The final month of 2023 brings about many upcoming retirements for the faculty and staff of Sampson Community College (SCC), including Carole Phipps, Arts & Sciences Instructor. Planning to officially retire in January 2024, Phipps has proudly served SCC as a mathematics instructor in the College Transfer department since September 2002.
Before taking her current position at SCC, Phipps was employed as a math teacher at Cape Fear High School, after obtaining her Bachelor’s in Mathematics from Fayetteville State University. After six years of teaching high school, she mentioned that Susan Jernigan, Arts & Sciences Instructor, reached out to her to apply for the developmental math position opening at the College in Fall 2002.
Phipps explained that she has “always enjoyed math,” and felt that working as a math instructor at SCC would be a “good fit” for her. Ultimately, she accepted the job, and continued to teach at the College for twenty-one years.
“I just want to say a special thank you to Carole for all that she has done for the Arts & Sciences Division over the years,” expressed Jernigan. “Not only has she been a great co-worker, but she has become a great friend. It has truly been an honor to work with her.”
From 2011-2019, Phipps also served as the Division Chair of Arts & Sciences at SCC— overseeing the College Transfer division.
She shared about her teaching experience, “As an instructor I have always tried my best to present the material in a way that my students could understand and be able to apply the concepts. I also try my best to help students develop their talent. Most of my students were an absolute joy to teach. They worked hard and acted like they enjoyed coming to class. It is one of my greatest joys to run into them again when I’m out and about in the community. Sometimes I have to get them to remind me of their names, but I certainly will never forget teaching them.”
In 2005, Phipps earned her Masters in Mathematics Education from UNC-Pembroke while continuing to instruct full-time at the College. At the time, her husband was also working towards his graduate degree. Though the journey was hard at times, Phipps voiced that it was all worth it in the end.
“Besides my coworkers, I really want to thank my family,” she expressed. “Especially my husband, for putting up with me during the years when I was working full-time at SCC and trying to earn my master’s degree.”
One of Phipps’ fondest memories throughout her SCC journey was the good times she was able to spend with the late Eddie Hines, a retired English instructor at the College. Fondly calling herself one of the “sister-wives of Eddie Hines,” Phipps recalled the close friendship they had up until his passing in 2016.
Phipps said, “One of my best memories is the time I was able to work with Eddie Hines. He always an amazing friend who kept me laughing. I miss him terribly and still enjoy reminiscing about him with my closest of co-workers who are dear friends. I will miss working with those friends every day.”
In addition to Hines, Phipps also mentioned the bond she has been able to create with Jernigan, Melissa Ezzell, Arts & Sciences Instructor, and Jan Tart, retired faculty member, over the years at SCC. Though she’s made many friends at the College, Phipps expressed how she’s become particularly close to these three women— whom she’ll miss dearly upon retirement.
“The hardest part about retiring is going to be not seeing Melissa and Susan as often as I’d like. We truly have some stories to tell!”
Looking back, when asked about what she considered to be her “greatest accomplishment” at SCC, Phipps declared that it was being able to play a part in Blair Hairr’s, Vice President of Academic Affairs and Student Development at SCC, educational journey. Phipps recalled the semester she taught Hairr, a young high school student in her MAT 161 class, who consistently earned high scores on both homework and tests.
After graduation, Phipps explained that Hairr went on to earn a degree in mathematics and teach high school. Years later, she made her way back to SCC as a part-time math instructor and eventually, became the Vice President of Academic Affairs and Student Development– where she remains today.
Phipps recalled, “In class, Blairr would get so excited at times that she would speak up and tell me how she could see how different concepts fit together. Often times I could almost see the wheels turning in her head, absorbing everything I had to say. Students like this are so rare. It did my heart good that before she applied to SCC, she called me to ask what I thought. Although I may be only a small contributor to her success, I do see being part of her education as my greatest success at SCC. I am so proud of her and thankful that I had the opportunity to teach her.”
Upon retirement, Phipps plans to spend more time with her grandchildren in Wisconsin and travel across the country to visit various National Parks. She joked that she’s also been “begging” for a retirement puppy, and has a cruise scheduled for next September with her family as well.
Jernigan continued, “Carole and I have worked together since she was hired at SCC in 2002. I can honestly say that it is going to be extremely hard for anyone to fill her shoes! It saddens me to lose her for this division but makes me so happy for her to finally enjoy the rewards of working so hard here at SCC. I will sincerely miss my friend and ‘sista’ Carole Phipps!”
In Phipps’ eyes, working at SCC throughout the past two decades has “definitely been worth it.” Throughout her time, she’s seen the hard work and sacrifices students have made in order to better themselves and the lives of their families, and is honored to have played a small part in their educational journey.
She left students with this piece of advice, “I encourage them to study hard. Don’t make excuses! And especially, listen to their instructors and advisors who have their best interest at heart.”
Sampson CC extends its immense gratitude to Carole for all her years of service. The College is grateful she decided to apply back in 2002 and has truly been blessed by her work ever since. She leaves an impact on both faculty, staff, students, and the institution as a whole. SCC wishes her well in all her future endeavors, and thanks her for aiding in the College’s mission for students to, “Begin Here, Go Anywhere.”
About Sampson Community College: Sampson Community College is a member of the North Carolina Community College System, located in Clinton, NC in Sampson County. The college offers many programs to include two-year degrees, college transfer, continuing education and workforce development options and early college education. SCC is committed to the principles of equal educational and employment opportunities for all.