School Employees Kick Off School Year At Five County Stadium

Benson Middle School staff show their excitement for the new school year at Convocation 2017: JoCo 2020. On the front row (from left) are Lamantha Anthony, Jennifer Pate, Ebony Mckoy, Marica Rawls, Autumn Best, Takisha Henry, and Natasha Brown. On the middle row are Veronica Smith, Sheila Williams, Idesha McDougald, Ladonna Powers, and Kay Holmes. On the top row are Justin Jeffres and Principal Ron Anthony.

Thousands of Johnston County Public Schools employees marked the start of the 2017-2018 school year on Wednesday with the motivational event, Convocation 2017: JoCo 2020.

In order to accommodate the district’s nearly 5,000 employees, JCPS partnered with Five County Stadium to hold the event at the home of the Mudcats.

“Convocation is a pep rally for our Johnston County Public Schools employees to get them excited for the school year,” said Dr. Ross Renfrow, Superintendent of Johnston County Public Schools. “As we prepared for the convocation we wanted to launch Phase II of JoCo 2020, which focuses on teachers in the classroom building relationships, sharing relevant information, and doing it in innovative ways.”

JCPS Superintendent Dr. Ross Renfrow (left) stands with Joe Kremer (center), Vice President and General Manager of the Carolina Mudcats, and Michael C. Wooten (right), Senior Vice President Four Oaks Bank and Johnston County Board of Education Chairman.

All JCPS staff members were encouraged to attend the convocation to celebrate the beginning of the school year. Wednesday was the first day that teachers and many faculty returned to their school after summer break.

“It was so exciting seeing everyone here, from teachers, faculty, to custodians, wanting to make a difference for kids,” said Courtney Ireland, a JCPS alumna and first year teacher at Swift Creek Middle.

Special guest speaker, entertainer, and best-selling author Curtis Zimmerman delivered an inspirational message to JCPS staff.

Special guest speaker, entertainer, and best-selling author Curtis Zimmerman (left) teaches Benson Middle chorus teacher Ronald Cornelous (right) how to juggle.

“Convocation was about the students. It was a reminder that we need to care about the students and have a relationship with them,” said Ireland. “When they walk in our door we need to be there for them and let them know that we genuinely care for them and love them.”

JCPS used the convocation to make the special announcement to teachers that they will receive an additional one percent supplement this year from the Johnston County Board of Education.

Muddy the Mudcat launches T-shirts into a crowd of educators at the JCPS convocation held at Five County Stadium.

The convocation was fully funded by community business partners. Sponsors had an opportunity to share how public education impacted their lives and businesses, as well as words of encouragement for the upcoming school year with JCPS staff.

“I believe the superintendent had a vision, and I believe he is probably very happy with what came out here today,” said Joe Kremer, Vice President and General Manager of the Carolina Mudcats.