Pioneer’s Legacy Gift Lifts Future Teachers

Pioneer’s Legacy Gift Lifts Future Teachers
Posted on 02/08/2021
Pioneer's Legacy Gift Lifts Future Teachers

Kevin Smith, February 2021

NOTE: February 8, 2021 is the 20th anniversary of Louise Hogsed's death, and we are grateful to the Hogsed family for sharing so much information to prepare this story.

The story of two up-and-coming preschool teachers in Transylvania County Schools begins almost 50 years ago, when Louise Hogsed became one of the first public kindergarten teachers in this community.

Today, thanks to gifts in Hogsed’s memory and through the T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood North Carolina Scholarship Program, Keli’i “Rabbit” Krueger and Claire Sikes are on their way to being certified teachers for pre-kindergarten in Transylvania County Schools, and their work is sorely needed. [See their reflections included below to learn more about their respective journeys.]

T.E.A.C.H. stands for Teacher Education And Compensation Helps, a program of the Child Care Services Association with organizations in 24 states and the District of Columbia.

According to Louise Stroup, Hogsed and fellow teacher Ophelia Morgan were the first public kindergarten teachers in Transylvania County Schools, starting their roles at Rosman Elementary in 1974. Stroup briefly taught alongside Hogsed in Rosman as well, and belongs to Delta Kappa Gamma International Society for Key Women Educators, Gamma Upsilon Chapter.

Louise Hogsed, 1976 Rosman Elementary School yearbook

“Of her 44 years of teaching,” said Stroup, “the last 17 were in kindergarten, which is where her heart was, according to her family. When Louise died, the family requested funds for educational scholarship in lieu of flowers. That had been discussed with Louise before her death, and the family honored her request.” 

Gamma Upsilon Chapter of Delta Kappa Gamma regularly provides support for preservice teachers through scholarships and grants-in-aid, said chapter treasurer Frances Bradburn. This gift, however, was different in its scope as well as its intent.

“The family wanted to do something special with this gift,” Bradburn said, “and our organization wanted to help these women finish their degrees and certification. More than that, adding our support to other available funds, we were hoping to seed a conversation with partners to empower more teacher assistants after them to take this important step.”

Kreuger and Sikes study in the recently formed Early Childhood Education licensure program at Brevard College, learning from experienced childhood educators Dr. Megan Keiser and Elizabeth Fuller. With primary support from the T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood Scholarship, a number of partners came together around the gift in honor of Mrs. Hogsed to enable the two students to continue their program.

Gamma Upsilon Chapter provided a one-time gift worth $850 to cover both recipients, matched by Transylvania County Schools, all to supplement the award from T.E.A.C.H. and scholarships from Brevard College.

Since the 1990’s, roughly 28% of North Carolina’s early childhood (preschool) teachers in North Carolina said they received T.E.A.C.H. funds in their career; in 2017-18, over 2,100 students in 92 counties received preservice education scholarships through the program. 

Nationally, T.E.A.C.H. invested $42.3 million in 18,040 students and helped them earn 9-10% more in compensation. Half of recipients nationally were first-generation college students.

Dr. Betsy Burrows, Director of Teacher Education at Brevard College, said the school’s “TA to Teacher” program for early childhood emerged as a response to the need — locally, statewide, and nationally — for preschool educators who are themselves well educated.

“All the data shows that early years are the most important time in social-emotional and cognitive development,” Burrows said. “We don’t have enough teachers, and they need to be just as educated as someone teaching 12th grade physics. It adversely affects our county’s economy not to have good quality child care, and we can do this.” 

Burrows said that adding the “gold standard” of teacher licensure to their existing early childhood program was a priority, and the involvement of North Caroina’s  T.E.A.C.H. program creates opportunities for many partners to accomplish more together. 

Typically, a childcare center sponsors an employee with 5% of tuition, the student pays 5%, and T.E.A.C.H. pays 90% through a scholarship. Burrows said, “for us, in a small liberal arts college, it really does take a village to support these teachers.”

