It is a noble task public schools undertake each day in caring for our children.

We are calling people of faith to love and support their public school neighbors to ensure healthy, thriving communities for all.

Our vision is for every child in North Carolina to have equitable opportunities to flourish through a fully-resourced and well-supported public education system.

Pastors for North Carolina Children exists to:


the importance of public education as a way to love neighbors and build beloved community.

We draw on the principles of righteousness at the core of every faith to compel people to seek justice, serve their neighbors, and unite for the common good. 

We encourage faith leaders to bring a sense of moral authority to the issue to emphasize our duty to support this worthy cause that touches all our lives. 



people of faith for the work of education advocacy.

We listen to the experience of students, teachers, and parents to understand the unique needs of each community to guide our advocacy.

Our outreach efforts focus on ensuring more consistent funding and more equitable resource distribution so every child has equal access to educational opportunity.


 communities to build a broad, diverse network to support all children, especially the most vulnerable.

We increase the collective power of our voices by joining forces and collaborating with other children’s advocacy groups and public education supporters. 

We expand the reach of our mission by bringing together a diverse range of faith communities toward the common goal of serving our public school children. 

Pastors for North Carolina Children

Our Principles for Public Education Advocacy

Pastors for NC Children’s mission is to mobilize faith communities in support of public schools across North Carolina. 

This work of advocacy and justice flows out of our commitment to loving our neighbors and participating in building the beloved community on earth as it is in heaven (Luke 10, Matthew 6, Matthew 25). 

Additionally, we are guided by several principles and commitments in our work that speak to the needs of our children and how best to serve them.

 ● We are committed to an approach that holds together charity and justice for social transformation. While charitable support of our schools (supply drives, food donations, etc) is needed, charity alone will never be enough. We are committed to addressing the root causes of problems in public education at the macro level for statewide systemic change.

● We focus on traditional public schools – those who are part of one of NC’s 115 school districts with democratically-elected school boards – as they support the vast majority (80-90%) of children in the state.

● We believe public schools are not failing, but instead are underfunded, under-appreciated, and undervalued as a result of a push to privatize education.

● We believe public tax funding should only go to public schools that are required to serve all children and are regulated by a democratically-elected school board. We support a high wall of separation between church and state in order to ensure public money is not used to fund unregulated private and religious schools.

● We believe enacting the Comprehensive Remedial Plan (“Leandro Plan”) is an essential step to reaching an adequate level of state support to fulfill the NC Constitutional requirement to provide a “sound basic education” for every child. It is the best way to ensure equitable educational opportunities for children regardless of race, ethnicity, economic background, regional location, disability, gender identity and sexual orientation, immigration status, and language(s) spoken.

● Since public schools are a main social safety net for children in our country, advocating for public education means attending to the needs of the most vulnerable children and paying attention to the forces outside the classroom which hinder the flourishing of all children. To that end, we advocate for poverty-reducing federal education programs such as free and reduced lunch and for adequate support professionals (counselors, nurses, social workers, psychologists, etc.) in our schools. We also believe in the importance of dismantling the prison/deportation pipeline, eliminating discriminatory high stakes testing, instituting culturally responsive teaching, and practicing restorative justice.

● We believe educators need to feel valued and trusted to do the jobs they are trained for and that they should be compensated as the professionals they are. These measures will benefit not only the teachers and children, but our communities as a whole. As public schools are the top employer in almost all NC counties, strong public schools are an investment in the future of North Carolina.

● We believe in building coalitions and seeking out partnerships. Statewide systemic change can only happen when people with shared power and the political will to make needed changes come together. Thus we seek out partnerships and coalition connections to enable the change we wish to see.

Building Community

Pastors for North Carolina Children is connecting communities around the shared work of public school advocacy. We are building partnerships with: 

  • clergy and congregations
  • public school staff, parents, and students
  • child advocacy organizations

We are proud to be members of the following coalitions: 


Pastors for North Carolina Children Board Members and Executive Director, 2022.

Pastors for North Carolina Children is a 501c3 nonprofit organization established in October 2020.

