Monday, May 14, 2018

Apathetic, Uninformed, And Unresponsive NC State BOE And NC Lawmakers Are Why Teachers Are Coming To Raleigh, Mr. Brody


Dear Lit Loves and North Carolina Public School Teachers,

It appears that N.C.representative, Mark Brody, of Union County appears to think that North Carolina teachers are being irresponsible and petulant for coming to Raleigh to protest on May 16, 2018. Well, Mr. Brody, let me tell you as a FORMER middle school teacher in the state of North Carolina that sometimes it is necessary to make an up close and personal presence to gain the attention and priority of our N.C. state board of education and our North Carolina representatives.  And by the way, Mr. Brody, for your information, teachers are not just protesting pay, but also working conditions, school environments, and lack of teacher resources to properly educate and protect our public school students.  As a FORMER North Carolina teacher, I can tell you this played a role in why I no longer teach in North Carolina public schools.  For your information, I wrote a book on my experiences as a beginning teacher and published it on my on dime.  You might like to order a copy.  It is titled "Brave Soul Rising:  Tales From The Trenches of An Uncharmed Life by Grace Sutherlin.  Amazon is where you can purchase the book.  You might find some enlightenment there and also send a copy to your district representative on the North Carolina state board of education.

I applaud the teachers of North Carolina for taking a day to bring forth the significant priorities and needs of not just North Carolina public school teachers, but also North Carolina public school environments and the lack of teacher as well as student resources.  Bringing forth real change in North Carolina public schools and bringing teacher priorities to the forefront of our state board of education as well as our state lawmakers requires an iron resolve, serious concern, and a brave soul.  So I want you to know that once I wrote my book chronicling my first years teaching in a North Carolina middle school, I sent correspondence to all State Board of Education Members at the time.  I received two responses.  One was from State School Superintendent, Mark Johnson and the other respondent was State School Board Chairman, William Cobey.  None of the other state board of education members responded to my correspondence much less purchased the book.  According to my calculations, that comes to fourteen members or advisors who did not even bother to care, correspond, or read about the troubles and inadequacies of our state's public schools. North Carolina Teachers deserve better.  North Carolina Students deserve better. 

So for all North Carolina teachers who are participating in the protest on May 16, 2018 and for those who would have liked to participate, but could not, I am listing here the members of our North Carolina State Board of Education, their districts, counties and when available, their email addresses and term expirations if possible.

****Point Of Interest:  I contacted The Raleigh News and Observer newspaper about my book via a local reporter who is assigned to the topic of education.  There was no response.  When I wrote the top brass at the newspaper, I was told via email that if no one responded to my education topic suggestion then my story was not deemed important or relevant.  (Take Note Mr. Brody)

The listed members of the North Carolina State Board of Education are here for your perusal.


William Cobey, Chairman of NC Board of Education and Member at Large. 
Email:  william.cobey@dpi.nc.gov
Term Expires:  March 31, 2019

Rebecca Taylor, Member and Representative of NC Education District 1 inclusive of Northeast Education Region or Beaufort, Bertie, Camden, Currituck, Chowan, Dare, Gates, Halifax, Hertford, Hyde, Martin, Northampton, Pasquotank, Pitt, Roanoke Rapids, Tyrell, Washington, and Weldon.
Email:  becky.taylor@dpi.nc.gov
Term Expires: March 31, 2019

Reginald Kenan, Member and Representative of NC Education District 2 inclusive of Southeast Education Region or Brunswick, Carteret, Craven, Duplin, Greene, Jones, Lenoir, New Hanover, Onslow, Pamlico, Pender, and Wayne.
Email:  reginald.kenan@dpi.nc.gov
Term Expired:  March 31, 2017

Amy White, Member and Representative of District 3 inclusive of North Central Education Region or Chapel Hill-Carrboro, Chatham, Durham, Edgecombe, Franklin, Grenvile, Harnett, Johnston, Lee, Nash, Orange, Person, Vance, Wake, Warren, and Wilson.
Email:  amy.white@dpi.nc.gov
Term Expires:  March 31, 2023

Dr. Olivia Homes Oxendine, Member and Representative of District 4 inclusive of Sandhills Education Region or Bladen, Clinton, Columbus, Cumberland, Hoke, Montgomery, Moore, Richmond, Robeson, Sampson, Scotland, and Whiteville. 
Email:  olivia.oxendine@dpi.nc.gov
Term Expires:  March 31, 2021

Eric C. Davis, Vice Chairman, Member at Large, and Representative of District 5 inclusive of Piedmont Triad Education Region or Alamance, Asheboro, Caswell, Davidson, Davie, Elkin, Forsyth, Guilford, Lexington, Mount Airy, Randolph, Rockingham, Stokes, Thomasville, Surry, and Yadkin.
Email:  eric.davis@dpi,nc.gov
Term Expires:  March 31, 2021

Gregory Alcorn, Member and Representative of District 6 inclusive of Southwest Education Region or Anson, Cabarrus, Cleveland, Gaston, Iredell, Kannapolis, Lincoln, Mecklenburg, Mooresville, Rowan, Stanly, and Union.
Email:  gregory.alcorn@dpi.nc.gov
Term Expires:  March 31, 2019

