Alumna Heather Millsaps ’12 awarded Diane Kent-Parker First Year Teacher Award in Wake County Public Schools

June 03, 2014

Lees-McRae is proud to announce that alumna Heather Millsaps ’12 has been awarded the Diane Kent-Parker First Year Teacher Award in Wake County Public Schools for the 2013-2014 school year. Millsaps is a kindergarten teacher at Laurel Park Elementary School.

The Wake County Public School System Diane Kent-Parker First Year Teacher Award recognizes outstanding first year beginning teachers in elementary, middle, high school and special education. The award is named in honor of Diane Kent-Parker who served in WCPSS Human Resources as Senior Director for Recruitment and Retention. Principals and schools nominated the teachers for demonstrating excellent professional teaching success throughout their initial year.

Millsaps graduated summa cum laude in 2012 with a bachelor of science in elementary education. She attended Lees-McRae’s extended site at Western Piedmont Community College in Morganton, N.C., one of three extended sites operated by Lees-McRae.

“Student teachers from Lees-McRae College are prepared for education in the 21st century,” said Kimberly Simmons, North Carolina Educator Evaluation Consultant, NCDPI. “I am so impressed with Lees-McRae’s program. They are leading educator preparation with innovative strategies and a strong commitment to pushing forward in a time of educational change.”

Graduates of the Elementary Education program also boasted a 100% pass rate on Praxis II, a requirement to become licensed as a public school teacher in North Carolina, for three consecutive years. The Lees-McRae College Teacher Education Program, which is designed to provide teacher candidates with the knowledge, skills, and dispositions needed for successful employment as schoolteachers in 21st Century classrooms, is accredited by the Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC).

The Teacher Education program has achieved the high standards required to maintain accreditation by both TEAC and the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI). Lees-McRae’s program is one of four in the state of North Carolina that has chosen to participate in NC FALCON, North Carolina’s Formative Assessment Learning Community’s Online Network. This program supports the implementation of formative assessment in North Carolina classrooms and professional learning community where challenges and successes can be shared with expectations of positive collaboration.

Serving as the lead pilot university to embed this training in their education program, Lees-McRae students not only participate in the professional development series, but are trained in using specific strategies to determine student performance in their classroom, create unit curriculum plans that embed these strategies, and prepare to implement their plans during their student teaching.

To learn more about Lees-McRae’s extended sites, please visit

For more information about elementary education at Lees-McRae, please contact Robin Buchanan, chair of the Division of Education, at, or Bo Bennett, vice president of extended campus and online learning, at

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Heather Millsaps ’12 in her classroom at Laurel Park Elementary School
Heather Millsaps ’12 teaching her kindergarten class