Smithfield Herald

Riverwood Middle School salutes two teachers

Principal Phil Lee, center, congratulates Amanda Pierce and Doug Pawlak for their continued pursuit of excellence in education.
Principal Phil Lee, center, congratulates Amanda Pierce and Doug Pawlak for their continued pursuit of excellence in education. JOHNSTON COUNTY SCHOOLS

At Riverwood Middle School in Clayton, one teacher had an eventful summer while another will be extra busy in the year ahead.

Amanda Pierce, who teaches seventh grade math, traveled to Germany this summer with a group of teachers. She visited Berlin, Stuttgart, Freiburg and Munich, seeing the sights while also stopping at schools to talk to students, teachers and principals.

“My favorite educational visit was to the BMW training facility, where we spoke with several students who were taking classes there,” Pierce said. “We learned a lot about Germany’s educational system and how specific and hands-on their trade schools are with their students. I’m sure that we all came home with many new ideas for our classrooms, no matter the age or subject that we teach.”

“One of the most rewarding visits was to the Dachau Concentration Camp outside of Munich,” Pierce added. “It was surreal to be in a place where thousands of people perished during World War II at the hands of the Nazis. The pictures and videos in the museum, the barracks, the camp grounds, the gas chambers and the different memorials for the fallen victims were a testament to atrocities that, hopefully, will never happen again.”

Pierce said the teachers on the trip enjoyed the chance to talk shop. “Even though we came back to the hotel exhausted each night, we made time to discuss the day’s activities and network with one another about our jobs and places in the classroom,” she said “We bounced ideas off of each other and made contacts to use for the upcoming year.”

Pierce said the Global Teachers to Germany program was great opportunity to travel abroad with people working in the same field.

“It was amazing to learn about education in another part of the world, and I am so thankful to SAS [Study Abroad Services] for providing me with the financial assistance to attend,” she said. “I made lifelong memories, and I am excited to share with my students this year how big and wonderful the world is.”

Also at Riverwood Middle, Doug Pawlak, who teaches eighth grade social studies, is one of seven Johnston County teachers chosen to take part in the Governor’s Teachers Network.

Many teachers from across the state applied for the opportunity to share their expertise with their peers. Those chosen will spend a year compiling detailed lesson plans and other documents that are examples quality of educational resources and ideas.