CARTERET COUNTY — Carteret County Retired School Personnel has named Julia Yamaoka Thorn as its 2020 Member of the Year.
After finishing high school, this class valedictorian enrolled in Stanford University’s English program and completed 3 degrees, including a master of arts in English education. She also holds a master’s in school administration from East Carolina University and earned national board certification.
After graduating from Stanford, Ms. Thorn began a teaching career that would take her to Hawaii, California, Washington, and North Carolina. She accepted positions as an ESL Instructor in Hiroshima, Japan, in the late 1970s and again in the early 1990s.
She is recognized here in Carteret County for her outstanding work at East Carteret High School, especially with Speech and Debate. This creative educator, with no precedent to follow and no funding provided, began a speech team from the ground up, believing that students can become confident young adults through speech and debate. Her hard work paid off when individual students won national titles, the team received a Chapter of the Year Award, and Ms. Thorn won the National Forensic League Distinguished Service Award.
Carteret County Retired School Personnel has recognized Ms. Thorn for her creativity and enthusiasm as Chair of the Brag Board Committee. She took the idea of a single brag board and turned it to 22 mini brag boards, one for each school system location, plus 4 full-size brag boards for display at other locations around the county. She conducted a brag board workshop for N.C. Retired School Personnel Region 7B and prepared the Brag Board Starlight Award entry for state recognition. Ms. Thorn serves wherever she is needed, whether anchoring the check-in table or taking photos at local and regional meetings.
In 2020, she won Volunteer of the Year for the Carteret County unit and for Region 7B.
Many hours were given to Retired School Personnel and also to Delta Kappa Gamma. As president of DKG in Carteret County, she is credited with increasing membership and bringing special recognition to the local group of key women educators. Education continues to be in the forefront of Ms. Thorn’s thoughts and activities.