In the classroom, Ebonique Ingram lives by a motto when she’s teaching students at Hobbton Middle School.
“If I’m bored teaching it, then they’re bored learning it,” Ingram said about having a think-outside-the-box mentality to engage students. “They’ll want to learn more and ask questions. I’m extremely hard on my kids. I push them to the max because I really want them to become successful.”
The eighth-grade language arts teacher was recently recognized as one of the top educators in Sampson County Schools (SCS). She was a candidate for the district’s Teacher of the Year, along with Leasa Hodges of Midway Middle School and winner Brent Rivenbark of Hobbton Elementary School.
“I was honored to be Hobbton Middle School’s Teacher of the Year,” Ingram said. “To be chosen as the top three in the county was extremely humbling and surprising. I’m very appreciative and I don’t take that accolade lightly.”
She’s been teaching at Hobbton Middle School for three years.
“I love my job and I love my kids,” Ingram said. “It’s challenging. We don’t make the most money, but it’s something that’s heartfelt and for me, there’s nothing that I would not do for kids.”
Ingram said that love comes with a wonderful support system from other educators and district leaders.
“I have great colleagues and my administrative superiors are extremely supportive,” she said. “They’ve been nothing but encouraging. I just couldn’t imagine working in another area.”
During her college days, her original plan was to apply for law school and get involved in the field. But that all changed when she began work as teacher’s assistant at Butler Avenue School, a school operated in the Clinton City Schools district.
“I ended up really enjoying the kids and enjoying the job,” Ingram said. “So my entire plan just totally changed. I just fell in love with it.”
Ingram has many ties to local education. Prior to working for SCS, she was a Student Activities Coordinator at Sampson Community College. The Roseboro native graduated from Lakewood High School.
“My entire family was groomed in this district,” she said while showing appreciation for teachers in the past. “The education that we received was awesome. To be able to teach in the same district, where I received my education is an honor.”
Ingram grew up in a single-parent home led by her mother, Cassandra Ingram Raynor, a retired educator who worked in both Sampson County and Clinton City School systems.
“She’s raised two productive kids and has been wonderful,” Ingram said. “She pushes us to the max and it’s really paid off. She’s always gave me words of wisdom to live by that I always incorporated in the classroom now.”
After receiving her education from Sampson County Schools, she earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from Fayetteville State University. She’s currently pursuing a master’s degree for administration from the University of Phoenix. Ingram is not in a hurry to leave the classroom, but she would like to become a principal in the future. During her time as a teacher and intern, she’s learned a lot about the upper level of school management.
“I want to do all that I can,” Ingram said in regards to making a difference in an administrative role. “The same way I’m pushing my kids, I’m always pushing myself to be the best that I can be. I just want to go far as I can.”
Ingram still calls Sampson County home too. She’s married to Mark Stanford and has one daughter, Caryngton. When it comes to her success and recognition, she gave credit to her faith and family members.
“I always say that God led me to this path,” Ingram said. “My entire family is really supportive, and with late nights at work, they have my daughter a lot. I couldn’t do any of that without God and my family, first and foremost. That’s for sure.”
Reach Chase Jordan at 910-249-4617. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook