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How UNC Asheville is shaping the next generation of educators 🍎

Meet three educators who’ve found success through UNC Asheville’s Education program.

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An aerial view of UNC Asheville's campus

Thinking about becoming a bulldog? Enrollment is currently open at UNC Asheville.

Photo by Reggie Tidwell

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UNC Asheville’s teacher licensure program helps prep future educators with the best tools + knowledge they’ll need to succeed in the classroom. Graduates of the four-year program earn both a bachelor’s degree in a specific subject and a teaching license, making them marketable in two areas.

Sounds like a good deal, right? Well, don’t just take our word for it — meet three educators from the program who are making an impact in the classroom (and the community).

Sarah Laws, Environmental Science teacher at Mountain Heritage High School (Class of 2012)

UNC Asheville grad Sarah Laws_UNC Asheville_AVL

Sarah teaches in the same classroom where she met her husband when they were both high school students.

Photo provided by UNC Asheville

Sarah always knew that she wanted to be a teacher. She didn’t know that she would become an award-winning teacherthe Yancey County Teacher of the Year 2022 — at the high school she attended as a student.

She’s grateful for the model of UNC Asheville’s Education Department. “I love the fact that I did comprehensive science with my biology degree,” she says. The well-rounded degree exposed her to chemistry, physics, environmental science, and Earth science, in addition to her beloved biology courses. Read her full story. 🔬

Shawn Winebrenner, Visual Arts teacher at Asheville Primary School (Class of 2019)

UNC Asheville grad Shawn Winebrenner teaches in front of a classroom or students

“I have lots of concern for the future of these young people, and I am trying to do my part to make sure that they get started in the best way possible,” Shawn says.

Photo provided by UNC Asheville

Shawn’s journey to the classroom wasn’t so straightforward. He graduated from the Art Institute of Atlanta in the early ‘90s and became a graphic designer. In 2008, he moved to Asheville and worked in makeup artistry.

His husband suggested he pursue teaching, a career that had long appealed to him. But that would mean going back to school. Enter: UNC Asheville. Shawn pursued teacher licensure and a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree — a challenging course of study, especially with the extra studio hours required, but it was all worth it to him.

“The classroom feels like home to me. That’s how I know I’m in the right place,” Shawn says. “I’m right where I’m supposed to be.” Read his full story. 🖼️

Anna Hernandez Mejia, current UNC Asheville student (Class of 2023)

A woman stands smiling at the camera with trees in the background

Anna hopes to start her career in her hometown, Charlotte, NC.

Photo provided by UNC Asheville

Anna is majoring in Sociology with a 9-12 Social Studies Licensure. She decided to attend UNC Asheville because of the smaller campus environment + the close distance to her home in Charlotte (a ~2-hour car ride).

“I was initially looking to stay closer to home, but I felt that UNC Asheville had more to offer in terms of personal and career interests,” Anna says.”With my degree, I hope to return to Charlotte to teach and volunteer with local organizations to address systemic inequities within education.”

How to enroll:

Thinking about becoming a bulldog? Enrollment is currently open at UNC Asheville. The deadline for Early Action II is Sun., Jan. 15, 2023, followed by the Regular Decision deadline on Wed., Feb. 1, 2023. Learn more about UNC Asheville’s Education program.*

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