Educator Profile: Zina Pittman
You can see the dedication and love that Zina Pittman has for her students the moment you enter her classroom. She has high expectations, and they rise to the occasion because of the culture she has created. For 32 years, Zina has dedicated her career to passionately serving her students, colleagues, and community. Since 2015, she has relied on the HillRAP program in her classroom at Coker-Wimberly Elementary School in Edgecombe County. As a HillMentor for teachers in the district, Zina has supported their work through modeling and coaching. Zina commented, “HillRAP is not a program, it’s a way of life!” She shares this enthusiasm in her mentoring.
In reflecting on student impact with HillRAP, Zina fondly remembered a student who showed up every day, even when she was absent, because he finally found the “code” to help him become a reader. In his two years with Zina, he flourished not only in reading, but in speaking English. He mastered every skill presented, and this confidence and skill set transferred over into other areas of school and life.
As Zina prepares to retire from her storied teaching career this spring, Edgecombe County Director of Innovation, Erin Swanson commented, “Zina is an incredibly dedicated teacher. She loves her kids and her community, and she loves HillRAP! We are so grateful for the amazing work she has done in Edgecombe – she has mentored countless scholars and staff members, who have grown tremendously as a result of her support. To say she will be missed is an understatement!”
Fellow HillRAP tutor Wayne Barlow shares with us that, “Zina’s dedication and compassion for HillRAP has been phenomenal. She puts her all into her work and constantly reminds us that it is all about the kids.”
Zina said it best when she reflected on her experience with HillRAP. “I am so honored to end my career being a HillRAP teacher! I will forever carry HillRAP and everything that Hill Learning Center stands for in my heart no matter what comes next. Not only has Hill transformed every scholar I’ve worked with, but it has transformed me. It gave me the burst of energy all teachers need at some point in their career. It allowed me to do what I was truly born to do…teach and make a difference.” It’s clear that Zina has made a lasting impact on the district, teachers, and students.