We are led by an Executive Director and Board of Directors, along with an Advisory Committee who serve to ensure we are listening to and representing stakeholders from across North Carolina.

We currently receive grant funding from:

Board of Directors

The Board of Directors ensures the organization carries out its vision and mission and upholds the requirements of a nonprofit organization.

Board members serve a 3-year term.



The Rev. Rebecca Hewitt-Newson

Pastor, Emmaus Way

Durham, North Carolina

Rebecca is a graduate of Wake Forest University School of Divinity.

She trained in hospital chaplaincy at Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in Mission Hills, California where she then served on staff for 3 years. Rebecca lives in Durham with her spouse, Ryan, and two young sons.


The Rev. Rebecca Bean

Deacon, St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church

Goldsboro, North Carolina

Ordained as a Deacon in 2015, the focus of her diaconal ministry has been on public education and helping to support churches to support public schools. 

Rebecca earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Secondary Education, Mathematics and History from Peabody College at Vanderbilt University, and a Masters in Mathematics Education from Florida International University. She was a middle and high school math teacher for 11 years. Among her many projects, she helped to establish the Dillard Middle School Partnership Project, a partnership initially with St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church and Dillard Middle School, a high needs middle school near the church. The partnership has expanded to include St. Andrew’s and St. Francis Episcopal Church in Goldsboro. Rebecca resides in Goldsboro with her spouse, and middle schooler. 


Dr. Michael Priddy

Former administrator serving North Carolina public schools, the UNC system, and the State Board of Education

Wilmington, North Carolina

Michael grew up in Winston-Salem and received three degrees from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill including his doctorate in educational administration. 

Most recently, he completed four years as Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Public School Forum of NC. He has received the Order of the Long Leaf Pine and the Old North State Award. Also, he is the recipient of recognitions from the Pitt County Black Ministerial Conference and the Pitt County NAACP for his many efforts on behalf of the school system’s African-American students. Dr. Priddy is married and is a father and grandfather. He resides in Wilmington where his wife serves as a United Methodist minister.

Recording Secretary

The Rev. Joshua K. Owens

Senior Pastor, First Baptist Church

Lumberton, North Carolina

Joshua serves as a member of the faith formation council with Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of NC and a board member with Baptist Women in Ministry of NC.

He previously served as an Adjunct Instructor in the Department of Religion at Wingate University. Joshua currently is pursuing a PhD in Organizational Leadership at Eastern University (PA), and holds degrees from Fayetteville State University (MBA-Project Management), Pfeiffer University (M.A. Practical Theology), and Campbell University (M.Div., B.S). Joshua is married to Lindsay, who works as a Speech Pathologist in public schools, and they have two children.


The Rev. Rebecca Bean

Deacon, St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church

Goldsboro, North Carolina

Ordained as a Deacon in 2015, the focus of her diaconal ministry has been on public education and helping to support churches to support public schools. 

Rebecca earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Secondary Education, Mathematics and History from Peabody College at Vanderbilt University, and a Masters in Mathematics Education from Florida International University. She was a middle and high school math teacher for 11 years. Among her many projects, she helped to establish the Dillard Middle School Partnership Project, a partnership initially with St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church and Dillard Middle School, a high needs middle school near the church. The partnership has expanded to include St. Andrew’s and St. Francis Episcopal Church in Goldsboro. Rebecca resides in Goldsboro with her spouse, and middle schooler. 

The Rev. Hanna Broome

Ordained Elder, A.M.E. Zion Church

Fayetteville, North Carolina

Hanna is a graduate of the University of South Carolina-Upstate. She received her Master of Divinity Degree from Columbia International Seminary. 

Hanna is currently in her doctoral studies at Drew Theological Seminary. She previously pastored congregations in South Carolina. She was elevated to the position of presiding elder in 2016 in the Eastern N.C. Episcopal District. She held numerous offices including Chief Strategist of the Executive Committee of the Presiding  Elders’ Council of the AME Zion Church. She is currently serving as the National Faith and Justice Organizer of Repairers of the Breach, Assistant Director of Church Growth and Development of the AME Zion, Tri-chair for Faith Communities for the N.C. Poor People’s Campaign Moral Movement, Faith community board member of the NAACP, Chair of the Personnel Department of the Governing Board of the N.C. Council of Churches, member of National Council of Negro Women, and board member of the Board for a Racially Equitable and Transformed Harnett County. Hanna lives in Fayetteville.

