Director, Two Rivers Community School
Visiting with students in the younger grades at Two Rivers Community School in Boone always makes David Rizor smile. It’s certainly one of the most rewarding aspects of his job, along with observing his students graduate each year.
“As I watch students that we have seen grow up move on to high school, knowing that they are prepared both academically and emotionally to take on the rigors of high school, as we ‘let them go,’ is very rewarding,” says Rizor.
The public charter school in Boone has 180 students. As a public charter school, the school’s funding is determined differently that regular public schools.
“Since we are able—and required—to open admission to all students in the state of North Carolina, we serve students from five counties, each paying a different per-pupil supplement,” says Rizor. “Without facilities funding or school buildings provided, we receive about 72% of the funding other public schools receive.
“As a small school that has the advantage of being able to personalize education, we also face the challenge of funding, since we receive money on a per-student basis. The challenge of facilities and funding makes us draw on our creativity and requires an expanded skillset from everyone who works here. My position, for example, includes not only hiring, evaluation, curriculum leadership, and student discipline, it also requires me to play a major role as finance officer, intermittent building and grounds work, technology maintenance, webmaster, etc.
“Such is life at a small charter school!”
“Like most people who work for nonprofits, I am a bit of an idealist.”
Rizor grew up in the mountains of Colorado on a cattle ranch. His education includes a B.S. in education, an MA in curriculum and instruction, an MS in educational leadership, and a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction from the University of Wyoming.
At one point in his career, he was the leader of an environmentally based charter school located on Kilauea Volcano, adjacent to Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park in Hawaii, and he also opened a new charter school on the Big Island.
“After two years of getting that school started I decided it was time to be closer to family—both of my daughters are living in the Southeast—and I was lucky enough to be offered the position at Two Rivers Community School in Boone.”
Rizor acknowledges that education is a unique profession because some of the most significant results manifest themselves many years down the road.
“One of my most heart-warming stories happened about eight years after the student graduated from my school (eighth grade). I went to visit a new area annexed to a national park. At the entrance, in ranger uniforms, were two of my former students: a brother and sister. The brother lit up immediately when he saw me and we visited for a few minutes. He was about to graduate from college and he told me that he wanted to take this chance opportunity to apologize to me.
“You see, he made a bad choice in school and I suspended him for a few days when he was in eighth grade. He had been thinking about it for eight years and thought enough of my guidance through the incident that he wanted to apologize all those years later. Then he went on to ask if I would listen to a song he wrote for me. When he attended my school, he started learning to play the ukulele and carried it everywhere. I let him keep it with him in school, and he often practiced at lunchtime. He remembered that, and having become quite proficient over the years, wrote a song that he wanted to play for me, right there, outdoors, on the side of a volcano, in a brand new portion of a national park.
“Like most people who work for nonprofits, I am a bit of an idealist. I am a strong supporter of public schools, and working for a charter school gives me an opportunity to help create education that matches my philosophy of social justice, environmental sustainability, and an enriched teaching environment that goes beyond learning math and reading.”
A tuition-free, public charter school serving the High Country.
Number served annually
how do you get funding?
As a public school, our funding comes from the state of
North Carolina and from the counties that we serve. However, as a public charter school, our funding is determined differently than regular public schools. The state uses a formula that averages school expenses across the state, and then reduces that amount based on the county we live in, subtracts any funding for facilities, and then pays “per-pupil” according to
the number of students we have enrolled each year. County funding is the same as what the other public schools receive
[in their respective counties].
Year nonprofit was founded?
List of board members with titles
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