Below are the stories of talented educators who chose GCS-ACT as the program to gain their NC teaching license. We invite you to hear firsthand from them as they share of their lateral entry teacher journey before, during, and after GCS-ACT!

Meet Abe Hege

Picture of Abe Hege
  • How long have you taught with Guilford County Schools?

    I am finishing up my ninth year with Guilford County Schools. I taught for six years in GCS with various schools including Welborn Middle, Swann Middle, and Allen Jay Prep. I have spent the last three years in an administrative role; two years as a Dean of Students with Allen Jay Prep and I currently serve as the Assistant Principal at Fairview Elementary.

    What you did professionally prior to becoming a teacher?

    I graduated in May 2009 and knew that I wanted to teach, but I didn’t have a teaching license. At that time, I was working various part-time jobs. One of the part time jobs that I had was working at Summerfield Elementary as an ACES group leader. I had a group of 2nd graders and the following year a group of 4th graders. It was here that I realized that I had a calling to teach and over the years realized building a positive school culture and making school fun was my true passion.

    Where did you go to college and what degree(s) did you earn?

    I graduated from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro with a Bachelor’s degree in English. After attending GCS-Act and teaching for a couple of years, I went back to school and received my Master’s degree in Educational Leadership and became licensed to become a k-12 principal.

    What teaching positions have you held in the past and/or do you currently hold as a teacher since joining Guilford County Schools as a lateral entry teacher? (EC, Math I, Biology, 7th grade ELA, 6th Grade Math, etc.)

    I got my start as an 8th grade Language Arts teacher at Southeast Guilford Middle and I started a week before Christmas break for a teacher that had left the profession! Since then, I have taught the following:

    • 8th Grade Language Arts @ Welborn Middle
    • 6th Grade Language Arts @ Swann Middle
    • 5th Grade Language Arts/Social Studies @ Allen Jay Prep
    • 7th Grade Language Arts @ Allen Jay Prep

    What drove your initial interest and motivation to pursue teaching as a career?

    School didn’t come easy for me. In 3rd grade, I was diagnosed with ADHD and had a 504 plan to help provide support and interventions for me at an early age. I remember the struggle and I remember the GREAT teachers that I had over the years and the impact that they had on me. When I started working at ACES with Guilford County Schools, I knew then that I wanted to jump into teaching head first. My goal was simple: make school as much fun, innovative, and inspiring for kids on a daily basis!

    While you were in the program, what role(s) did GCS-ACT play in supporting you to become a more skillful teacher who was able to cause student learning?

    GCS-ACT molded me into the educator that I am today. The opportunities that I had to learn from master teachers and have a personal coach to guide me through my first few years of teaching was invaluable. Also, being in GCS-ACT helped me network with people that I’ve now known for almost 10 years that are spread all over the county.

    Looking back, in what way(s) did GCS-ACT establish a foundation for you to excel professionally following your graduation from the program?

    The people that I met through the networking events with GCS-Act has been a key part in my success in GCS. Being able to network and build relationships as a new teacher early was a big plus. Meeting various district officials and administrators and even other teachers has opened doors for me that would have never been opened without that initial relationship being built.

    What professional achievements have you experienced in your teaching career with Guilford County Schools?

    I moved into my first administrative role after 5 and a half years of teaching. In my first administrative role, I was able to help lead the helm of the innovative Allen Jay Prep where I led morning rallies for 400+ students and staff daily and had the opportunity to meet now Governor Roy Cooper, former Governor Pat McCrory, and current State Superintendent Mark Johnson. I have had the opportunity to co-write and publish a book called The Limitless School with principal and former Ron Clark Academy teacher Adam Dovico. We published the book with Dave Burgess, the New York Times bestseller of Teach Like A Pirate. This year, I have had the opportunity to cut major referrals down 61% and cut all referrals down 31%. Also, we achieved an 88% approval that our school is a great place to learn and work on the 2018 TWCS. This number is up 11% from 2016 and up 13% from 2014.