The Rev. Michelle Bullock

Rector, St. Peter’s by-the-Sea Episcopal Church

Swansboro, North Carolina

Michelle was born and raised in NC and FL and received her Bachelor’s in Elementary Education from Appalachian State University and her Masters of Divinity from Duke Divinity School. 

Michelle has previously served churches in North Carolina and Pennsylvania and served as Lower School Chaplain at The Episcopal Academy outside Philadelphia. She and her husband have two daughters in elementary school and live in Beaufort. 

Dr. Kendra Phillips

Director of Tutoring Growth and Impact, The Hill Learning Center

Durham, North Carolina

Kendra is a proud native of Durham who graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill as a NC Teaching Fellow.

She began her career as both an elementary and middle school teacher for Durham Public Schools.  Before earning her master’s degree in school administration from her alma mater, she joined MetaMetrics, Inc. as the Professional Development program manager for two years.  In this capacity, she co-wrote the professional development curriculum for the Lexile Framework for Reading and trained teachers nationwide on how to use Lexiles. Kendra returned to DPS to serve as a principal and Central Office administrator and earned her Doctorate in Educational Leadership from High Point University in May 2017. She taught at North Carolina Central University as an assistant professor in the School of Education. Kendra lives in Durham and has a daughter who lives in Heaven.

Dr. Drew Polly

Professor, College of Education, UNC-Charlotte

Charlotte, North Carolina

Drew is a Reading and Elementary Education Professor in the Cato College of Education at UNC Charlotte.

He is the Director of the Ph.D. Strand in Elementary Education and Elementary Math Graduate Certificate Programs. Drew and his spouse live in Huntersville and have two young children.

David Rockefeller

Retired North Carolina public school principal and curriculum director

Raleigh, North Carolina

David is a member of Edenton Street UMC in Raleigh and is the former Capital District Lay Leader.

He is currently the NC Conference Director for Congregations for Children. He holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music education and advanced certificates in curriculum, instruction, and educational leadership. He served for 32 years in North Carolina public schools as a teacher, teacher assessor, assistant principal, principal, and curriculum director.  He and his wife are active in their church and also enjoy spending time with their young grandchildren. 

The Rev. Eleanor Shell

Minister, Presbyterian USA 

Charlotte, North Carolina

Eleanor serves as Director of Development for Sugar Creek School in Charlotte. She lives in Charlotte with her spouse and two young children.

Advisory Committee


Kylene Dibble

Eastern Carolina Univeristy School of Social Work 
Director of Chapter Services, Parents for Public Schools

Winterville, North Carolina

Kylene Dibble is a 2003 graduate of Meredith College and a 2006 graduate of UNC Chapel Hill, having earned a degree in social work at both institutions. Today, she can be found in a number of advocacy opportunities. She serves as the Director of Chapter Services for Parents for Public Schools, Inc., teaches part time in the ECU School of Social Work, volunteers with the ECU Dr. Jesse R. Peel LGBTQ Center, serves on the board of the Pitt County Department of Social Services, and leads the youth group at Congregation Bayt Shalom in Greenville, NC. She lives in Winterville, NC with her husband Jeremy, two daughters Lilith and Leah, and their dog, Kenly. She is grateful for the work of Pastors for NC Children, and believes wholeheartedly that every public school should receive the resources necessary to provide the highest quality public education for each child in our state.

The Rev. Paul Robeson Ford

Ordained minister in the United Church of Christ

Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Rev. Ford served as Senior Minister at First Baptist Church Highland Ave in Winston-Salem, NC. 

