By Peter Vankevich
After seven years, Ocracoke’s high school math teacher, Terry Burns, will retire at the end of the school year.
He was recently honored by the Hyde County Board of Education.
Terry’s career includes more than just teaching.
“I found it necessary to enter the Navy before completing college and qualified for nuclear propulsion, becoming first an electronics technician, and then a reactor operator,” he said. He later completed his bachelor’s degree in secondary education, social studies in 1980 at SUNY College at Cortland (NY).
Having trouble finding a teaching job, he worked in research and development at Mitel Networks, traveling between upstate New York and Ontario for many years.
Eventually, a family member who taught math in Pitt County, told him that teachers were needed in North Carolina so he headed here in 2004.
“Teaching Social Studies was crowded, but during one interview I mentioned that I was an electronics engineer,” Burns said. “Eyes suddenly sparkled, and roughly two hours later I had two offers to teach math in Pitt County.”
A few years later, he discovered Hyde County and applied for teaching positions at both Mattamuskeet and Ocracoke. Hyde County Superintendent Dr. Randolph Latimore, who was then the principal of Mattamuskeet, offered him a position. But Ocracoke also made an offer, which is the one he selected.
“Mr. Burn’s has an enthusiasm for the educational process and can be found in his classroom late in the evenings and on weekends preparing for class,” said Principle Walt Padgett. “He has a passion for the instructional process and a strong work ethic. He represents the highest ideals of scholarship. It is for these reasons he will be missed at Ocracoke School and we wish him only the best in his retirement.”
He was respected by his students. Jordan Novak, an Ocracoke junior, who said her favorite subject is math, thought he is one of the best teachers in that subject she has had.