Meet Brooke Sumner

Brooke Sumner picture
  • Special Note:  On September 20, 2018, Brooke Sumner became the district teacher of the year for Guilford County Schools!  GCS-ACT is thankful for the example she continues to set for our past graduates and current participants.  Brooke is a shining example of how with enough hard work, dedication, and love for students, there is no limit to the positive impact a lateral entry teacher can make on student's lives!

    How long have you taught with Guilford County Schools?

    7 years

    What did you do professionally prior to becoming a teacher?

    Advertising-Media Planner/Buyer

    Where did you go to college and what degree(s) did you earn?

    University of Georgia—Bachelors degree in Journalism 

    What teaching positions have you held in the past and/or do you currently hold as a teacher since joining Guilford County Schools as a lateral entry teacher? 

    AP English Literature

    English 10

    IB English 11

    What drove your initial interest and motivation to pursue teaching as a career?

    I felt able to connect with teens and wanted a career in which I could make a positive impact on my community.  As a mother, it appealed to me to work the schedule as my children’s school.

    While you were in the program, what role(s) did GCS-ACT play in supporting you to become a more skillful teacher who was able to cause student learning?

    GCS-ACT provided me with the tools I needed to succeed.  Initially struggling, the GCS classes taught me not only strategies to manage my classes, but also how to develop purposeful lessons to engage my students.  Collaborating with fellow lateral entry teachers helped me feel as if I wasn’t alone and hearing their stories and advice inspired me to finish the year strong.

    Looking back, in what way(s) did GCS-ACT establish a foundation for you to excel professionally following your graduation from the program?

    Both as a participant and a facilitator, every single time I have attended a GCS-ACT event, I have learned and come back to my classroom as a better teacher.  Seriously.  I appreciate the time and extensive effort that the GCS-ACT team puts into creating relevant, meaningful sessions that truly teach and support lateral entry educators.  Through the years, GCS-ACT has provided me with numerous opportunities to continue my growth as a teacher and leader.   Through developing materials and co-facilitating sessions, I get to share my knowledge and experience with other teachers within our district, while honing my skills and building my resume.

    What professional achievements have you experienced in your teaching career with Guilford County Schools?

    -Awarded Horace Mann Lincoln Fellowship in 2013

    -English department chair 4 years

    -Served on school leadership team 3 years

    -Lead teacher for English II

    -Piloted and trained the staff on a no-grading system

    -National Board Certified Teacher

    -High Point Central TOY 2018

    -Top 10 Guilford County Schools District Teacher of the Year Finalist 2018

Meet Caitlin McMullen

Caitlin McMullen picture
  • Special Note:  Caitlin McMullen was the Rookie Teacher of the Year winner at her school and made it as a 2018 Top 5 Finalist for Rookie Teacher of the Year for the district!  As a participant in GCS-ACT, Caitlin modeled a hard work-ethic and focus that set her apart.  We are thankful for the impact Caitlin has and will continue to have on students in our district.

    How long have you taught with Guilford County Schools?

    This is my first year.

    What you did professionally prior to becoming a teacher?

    Teaching assistant.

    Where did you go to college and what degree(s) did you earn?  

    I attended UNC-Wilmington with a degree in Psychology.

    What teaching positions have you held in the past and/or do you currently hold as a teacher since joining Guilford County Schools as a lateral entry teacher?  

    EC-General Curriculum, K-5

    What drove your initial interest and motivation to pursue teaching as a career?

    I love the relationships teaching allows you to have with students. I also have a personal love for learning and I desired to share that with others.

    While you were in the program, what role(s) did GCS-ACT play in supporting you to become a more skillful teacher who was able to cause student learning?

    GCS-ACT gave me the tools I needed to be a successful teacher. The program equipped me for the realities of teaching- lesson planning and behavior management. Most of all, the program taught me how to build meaningful relationships with my students that would support student learning and 100% engagement in the classroom. This training has been invaluable.

    What professional achievements have you experienced in your teaching career with Guilford County Schools?

    I led PLC’s at my school, attended a beginning EC teacher training that occurred monthly. I was nominated as Rookie Teacher of the Year at my school and I am also a finalist for Rookie Teacher of the Year for Guilford County.


