In August 2017, alumnus Brian Bettis became principal at Bethel Elementary School in Watauga County where he says he first discovered his passion for teaching.
Bettis worked in Bethel School as an intern while earning his bachelor’s degree in elementary education.
The internship experience “is really what led me to discover my passion for working with children,” Bettis said.
Growing up, Bettis had wanted to become an emergency room physician. His high school history teacher inspired him to consider teaching instead. “I wanted to be the next Mr. Brown,” Bettis recalled.
The Reich College of Education prepared him well for the classroom, he said, especially teaching the importance of meeting the needs of all his students.
“I had to work to educate the whole child, meeting academic and social needs,” he said of his early years as a kindergarten teacher. “This was a responsibility I took seriously. If a child’s kindergarten experience was a bad one, they would have a long educational career ahead of them.”
Why should prospective students choose Appalachian?
“The professors at Appalachian certainly work to provide students with a balance of content knowledge and instructional practices that can be used to teach this content,” Bettis said. “They also model the importance of building relationships with students and their families.”
“I cannot say enough about the preparation that I was given as a pre-service educator. This foundation is what helped prepare me for a successful career in education.”
Watauga County Schools contributed to this report.
An educational leader
Brian Bettis has earned three degrees from Appalachian:
- a bachelor’s degree in elementary education in 2005
- a master’s degree in elementary education in 2008
- an Ed.S. degree in educational administration in 2016
He has taught as an adjunct faculty member at UNC Charlotte and Cleveland Community College. He regularly leads seminars for other educators at professional conferences and the North Carolina Center for the Advancement of Teaching.