Todd Chasteen, Member and Representative of District 7 inclusive of Northwest Education Region or Alexander, Alleghany, Ashe, Avery, Burke, Caldwell, Catawba, Hickory, McDowell, Mitchell, Newton-Conover, Watauga, Wilkes, Yancey.
Email:  todd.chasteen@dpi.nc.gov
Term Expires:  March 31, 2023

Wayne McDevitt, Member and Representative of Western Education Region inclusive of Asheville, Buncombe, Cherokee, Clay, Graham, Haywood, Henderson, Jackson, Macon, Madison, Polk, Rutherford, Swain, and Transylvania. 
Email:  wayne.mcdevitt@dpi.nc.gov
Term Expired:  March 31, 2017

Patricia Willoughby, Member at Large
Email:  patricia.willoughby@dpi,nc.gov
Term Expired:  March 31, 2017

Mark Johnson, State Superintendent of North Carolina Public Instruction
Email:  mark.johnson@dpi.nc.gov
Term Expires:  2020

Dan Forest, Lieutenant Governor
Email:  dan.forest@dpi.nc.gov
Term Expires with term of office.

Dale Folwell, State Treasurer
Email:  dale.folwell@dpi.nc.gov
Term expires with term of office.

Dr. Freddie Williamson, State Board of Education Superintendent Advisor
No email currently listed.

Roberta Scott, Local State Board of Education Advisor
Email:  rscott@warrenk12nc.org

Vacancy:  High School Junior Advisor
Appointment Pending
Position Not Filled Since 2016

North Carolina teachers I look forward to hearing your rallying call on May 16, 2018 and remember, sometimes you must raise your voice to make sure you are heard.  I am all for a North Carolina teacher strike if necessary.

Your Sister in North Carolina Education and Author of the book, Brave Soul Rising:  Tales From The Trenches of An Uncharmed Life written under my pen name of Grace Sutherlin.

All my best,
Grace
(Amy)


Thursday, May 3, 2018

Maybe There Is No Literary Agent Out There For Me As A Writer

Dear Lit Loves,

I wish I had better news.  I have queried my heart out for a memoir/narrative regarding my own disabling illnesses and how those disabling bad boys taught me to be more of a feminist and a discerning medical advocate, not to mention handle living with the ups and down of rare disorders.  I have no literary representation as of yet.  I am beginning to think maybe literary agents just send out tweets and post lists of various genres they would like to acquire just because those types of acquisitions are what is trending now.  Seriously,  I just received a rejection from a literary agent who said she needed to give her acquisition list a serious overhaul so she wanted nonfiction queries especially those of the #MeToo and #OwnVoices movement and I don't know how you could figure after reading my proposal that those two hashtags do not shine brightly throughout my manuscript.  Wait, that's right, I remember now.  The literary agent never asked for the book proposal and manuscript; therefore, it is not possible anyone could have read my book proposal or my manuscript.  This is frustrating as hell, let me tell you.

Next, I receive a rejection not from the literary agent to whom I sent my query and first two chapters, but her assistant who says the agency has discussed my book and they do not see a story arc and it is hard to sell a hybrid memoir and narrative book presently.  First, they never had the full manuscript or book proposal to be able to ascertain the full story arc so I find that just a bogus excuse.  Yes, it is most definitely hard to sell a narrative and memoir hybrid manuscript, but hell, it's also hard to plant 60 gladiolus bulbs in one hour, but hell, I did it because I wanted to and I knew I could do it.  Maybe we don't have any fearless literary agents who take risks anymore or at least that's what I am beginning to think.  Maybe they all want to cater to the writer who can make them the quick buck. 

And finally, there's the literary agent who rejected my query in fourteen minutes.  Yes, you read that correctly.  Quick turnaround time, but obviously no real thoughts given to the substance and motivations for writing the book.  I'll remember that and not query that literary agent ever again.  Never.  That's it.  You handle my query like that and as my good friend says, "Ya dead to me!  Understand?!!"  Honestly, querying to find a literary agent is like dealing with the mafia or better yet professional wrestling.  I actually had a dream where I was in a cage match against a literary agent. Last person left standing wins.  I won, but since I've watched so many cage matches and know so many wrestling moves, the literary agent was unconscious at the conclusion of the match, but survived; however, he/she refused to represent me because he/she was afraid I would not take refusals or constructive feedback well when my book proposal or manuscript was evaluated!! 

And finally, there is the literary agent who is OPEN to submissions. I query him/her.  I receive a rejection because he/she has too many current clients to even consider much less seriously read my book proposal and manuscript.  Straight up, hand on my father's grave, that is what the email rejection he/she sent me read.  I was like, well, why the hell do you keep yourself OPEN to submissions if you are too busy with your current clients??  Try closing to submissions till you can seriously consider a writer's work.  Really, it's not that difficult.  I do not send you a book proposal or manuscript till it is in its finest shape possible so do I not deserve your undivided attention when you go to read my book proposal and manuscript??

Stay tuned to Is There An Actual Literary Agent That Can Handle Grace Sutherlin?? 

Till my next post,
Grace
(Amy)