He received a Bachelor of Arts from Grinnell College and a Master of Divinity Degree from the Divinity School at the University of Chicago. Rev. Ford is a Candidate for the Doctor of Philosophy degree in Theology at the University of Chicago, where his research interests focus on developing a theology of liberation for the situation of mass incarceration in the United States. Rev. Ford serves as Treasurer for Action for Equity in Winston-Salem, a grassroots organization working for equity in Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools.

The Rev. Carla Gregg-Kearns

Pastor, Good Shepherd UCC

Cary, North Carolina

Carla currently serves on the National Board of the United Church of Christ and is the co-founder of the North Carolina Women’s Preaching Festival.

She has served as President of the Southern Conference of the United Church of Christ. A native of Charlotte, Carla currently lives in Apex with her spouse and daughter where she is active in her local PTA.

Turquoise LeJeune Parker

Media Coordinator, Lakewood Elementary School

Durham, North Carolina

Turquoise is Vice President of the Durham Association of Educators,  and serves as the NEA Director for the North Carolina Association of Educators.

She was a key organizer both in NCAE’s Organize 2020 caucus—the strategic force behind the mobilization—and in Durham County—the first local to organize and inspire other locals to join the mobilization. Turquoise is an incredibly proud graduate of the very prestigious North Carolina Central University. She is the Media Coordinator and Racial and Social Justice teacher of Mrs. Parker’s Professors at Lakewood Elementary School in Durham, North Carolina. Of all these, her favorite is being the wife of Donald Parker III, an equally proud NCCU Alum.

Tamika Walker Kelly

 President, North Carolina Association of Educators

Raleigh, North Carolina

Tamika was an Elementary Music Education Specialist in Fayetteville prior to her position as NCAE President.

She previously served on the State Board of Directors for Region 6 of the North Carolina Association of Educators and served as Vice-President of the Cumberland County Association of Educators. She was named Westover District Teacher of the Year in 2015. Tamika is a member at St. Ann Catholic Church, and lives in Raleigh with her spouse and son.

Executive Director

The Rev. Suzanne Miller

Moravian Minister

Raleigh, North Carolina

Suzanne is a Moravian minister who attended the Divinity School at Duke University and graduated from The Moravian Theological Seminary in Bethlehem, PA, with her Masters of Divinity degree. She has served Moravian, United Methodist, and Presbyterian Church (USA) congregations. She currently attends The Table Moravian Church in Apex, North Carolina.

Suzanne has been active in justice advocacy since 2013, starting with Moral Monday demonstrations at the North Carolina General Assembly. In 2018, she founded the parent advocacy group NC Families for School Testing Reform and now serves as an advisor. She also earned a Certificate in Justice Ministry Education through Auburn Seminary in 2019 with the Moravian Online Cohort.

Suzanne grew up in Winston-Salem, NC, where her mother was a teacher in the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County school system. Suzanne earned her undergraduate degree in Public History at Meredith College. Suzanne now lives in Raleigh with her spouse and two elementary school-aged children.

Suzanne is active in serving her children’s school:

  • PTA Vice President of Advocacy 
  • Coordinator, “Take Our Elected Official to School Day”
  • Parent consultant, School Improvement Team

Duke Endowment Intern


Annalise Von Sprecken

Student, Duke Divinity School/UNC School of Social Work

Durham, North Carolina

Annalise is in her second year of pursuing a Masters of Divinity from Duke University and a Masters of Social Work From UNC Chapel Hill. She grew up in Holly Springs, North Carolina, and attended public schools in Raleigh for her K-12 education. She received her bachelor’s degree from Elon University in 2020 where she studied education with a focus in secondary mathematics and K-12 special education for the majority of her time there.

Annalise ultimately decided against becoming a public school educater due to her interest in factors from outside of the classroom that impact students ability to succeed in and after K-12 education, especially for students with disabilities. She has educational and vocational interests in state and national policy that impact disabled people as well as community driven strategies that bolster the inclusion and flourishment of people with disabilities. She is excited to spend the academic year partnered with Pastors for North Carolina Children to learn about and participate in the advocacy efforts surrounding equitable and quality education for all North Carolina children.

"There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children."

— Nelson Mandela