Alumni Profile: Emily Puckett finding success with Granville County Schools

May 21, 2024

In just two years Emily Puckett has become one of the rising stars in the Granville County School system.

Puckett, a 2022 graduate of William Peace University, is a second grade teacher at Tar River Elementary and was a finalist for Beginning Teacher of the Year in the district.

“I was actually shocked,” Puckett said. “But I am very honored and glad to represent Granville County and Peace.”

A native of Oxford, N.C., Puckett returned to her home county and has made an immediate impact on the 21 students she works with daily. Her foundation for teaching was set when she was a younger child, but her passion for teaching was erected brick by brick during her time at WPU.

Set up for Success

Puckett came to the open house before her freshman year and the professors and environment sold her. She arrived on campus in 2018, enrolling in the education program. She credits the teachers at WPU for turning her into the teacher she is today.

“I started my first-year seminar class, I had Ms. [Robin] Vincent, who is the education professor,” Puckett said. “I think that really prepared me and made me realize I wanted to continue [in] education. I knew I wanted to do education coming into Peace, but then it kind of clarified, yes, these are the teachers that I want and this is what I want to do.”

Puckett did her student teaching at Wiley Elementary School in Raleigh. Her first year in the classroom she had 23 students, and while challenging, Puckett acknowledged how that made her a better teacher. She knew once she was able to manage that many little personalities she would be able to handle anything thrown her way.

Puckett says the personalities of the professors at Peace is what helped her thrive, but it went beyond what they did in the classroom.

“Not just the way they taught, but how they made relationships with us,” Puckett said. “That helped me to realize that’s how you’re supposed to make a relationship with students.”

Puckett takes the time to really get to know her students, and form that relationship beyond the reading, writing, and arithmetic’s, mainly because that’s all she knew coming from WPU.

“I feel like the Peace professors really set me up for success with that,” Puckett said. “Just from the way they modeled and showed the example for me.”

Puckett still reaches out to her professors at WPU for advice, proof of just how personable the faculty is and that they are committed to your long-term success beyond the four years on campus.

“They truly care for you and make you feel like you’re cared for and you’re valued,” Puckett said.

Teamwork Leads to Success

One of the biggest lessons Puckett learned during her time at WPU was to build those relationships, not only with your students but with everyone in the building.

To Puckett, who played softball at WPU,  the team aspect is the ultimate key to success.

“You would think teaching is just staying in your classroom and being with your kids and you don’t have to work with other people,” Puckett explained. “However, you do have to work with everyone at the school. You have to work with your teammates, especially the second grade team. I’m fortunate that my team is very strong and we’re all supportive of one another.”

Working as a team at Tar River was easy because of her time at WPU.

“I think that the small community at Peace helped me establish those relationships with other people and build a community within my school and my classroom,” Puckett said.

Emily Puckett was a finalist for Teacher of the Year in Granville County Schools.

Give Courageously to Peace

Thanks to the generosity of William Peace University supporters, current and future WPU students have access to the resources needed to learn through immersive experiences, build upon their courage and develop the confidence needed to turn passion into purpose.
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