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First in Future: NC State University Dean for College of Education Dr. Mary Ann Danowitz


The hardest job I’ve had in my life was my first job out of college. I worked regular 80-90 hour weeks – 106 was my record. The customers had widely varying backgrounds and expectations. My bosses required regular reports, but didn’t provide me much support at all. It required every ounce of my brain. Every day was survival. And I loved it. I taught high school. In many ways, I became the poster child for teacher burnout. I went in ready to change the world. Instead, I washed out at the same point so many teachers do – after three years. People across the nation, and across the state, have been working for at least the past 20 years to figure out what it takes to get more teachers to stay in the classroom longer. Today, as the next school year cranks up, we talk with the dean of NC State’s College of Education, Dr. Mary Ann Danowitz, about the newest ideas schools of education have to raise up new teachers, find people from other professions who want to teach, and get teachers to stay longer in the profession. As you listen, try to think to yourself. Are there really many jobs in the world more complicated – or more important – than being a kindergarten teacher?

This installment of First in Future is part of a special TV series produced in collaboration with UNC-TV, and recorded in UNC-TV’s Legislative Studio in downtown Raleigh. Taped segments will air on the North Carolina Channel. Visit for specific air dates. Watch the UNC-TV broadcast version via online streaming here!

Excerpts:  “We are asking teachers to do much, much more than teach in a particular area. They need to be leaders in the classroom. They need to be able to work with families. They need to be able to develop different forms of pedagogy to reach the students in their classroom. They need to be able to deal with issues that impinge on the lives of children from outside. And in many cases, they need to manage classrooms where children come from very different backgrounds…teachers deal with all of that.”

Book recommendations:  Setting the Table by Danny Meyer

What key issues should we be working on within the next couple of years to make North Carolina a better place?   The issue of how to work with the state budget with the high, increasing cost of health and aging population, and the need to education the next generations of North Carolina.

What do we need to focus on to be ready for the next 20 years?   Getting ready for the next change in terms of industry, with the expectation that we’re seeing climate change – looking ahead in terms of automation, innovation, and new jobs.

Listen to the podcast:

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