First Lady Biden, Secretary Cardona Celebrate A&T’s Success in Education

By Jackie Torok / 09/12/2022 College of Education

EAST GREENSBORO, N.C. (Sept. 12, 2022) – North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University was in the national spotlight as First Lady Jill Biden, Ph.D., and U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona, Ph.D., made the campus their first stop of the academic year for the Department of Education’s Road to Success Back to School Bus Tour.

Biden and Cardona teamed up to celebrate N.C. A&T’s efforts to train teachers, support education in grades K-12 and encourage diversity within the educational workforce.

“We’re here to highlight A&T’s great work, including A&T’s leadership in STEM education and equitable workforce development, which is second to none,” said U.S. Rep. Kathy Manning, whose district includes Greensboro.

Among the other dignitaries in attendance for the event at the Harold L. Martin Sr. Engineering Research and Innovation Complex were Greensboro Mayor Nancy Vaughan and state Sen. Gladys Robinson, along with A&T deans and administrators.

But the atmosphere more closely resembled a pep rally than a formal visit, with members of Aggie Livewire, cheerleaders, honor students, Student Government Association leaders and royal court cheering and chanting along with students of the College of Education, The A&T Four Middle College at N.C. A&T, The STEM Early College at N.C. A&T and Aggie Academy.

Chancellor Harold L. Martin Sr. greeted the crowd, noting that U.S. News & World Report on Monday named A&T among America’s leading national universities in Social Mobility, to the top campuses in its Most Innovative Schools list and to its top 10 rankings for historically Black colleges and universities on the heels of another year of record student enrollment.

Jayden Seay, a second-year elementary education student and member of the inaugural cohort of February One scholars, introduced Biden by sharing the story of his journey to Aggieland.

“I was always in honors and gifted classes, and I find myself feeling the need to prove that I belong there year after year. Unfortunately, many students in our country struggle with issues of belonging in school. Teachers make a difference,” said Seay. “I had only three Black teachers – none of whom were men – in my entire schooling experience. But I was fortunate to have them in my life, as they were the teachers who assured me that I belonged in the rooms where I found myself.”

“The College of Education supports students to be transformative change agents in the field of education,” he said. “After graduation, I will join the 2% of teachers who are Black men. I will continue this work of advancing education equity for greater justice. To reach this goal, I will teach in underserved communities and be the teacher that I wish I had as a young child. Representation matters.”


Before addressing the crowd, Biden called the students from Aggie Academy, a new STEAM school for students in grades 3-5 that opened its doors last month, to join her at the podium.

“Teaching isn’t what we do, it’s who we are,” said Biden, who teaches at Northern Virginia Community College.

Obstacles like student loans, low salaries, large class sizes and safety concerns have discouraged potential teachers.

“So if we want to add more bright, talented people into this field, if we want educators to be able to do what they do best, we have to give them the support that they – or you all – deserve,” said Biden, turning toward the student-teachers behind her. “We have to come to places like North Carolina A&T and say, ‘We need you.’”

“To better serve all of our students, our classrooms need diverse perspectives and the chance to learn from teachers of every single background.”

Cardona agreed.

“There’s a reason why I was so excited to come to N.C. A&T as the first stop on the Road to Success Bus Tour,” said Cardona. “That’s because of that Aggie Pride. It’s because you take pride not just in your history but in your potential. Because you take pride in high expectations. I mean, your homecoming is actually called Greatest Homecoming on Earth.”

“Whatever you’re doing at A&T, and whatever you will do, you know that your school is raising the bar,” he said. “A&T is a testament to something any good teacher knows: If you set high expectations and you give students access to opportunity, they deliver.”

National leaders recognize the commitment of College of Education faculty, staff, students and alumni to serve as leaders in equity, access and advocacy in everything they do, said Dean Paula Groves Price, Ph.D.

“It was inspiring for our College of Education students to have the opportunity to engage with First Lady Dr. Jill Biden and Secretary Cardona today,” she said. “They both recognize the importance of supporting and recruiting a diverse teacher workforce and are passionate about equity in education.”

Media Contact Information: jtorok@ncat.edu

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