Delta Kappa Gamma gift in memory of Louise Hogsed launches teaching careersFor Sikes and Krueger, Delta Kappa Gamma’s Hogsed scholarship joined with support from Transylvania County Schools to trigger the T.E.A.C.H. award means “they have no debt from school, preschools get better qualified teachers with the gold standard of teacher licensure, and they make a good living doing what they love,” said Burrows.

Audrey Reneau, Transylvania County Schools Preschool Programs Director, said the need for high-quality early childhood education is persistent, and well-known. 

According to “State of the Young Child in Transylvania County” prepared by a public-private preschool task force, 38% of students entering kindergarten in 2015 had not attended any child care or preschool program, and 78% of those students tested below or far below proficiency at the beginning of that school year.

“We know children benefit from preparation for kindergarten,” said Reneau, ”but we also see the shortage of qualified teachers with B-K (Birth-Kindergarten) or Pre-K licensure.”

“We all love these children, and we understand the Importance of laying a foundation to give these students the opportunity to be successful. Claire and Rabbit are driven, passionate about the field they are pursuing as a career, and with the help of Brevard College where they will earn their degree, this is a great benefit for us,” said Reneau.

According to Dr. Brian Weaver, Assistant Superintendent and Senior Director for Human Resources, there is widespread recognition of a teacher shortage looming due to the gap in the Teaching Fellows program and other mechanisms, along with decline in enrollment in education licensure programs. This sharpens the focus on a strong relationship between Transylvania County Schools and Brevard College, which also relies on support from local partners.

“In just a couple years, we expect to have a larger applicant pool,” said Weaver, noting the resurgence of the Teaching Fellows program and the uncertain effect on enrollment from COVID going forward. 

“We just want to emphasize the value of our great partnership with Brevard College,” Weaver said. “We work closely together on professional development opportunities and student-teacher placements. A strong relationship with a local college that prizes teacher licensure pays dividends for all of us. One way we see that is through hiring several recent BC grads who have become excellent teachers for us.”

Reneau said a key benefit to the school system is when promising candidates become teachers for preschools at Brevard Elementary, Rosman Elementary, and T.C. Henderson School of Science and Technology, “and they know our programs, with all the ins-and-outs of child development preparation under their belt.”

Burrows highlighted the case of Keli’i Krueger, who is student teaching in spring 2021. She received a neuroscience degree in 2000, later enrolling at Blue Ridge Community College in 2009, then Brevard College in 2019. With 24 post-baccalaureate hours plus student teaching, Krueger will find herself on the path to being a Lead Teacher.

“A college degree makes better early childhood educators,” Burrows added. “When it comes to high-quality reading and math instruction, not just anyone can do this in the way that every student needs. We need our best and brightest working with these children.”

NC TEACH Impact Infographic

Weaver remarked that one cornerstone of the T.E.A.C.H. collaboration relies on time for observation and internships, paid for by the school system. Reneau added that this connection is even stronger when TA’s have years of experience in the district’s preschool system.

“You learn in a classroom some things you can never learn out of a textbook,” said Reneau.  “Real life experience alongside quality teachers in our preschool classrooms opens up the opportunity for us to hire team members who know and appreciate the uniqueness of our programs — meeting children’s academic, social-emotional, and developmental needs in our system.”

Building on information from the Hogsed family, Stroup noted that during her own classroom career from the mid-1980s until 2008, there was always at least one Hogsed family member teaching in Transylvania County Schools. 

She said the Hogsed family took pride in the length and impact of Louise’s teaching career, and that before her death, Hogsed had already talked with her family about creating a lasting legacy and meaningful impact through education.

“It was their legacy, their lifeblood,” Stroup said. “Dawson, Carol, Don, Sharon, and of course Louise, a leading figure. It was her passion, this love for kindergarten. She spent most of her life there, and she was involved in planning the first public kindergarten.” 

Bradburn said that an award this large kindled the passion of Gamma Upsilon Chapter members. She reflected on the value of the partnership and investment in memory of a teacher who not only blazed a trail in early childhood education, but also helped to form the local chapter from early days, serving as a founder and president.

“With the right project, we saw a huge opportunity to change the lives of two teachers. This is important for two reasons. We find it exciting to support Transylvania County Schools and students who want to teach in TCS. We like to support students who teach anywhere but it is an added benefit to support those making a difference for our students in TCS. 

