt County communities unique, along with creating opportunities for students, discussing advanced teaching roles and his long-standing influence on educational leadership.
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