Eastern North Carolina opened as one of the original Teach For America sites in 1990. Yet despite years of progress, a child’s skin color and ZIP code still predicts his or her future.
To meet the enormous need for educational leadership in rural communities, we will nearly double our corps size and create initiatives to prepare our alumni for school leadership and advocacy roles.
About Eastern North Carolina
If you travel through the 10 counties that make up the Eastern North Carolina region, you’ll see abandoned mills and factories, relics of the industries that once boomed in these small communities. This area was once thriving, but the decline of textile production and other manufacturing in the region led to widespread unemployment and impoverishment. Today, 25% of children in the state—over 500,000 in number—live in poverty, and the rural communities of Eastern North Carolina are home to the highest concentrations of impoverished families. As a result, there are huge disparities in educational opportunities for the kids in the region: 47% of African American students, 52% of Hispanic students, and 48% of economically disadvantaged students in grades 3-8 are performing below their grade levels.
Still, Eastern North Carolina is a breathtaking and inspiring place, and its communities are working toward unprecedented success in classrooms by developing leaders in education, and investing in long term changes. Eastern North Carolina was one of Teach For America’s original sites in 1990, and we have strong roots in the communities here. This allows us to cluster corps members together in schools so they build strong relationships with each other and with other teachers both in and out of school.
Today, 230 corps members teach at every grade level, and almost 500 alumni lead in a variety of sectors across the region. Independent studies in North Carolina have demonstrated that our teachers have an immediate and pronounced effect on student achievement, and with the opportunities provided by the expansion in community partnerships across the region, there has never been a more exciting time to fight for the kids of Eastern North Carolina.
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Prior to joining Teach For America, she served as Community Program Officer at Triangle Community Foundation, where she developed innovative initiatives to increase philanthropy. Robyn has been active in local boards and task forces focused on education, public health, and environmental advocacy. In 2009, she was honored as one of Triangle Business Journal’s 40 Leaders Under 40. Robyn received a B.A. in English and a Master of Public Administration from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She lives in Durham with her husband and two children.