When McAlpine Elementary teacher Justin Ashley got an odd packet of material dropped off for him in the mail, he was smart enough to see a teaching opportunity.
The Mecklenburg County teacher set his students off on the trail of a long-forgotten leader in education.
John Clegg Lockhart, for whom Knightdale’s own Lockhart Elementary is named, served a series of high profile jobs during an educational career that spanned much of the first half of the 20th century.
But his name lay cluttered in the dustbin of history, overshadowed by governors and senators who made important strides in education on their own.
Ashley was smart enough to see that the unmarked envelope contained a teaching moment not only for his students, but for some in Knightdale.
And, so last week, he trouped his own students off a bus in front of the Knightdale school and his students made a presentation, left behind a plaque that will mark Lockhart’s name in brass and give a long line of past, present and future Lockhart students an idea of who this educational reformer was and what his tie to our region was.
Really good teachers see the teaching opportunity in a great many mundane things. A lesser teacher might have glanced through the material in the envelope and tossed it in the round file.
Ashley saw an opportunity and seized it. His students – and many in Knightdale, half a state away – will benefit for his vision.