Lisa Raymer Fortenberry – Class of 1993
Assistant Principal for Curriculum and Testing, East Burke High School

“I have wanted to be a teacher ever since I can remember. After teaching for several years, I felt the desire to have more of an impact on student lives, so I decided to go back to school to be an administrator.” With these words, Lisa Raymer Fortenberry expresses the sentiment of so many who have felt the call to become educators. In response to that call, she now serves as the Assistant Principal over Curriculum and Testing at East Burke High School.

“My duties – to name a few -- include scheduling classes and working on student schedules, overseeing Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) and 504 plans used for exceptional children, completing teacher observations and professional development plans (PDPs), helping organize faculty meetings and professional development for staff, supervising extra-curricular activities such as athletic events and concerts, keeping the master calendar updated, reviewing student transcripts, approving student enrollments, and organizing and overseeing testing.

“Educators face many challenges, especially involving time and salary. I spend anywhere from 60 to 80 hours a week at school and/or school events. It gets tiring and overwhelming, but seeing the kids giving their all on the field/court or in a concert recharges my heart. Educators as a whole are not paid enough. We are preparing tomorrow’s workers and leaders, yet get paid a minimal salary. Years ago, teacher salaries were competitive with other jobs. But as inflation and costs of living have increased and the cuts in budgets have hit education, salaries are nowhere near competitive with non-education professional careers.

“The rewards of being an educator are great, especially seeing the kids succeed in and out of the classroom and watching them walk across the stage at graduation. At times, former students will drop by to visit and let me know what they have done post high school, and I CHERISH those visits.”

Lisa earned a Bachelor’s degree in Secondary Math Education from UNC-Chapel Hill in 1997, a Master’s degree in School Administration from Appalachian State University in 2007, and an Education Specialist degree in Educational Leadership from Wingate University in 2014.

“I taught high school math from 1997 to 2006, mainly Algebra 1 and Geometry. I taught at East Burke High School from 2001 to 2006 just prior to going into school administration.

“I was Assistant Principal of Curriculum at both Patton High School and Draughn High School the year they opened, and I loved it. Then I worked for a couple of years as the Assistant Director of Testing for Burke County Public Schools. However, I missed the kids and went back into administration at the school level. I’m starting my 9th year as Assistant Principal at EBHS and love every minute of it.

“There were so many wonderful teachers from my time as a student at East Junior High and East Burke High that shaped me and my future that I’m sure I will leave someone out, but here’s a few that come to mind … Dr. Robert McAdams, who demonstrated both a humble spirit and a wealth of knowledge; Mrs. Anne Stephens, who held us to her high expectations and instilled determination in all her students; Mrs. Sherron Prewitt, who ingrained in us correct grammar and writing skills; and Mrs. Pat Bolick and Mr. Keith Queen, who cultivated my love for math.

“I have completed 25 years in education, so I’m starting to reach the end of this career. Right now, I’m trying to figure out what I want to do when I grow up.”

Published September 2022

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