“And we are pleased to honor someone who did so much in teaching children for so long in Transylvania County Schools, a service that has always been near and dear to her heart and her family. We need to thank the Hogsed family for being willing to make such a difference in these women’s lives, and in the lives of our community’s children.”

Learn about Gamma Upsilon Chapter at www.gammaupsilonnc.weebly.com, or contact Chapter President Christi Whitworth at gammaupsilonchapternc@gmail.com. Information about the NC T.E.A.C.H. Scholarship is online at www.childcareservices.org/programs/teach-north-carolina.


Keli’i “Rabbit” Krueger

Keli'i and Kitra Krueger, Transylvania County SchoolsI have worked with young children and their families for over twenty years in a variety of settings — as an assistant in preschool rooms, and most recently working for six years as the Children's Program Coordinator for The Family Place of Transylvania County. 

Recently I felt called back to the classroom environment. I truly hoped to be at a place that values education and has a trusted relationship with the greater community, and I was lucky enough to find such a place at the ‘Cub's Den’ Pre-K classroom in T.C. Henderson School of Science and Technology, where I work as a teaching assistant. 

At the same time, I have been working on my B-K (Birth to Kindergarten) teaching license for the past ten years. Meeting requirements has been a slow process for me, as a working single parent. This school year I am finally finishing my teaching licensure program at Brevard College. 

The NC T.E.A.C.H. Scholarship in partnership with Transylvania County Schools and Brevard College has made it possible for me to pay for my final year of schooling. The main award covers 90% of my tuition and book costs, TCS covers 5%, and I pay 5% myself. 

This is a new partnership for TCS, and luckily the Gamma Upsilon Chapter of Delta Kappa Gamma stepped in to cover some of the cost as well through a scholarship in memory of Louise Hogsed, one of the first two kindergarten teachers at Rosman Elementary. 

It is my hope to continue the outstanding legacy started by Ms. Hogsed by teaching our youngest students in Transylvania County. This partnership has brought many people to work together, and I am so thankful to each and every one. 

I finished up my last two Brevard College courses in fall semester 2020 and expect to complete my student teaching in the spring 2021. I am beyond excited to begin the next step of my professional career.


Claire Sikes

Claire Sikes, Transylvania County SchoolsWhen I started college I thought I would be an elementary school art teacher. After my first year of college, I realized I didn't have the personal internal drive for art. 

I'd always thought about being a teacher, and the more I thought about it, the more I realized that no one looks at your art degree if you're an artist but they sure do if you want to be a teacher. 

The following semester I took my first early childhood class. My mom encouraged me to do so, saying that early childhood education was an up-and-coming field and that high-quality certified teachers would be needed. So I took the class, and I fell in love. 

After graduating college, I worked at the Transylvania County Boys and Girls Club where I gained many valuable skills and confidence in myself as a future teacher. What I learned from the Boys and Girls Club was that teaching and working is about so much more than learning a program. it's about meeting the kids where they are, and loving on them and helping them to grow as people. 

In the fall of 2019, I started back at Brevard College as a post-baccalaureate student to get my B-K (Birth to Kindergarten) licensure. Shortly after that, I started working at the Pre-K in Rosman Elementary School. 

Every day I go to work at RES, I feel so lucky to be surrounded by such great teachers and mentors, and to be in a place where I can learn and grow as a teacher. 

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Photos:

Louise Hogsed

Group Photo: Partners and students celebrate a gift from Gamma Upsilon Chapter of Delta Kappa Gamma in memory of Louise Hogsed, enabling the NC T.E.A.C.H. Scholarship award. Back row (from left): Louise Stroup, Dr. Betsy Burrows, Dr. Brian Weaver, Christi Whitworth (Chapter president). Front row (from left): Keli’i “Rabbit” Krueger, Kitra Hokupa'a Krueger, and Claire Sikes.

NC T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood Scholarship infographic (T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood® National Center)

Keli’i “Rabbit” Krueger and daughter Kitra

Claire Sikes

Delta Kappa Gamma gift in memory of Louise Hogsed launches teaching careers

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