WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- “Teaching is a calling, and not all can do it,” said Dr. Beth Day-Hairston addressing the friends and family of Rodney Ellis at his Alma Matter, Winston-Salem State University.
Those who knew him would argue Ellis not only accepted that call, but he ran with it.
"He was empathetic, he was compassionate,” Day-Hairston said. "He knew his subject matter. He had a rapport with students.”
Ellis climbed the ranks in his career, becoming the President of the North Carolina Association of Educators. He died last Saturday at the age of His eldest daughter says he was an educator in the classroom and in their home.
"He took care of his family and tried to make a difference in the lives of others. And that's what he did,” Ellis said.
And while old buddies remembered him for his sense of humor, and ability to step-dance, former teachers reflected on their experiences with him, and being a part of his legacy in education.
"He never wavered from his commitment to quality education for all children. and especially for children that come from communities who have fewer resources and are in many ways forgotten,” said former teacher Dr. Francine Madrey.
Ellis is survived by his wife and four children.