Daylonda Lee
  • How long have you taught with Guilford County Schools?

    5 years

    What did you do professionally prior to becoming a teacher?

    Before I started teaching, I was attending College at North Carolina Agriculture and Technical State University. I also worked Full time at Walmart in the following departments:  pharmacy, automotive, pets, and paper goods.

    Where did you go to college and what degree(s) did you earn?

    I attended North Carolina Agriculture and Technical State University and got a Bachelor degree of Arts in Women Studies. I also attended The University of North Carolina at Greensboro and got a Master degree in Education with a concentration in middle and secondary science.

    What teaching positions have you held in the past and/or do you currently hold as a teacher since joining Guilford County Schools as a lateral entry teacher? 

    Biology, Earth science, and IB Biology

    What drove your initial interest and motivation to pursue teaching as a career?

    I had switch majors my senior year of undergrad and just had my son.  Not knowing what job availability would look like for that particular major, I quickly pursuit becoming an educator and helping children succeed. I was connected with the Stem Recruit in Guilford county schools and began pursuing my teaching career. I felt like at the time, I really did not have a choice. I just knew I wanted more for myself.

    While you were in the program, what role(s) did GCS-ACT play in supporting you to become a more skillful teacher who was able to cause student learning?

    I was under great leadership of four coaches that help guide my effectiveness in my classroom. My personal coach was Lisa Sonricker. She would come see me at least 2x a month and observe how I delivered instruction to my students. The feedback I received was the best support I could truly ask for. It allowed me to quickly reflect and implement change that next day.

    Looking back, in what way(s) did GCS-ACT establish a foundation for you to excel professionally following your graduation from the program?

    They helped me remain confident while teaching my students and gave me knowledge of different techniques that are important when running a class. I am also to write detailed lessons and effectively assess my students. GCS-ACT also helped change my mindset on how students are going to learn from a fixed frame to a growth mindset.

    What achievements have you experienced in your teaching career with Guilford County Schools?

    • Elected as Science representative of the School Improvement Team
    • Leading Biology PLC’s
    • Co-Chair of Culture and Climate
    • Chair of PBIS
    • Nominated as 2017-2018 Teacher of the Year
    • Alumni Teacher of the Year for GCS-ACT

Meet Kristin Skordahl

Kristin Skordahl picture
  • How long have you taught with Guilford County Schools?

    3.5 years

    What you did professionally prior to becoming a teacher?

    Prior to becoming a teacher, I worked in fitness management in addition to youth athletic coaching.

    Where did you go to college and what degree(s) did you earn?

    I graduated from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication Studies.

    What teaching positions have you held in the past and/or do you currently hold as a teacher since joining Guilford County Schools as a lateral entry teacher? 

    Exceptional Children’s department teacher (Occupational Course of Study, Adapted and Inclusion)

    What drove your initial interest and motivation to pursue teaching as a career?

    I have always enjoyed working with kids, particularly teenagers, and felt the school environment would allow me an opportunity to make a positive impact on their futures.

    While you were in the program, what role(s) did GCS-ACT play in supporting you to become a more skillful teacher who was able to cause student learning?

    GCS-ACT provided me not only the tangible tools and resources to become a great teacher, but also connected me with a strong network of teachers and mentors to support me through my teaching career. My Lateral Entry coaches have given me priceless wisdom and encouragement that I hope to pass on to my students.

    Looking back, in what way(s) did GCS-ACT establish a foundation for you to excel professionally following your graduation from the program?

    GCS-ACT maintains contact with previous graduates and provides opportunities to build on their teaching skills and grow their professional resume. Opportunities include invitations to co-teach future lateral entry courses, present at teacher institutes and attend continuing education via offering professional development courses.

Meet Shan Carter

Shan Carter
  • How long have you taught with Guilford County Schools?
    I have taught with GCS for 3 years.

    How would you describe what you did professionally prior to becoming a teacher?
    Directly before becoming a licensed teacher, I was a teacher assistant and long-term substitute.

