Rodney D. Pierce, a middle school social studies teacher in Nash County Public Schools, has been named a 2020 Javits-Frasier Scholar.
According to the National Association for Gifted Children website, “the primary purpose of the Javits-Frasier Scholarship Fund is to increase culturally and linguistically diverse students’ access to talent development opportunities through educator training and support related to equity and excellence in gifted education.”
Pierce is in his second year at Red Oak Middle School where he teaches eighth grade social studies and sits on the Professional Development and Equity committees. Last year, he taught seventh grade social studies and world history.
“I’m grateful to God for another opportunity to advocate for racial equity in public education, but I’m particularly excited about this one, where I’ll learn how I can help increase gifted education identification and access for Black, Indigenous, Latino and Hispanic students,” Pierce said.
Scholarship recipients will receive complimentary registration to the NAGC 67th Annual Convention, which will be held virtually Nov. 12-17. They also receive a professional mentor from the NAGC community, a full two-year membership in the NAGC, and will participate in Javits-Frasier Scholar “roundtable” discussions with other scholars, members of the NAGC Diversity and Equity Committee, and NAGC leadership. Pierce is also slated to present as part of a panel at a signature session of the NAGC convention on the topic of Recruiting and Retaining Teachers of Color in Gifted Education Classrooms.
Pierce learned about the Javits-Frasier program during a conversation with NAGC Past President Sally Krisel and Sheila Gallagher at the Talent Delayed/Talent Denied II Conference at Duke University in September 2019. Both encouraged him to apply for the scholarship.
“I knew the day I met Rodney that he was a perfect fit for this program,” said Gallagher, a member of the North Carolina Association for Gifted and Talented’s Board of Directors. “We are always looking for intelligent, motivated teachers who are interested in learning about the needs of gifted students of color and gifted students in poverty. Rodney fits the bill perfectly! I am excited to think about the connections, knowledge, and skills he will bring back to his community.” Gallagher also recruited Pierce to a one-year term on the NCAGT’s Talent Delayed/Talent Denied Advisory Committee which researches and devises strategies to increase AIG identification for the state’s low income and minority K-12 students as well as their access to gifted and advanced instruction.
Pierce was the 2019 NC Council for the Social Studies Teacher of the Year and sits on the NCCSS Board of Directors. He was the 2019 Teacher Fellow for the NC Equity Fellowship through CREED (Center for Racial Equity in Education) and is a member of the Carolina Public Humanities Advisory Board. He was named to the Nash County Public Schools Equity Council over the summer.