Wendy Childers Reid – Class of 1987
Eighth Grade Science and Social Studies Teacher, East Burke Middle School

The middle school years are such an important transition period for young people. It is a time of great social and emotional growth as well as educational development. Students learn during these years to form good study habits, to begin to find their skills and interests, and to define their voices as individuals. Educational studies have shown that this is a time when young people begin to look to adults outside of the home for guidance and leadership. Consequently, middle school teachers play a crucial role in shaping young lives and directing them toward success. Wendy Childers Reid is one such teacher who has been instrumental in the education and the lives of students who have gone on to thrive at East Burke High and in various careers and life experiences.

Wendy teaches eighth grade science and social studies at East Burke Middle School and explains that she has “now taught long enough to be teaching the children of some of my first students. Honestly, I pursued this career to have a better schedule for my children, who were ages one and four when I started back to college. Prior to teaching, I worked as a bank teller, and it became very obvious that wasn’t the lifelong career I was looking for. I think any job that helps promote your work ethic will help shape who we are. Luckily, I have parents who pushed me into the work force and helped shape that work ethic as well.”

Education was certainly a good career choice for Wendy. “I love teaching, even though sometimes the ‘extras’ like paperwork and other duties are tedious. My heart hurts for the children whose only safe space is at school. Being physically distant from the students was the hardest part about remote learning. The challenges are the societal changes where no one seems to be accountable (but the teacher). The rewards are when former students come and tell me about their successes.”

After attending Catawba Valley Community College, Wendy earned her bachelor’s degree from Appalachian State University.

“While I was a student at East Burke High, Lillian Pendley, Barbara Bliss, Sherron Prewitt, and Roy Sweezy were a huge influence on me. I got involved in as many clubs as possible (as a way to get out of class on picture day!), but the Humanities group and French class group were my home.”

New teachers need encouragement and support, and for Wendy, “Nancy and Doris Poteat, as well as Sallie Black, served as wonderful mentors and friends.”

After a long career as an educator, role model, and inspiration for a generation of young people, Wendy plans to continue being an active community member and a strong support for her family, including her grandchildren. There is no doubt that her legacy will be remembered and treasured by countless students whose lives she has touched.

Published December 2021

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