    Where did you go to college and what degree(s) did you earn?
    I graduated from North Carolina Central University with a Bachelor’s of Science in Family and Consumer Sciences.

    What teaching positions have you held in the past and/or do you currently hold as a teacher since joining Guilford County Schools as a lateral entry teacher? 
    I have Math 6, Accelerated Math 6 and AIMM 6. I also teach the Bridge to Math I virtual course for the Department of Blended Learning.

    What drove your initial interest and motivation to pursue teaching as a career?
    As a product of inner city Greensboro, I desired to make a social change within the community that I am not too far removed. I strongly believe that education is the great equalizer and that master educators are the firm foundation that shapes humanity. I grew up in Hampton Homes and Ray Warren Homes while attending Title I schools. My only source of an optimal outcome reclined in the hands of my teachers. GCS ACT made it possible for me to teach the child I once was.

    While you were in the program, what role(s) did GCS-ACT play in supporting you to become a more skillful teacher who was able to cause student learning?
    GCS ACT supported me by teaching me the foundation skills and concepts required to be a master teacher by providing a rigorous course of study; on-the-job coaching and feedback; professional development opportunities through drive-ins and Spring Institute; influencing instructional rounds throughout my school building; personalized planning and feedback sessions with my coach; and creating a supportive community and family between each cohort.

    Looking back, in what way(s) did GCS-ACT establish a foundation for you to excel professionally following your graduation from the program?
    GCS ACT “left no stone unturned”, as I was cultivated as a teacher and catapulted as a leader. The program transformed my entire perception on education, which has changed the dynamics of pedagogy and revolutionized the culture of education. Matriculating through the program made teaching enjoyable and in return, my building benefited from that. My students believe in and enjoy learning. My colleagues try non-traditional approaches and step outside of the box. My community’s belief in education has been restored and their support has increased. My administrators believe in me because of the gift that GCS ACT has built. Mr. Freeman once said, “Mr. Carter, you are the “poster child” for GCS ACT!”

    What achievements have you experienced in your teaching career with Guilford County Schools?
    I served as the Student Council and Ambassadors Advisor and serve as a member on the Superintendent Teacher Advisory Council for Hairston Middle School. I serve as facilitator for GCS ACT and as a virtual teacher for the Department of Blended Learning. I have a model classroom for student engagement and classroom management. I lead PLCs within my building.

Meet Nicole Carter

Nicole Carter
  • How long have you taught with Guilford County Schools?

    1.5 years.

    How would you describe what you did professionally prior to becoming a teacher?

    I was an executive leader at a fortune 200 corporation.

    Where did you go to college and what degree(s) did you earn?

    I received my BSBA from East Carolina University with a concentration in Finance.  I also have an MBA degree from Averett University.

    What teaching positions have you held in the past and/or do you currently hold as a teacher since joining Guilford County Schools as a lateral entry teacher? 

    I teach Middle School CTE (career and technical education) - Business

    What drove your initial interest and motivation to pursue teaching as a career?

    I have always had a passion for sharing my experiences with youth.  A close friend encouraged me to consider turning my passion into a career.

    While you were in the program, what role(s) did GCS-ACT play in supporting you to become a more skillful teacher who was able to cause student learning?

    GCS-ACT gave me the tools that I needed to make an immediate impact in my classroom.  Each weekly class provided techniques that I could implement the very next day.  I often encourage others to consider this route as oppose to spending more money on information that may or may not be used in the classroom.  I can honestly say that 95% of the information I learned in GCS-ACT, I implement in my classes DAILY!!!!

    Looking back, in what way(s) did GCS-ACT establish a foundation for you to excel professionally following your graduation from the program?

    GCS-ACT has helped me prepare for my daily classes in a way that allows me to know almost immediately if my students understood the content taught.  This knowledge is being shared with other teachers (both new and veteran) to help them excel in their classrooms as well.

    What professional achievements have you experienced in your teaching career with Guilford County Schools?

    I have been asked to lead several staff training sessions and I was a 2018 GCS-ACT Teacher of the Year.