NEWBERRY — Roberta L. Hall Kinard has taken over as the director of Newberry Adult Education following a 20-year stint as a third-grade teacher at Reuben Elementary School.
Kinard will be responsible for adults who are seeking their GED, high school diploma, English as a second language, Career Readiness Certification and much more.
But Kinard is not new to Adult Education, having taught reading and math part time.
“I started teaching at Oakland Elementary, which is now Rice Elementary. I taught first grade there for four years. Then I was actually recruited to come back to the Newberry County School District, and I taught third grade for 20 years at Reuben Elementary, which was also my former school,” Kinard said. “It was amazing to have an opportunity to do that.”
As a third grade teacher, Kinard taught language arts, math, social studies and science. Although she enjoyed teaching all of those subjects, she enjoyed teaching language arts the most, because her National Board certification is in literacy.
“Teaching there was just very rewarding, having an opportunity to just see children grow, physically, but also academically. I think that was the best thing ever to experience that,” Kinard said.
Leaving Reuben Elementary has been bittersweet for Kinard. Not only did she attend the school, but so did most of her family.
“My mom actually went to Reuben, I went to Reuben, my brother and children as well, and I live in the community. Reuben is very dear to me,” she said.
When it comes to the structure of teaching, Kinard says good teaching is always going to be good teaching. She adds that Adult Education will be sure to meet the needs of their students, specifically their individual needs.
“One of the things we are going to do, when it comes to our adult learners, is look at how they learn best. Then we are going to adjust our teaching styles to that, and that goes back to the individual instruction style as well,” Kinard said. “Some learners are more visual, but some learn better by listening, and that is the same if you look at the K12 grade span as well as adults.”
Some of the ways they will do this will be through computers, and the instructors will work to be aware of how their students learn, and come up with instructional plans to meet those students’ needs.
“Last year, we had enrollment of 141 students. We are working hard to increase those numbers this year. One of our goals, we want to increase attendance and also come up with different strategies to make sure we maintain that level of attendance,” Kinard said.
To help accomplish this goal, Kinard said they will offer incentives such as giving out certificates and recognizing students at the end of the semester for attendance, and students of the month.
“We just want all of our students to know that we are here to serve them, to help them reach their professional goals, help them to reach their personal goals and we are going to do whatever it takes to make sure that happens,” Kinard said. “Our staff has been wonderful, they are team players that work so well together. I had an opportunity to meet with each one individually, and that is what actually came out in each one of those meetings that they work well together.”
Before she was a teacher
Kinard was born in Newberry County in 1969 to the late Bobby W. Hall Sr. and Mamie Hall. She attended Newberry High School where she graduated in 1987.
“Mother has always taught me to work hard and put 100 percent in everything I do. She has been very supportive in my educational goals and career,” Kinard said.
Kinard knew she wanted to be in the field of education since the eighth grade when she had a teacher who was encouraging and motivating.
“I just knew that was something I wanted to do. I actually think that you can really make a difference in the lives of children. I see it all the time,” she said.
After high school Kinard attended Lander College — now Lander University — where she would join the sorority, A.K.A.
“Lander was a local school. I felt that a small setting was ideal for what I wanted. It was not too big, was not too small,” Kinard said.
She graduated in 1991 with her bachelor of science degree in elementary education. She later got her Masters in Education from Southern Wesleyan University and her Ed.S in educational leadership and administration from Walden University.
She is married to James Kinard Jr. and together they have two children, Lydia Nicolle, 16, and Jasmine Lauren, 10.
Reach Andrew Wigger at 803-276-0625 ext. 1867 or on Twitter @ TheNBOnews.