Tidewater Teacher May-June 2009


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Donna Morris, Executive Vice President, Hampton Roads Partnership, shares her "class reunion" memories with Dory Suttmiller, Tidewater Teacher Magazine's Publisher and Editor.

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Tidewater Teacher May-June 2009

  1. 1. Class Reunion EXECUTIVE VICE-PRESIDENT By Dory Suttmiller HAMPTON ROADS PARTNERSHIP Donna Morris MANOR HIGH SCHOOl: CLASS OF 1973 Which teacher from your youth stands out in your memory? What made this teacher Biography: Jim Roberts was a fresh out of special and/or unique? Donna S. Morris has been in organization management for college 12th grade teacher in 1973. 30 years. Since 1996 she has been with the Hampton Roads He taught a small government class Partnership, where she currently serves as Executive Vice President. Past positions of about a dozen students, making include Director of Alumni Relations at Old Dominion University and various man- it interesting by relating his lesson agement posts in the Portsmouth, Hampton Roads, and Virginia Peninsula Chambers plans to current events. His teaching of Commerce. Donna is past chair of the Virginia Beach Community Services Board showed us a way to deal with govern- and currently serves on the Together We Can Foundation Board, a group focused mental change that affected us. on assisting youth aging out of foster care. Donna graduated from Old Dominion In that year, the city school system University in 1977 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Special Education. She merged I.C. Norcom and Woodrow is a Portsmouth native and currently resides in Virginia Beach. Wilson High Schools students into the new Manor High School. I was no longer a Wilson President, but describe as currently “back loaded Education Centers instead a Manor Mustang. I was in the sense that it is weak on cash (www.nhgs.tec.va.us), owned bummed. I left many friends behind compensation, especially up front and operated by six Peninsula at Wilson. But Mr. Roberts helped and heavy on pensions and health school divisions. Southeastern Co- us deal with that in his government benefits for the retired teacher.” Its operative Educational Programs class. Today, Dr. Roberts is Assistant essence is, “the system is fine if you (www.secep.net ) serves eight school Superintendent for Chesapeake want to retain the teachers with the divisions on the Southside of our Public Schools. most years of service, but makes lit- region serving special education and tle sense if you want to attract young alternative education students. people to the profession which will In 2000, the Hampton Roads Strong schools are a vital part allow them to afford to buy a home Partnership initiated Smart Region of a healthy economy. How can or support a family.” Their recom- Hampton Roads. Funding cuts in the school systems of Hampton mendation is to make retirement the governor’s budget eliminated our Roads obtain and retail good benefits comparable to private sector Regional Competitiveness Program, teachers that will help our firms and use the money saved to At the Hampton Roads Partnership, which was the primary source of region flourish? increase teachers’ cash compensation. we have a strong interest in education funds for “Smart Region”, but starting with Pre-K. Building a specific collaborative efforts were strong workforce is vital to make started that continue today. The To compete effectively in our region economically competitive. mission of Smart Region was to pull today’s economy, cities and While working with others to build a together disparate efforts throughout counties must find ways to competitive workforce, I discovered the region and coordinate them into work together for mutual the work of the National Center a more purposeful, cohesive whole. benefit. In your opinion, could on Education and the Economy, Through the program, we worked the school systems of Hampton (NCEE). Their mission is to develop with several regional education Roads also benefit by working proposals for building the world-class They absolutely will benefit from organizations including the Consor- cooperatively? education and training system needed cooperation, and they are cooperat- tium for Interactive Instruction to be a world-class economy. One ing today. Examples of successful (CII) and the Hampton Roads proposal suggests changing the shape cooperation include the nationally Public Education Services Agency of teacher compensation, which they recognized New Horizons Regional (HRPESA) to advance mutual goals.