Above are some of Henderson County’s 2016-2017 public school teachers recently honored by the Henderson County Education Foundation. Photo by Pete Zamplas.
Principal Michael Pressley and teachers June Barnwell, Lynn Davis Carter, Beverly Moody Wood and the late Robert Joubert were inducted. A total of 124 people have been inducted, starting in 2003. Nine were inducted in 2014. After that, the yearly class was capped at five inductees.
The Education Foundation also honored a teacher of the year from each of the 23 public schools in the county. Hendersonville High’s Bobby Wilkins hit the trifecta, as principal of the year for the third time in 16 years as chief Bearcat. Peers chose him. He was saluted for dedication, and challenging students to strive for greater academic success.
Education Celebration, as HCEF’s induction banquet is now called, shifted to the WNC Agricultural Center’s Boone Building for its 15th installment. This is after two years at Blue Ridge Community College, and Hendersonville Country Club for the first dozen years. Jamming the Ag Center’s log cabin were about 270 people — 50 more than usual. Apples were stacked at each table, as a symbolic offering to teachers.
The MC, Assoc. Supt. for Administrative Services John Bryant, was at his comical zenith with witty repartee to keep festivities rolling. They lasted just over an hour and a half, the event’s briefest ever. New HCEF Exec. Dir. Summer Stipe and board Pres. Dan Poeta and V.P. Sharon Ashe also spoke. Board Secretary Sarah Bagwell chaired the event committee.
Videos took the place of acceptance speeches, preceding each induction with the four living inductees speaking about their career rewards. The schools’ Chief Human Resources Officer Scott Rhodes, former East Henderson principal who earlier put North Henderson baseball on the map, spoke about Joubert. Joubert died two years ago, at age 66. His widow Rosemary accepted his plaque.
Robert Joubert taught special education students in Edneyville High in 1970-93. He was a rarity, as male faculty sponsor of Yellow Jacket cheerleaders. He was Flat Rock Middle assistant principal in 1992-2005. He managed athletics, facilities, buses and textbooks. This caring, generous friend of the underdog gave poorest students Christmas gifts. He is commended for his “hilarious” side.
Mike Pressley was principal of three local elementaries from 1988-2002 — Fletcher, Balfour then Clear Creek. He was county principal of the year in 1992 and ’95. This patriot served a half-year in Desert Storm active duty, in 1990. He was humbly in the trenches at school such as by sweeping and mopping floors, driving a bus, eating amidst students in the cafeteria, and sitting in a Balfour fair dunking booth. He dressed up as Santa and the Easter Bunny at school.
Pressley welcomed input; he had a yellow notepad and pen to jot down his and others’ ideas on the spot as he made rounds and observed. He took students on field trips to his apple orchard. He initiated unique student unicycle troupe — Balfour Bears then Clear Creek’s One-wheeled Bears. PE teacher Anne Gibson Whitmire coached them for years. They performed at halftime of Clemson basketball games, and played polo before North Henderson fans.
June Barnwell is an early stem on the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) local faculty family tree. She arranged East Henderson student internships at DuPont and Olin, to apply science in the workplace. She got East to add an advanced chemistry class, after realizing some students could advance beyond basics and gain an edge toward college then the real world. She taught chemistry and math for 34 years — at Flat Rock High in 1958-62, then its successor school East.
Barnwell went out with county teacher of the year honor, in 1985-86. She earned two master’s degrees on the side. She was welcoming to new teachers. Her husband Bill Barnwell was a longtime assistant county school superintendent. Their daughter Jackie is married to new Supt. Bo Caldwell.
Mrs. Barnwell hailed her students as “dedicated.” In accepting her HCEF honor on stage, she grinned and held her arms out almost as if at a political rally as she cheered “Go, Eagles!”
Lynn Carter trail-blazed in 1995, as the first county teacher to get nationally certified in early adolescence/language. She taught English and social studies at Rugby Middle, in 1979-2005.
She cited “nurturing” students and continual learning as among teacher tasks, in her video.
Beverly Wood taught physical education locally starting in 1988, at Edneyville Elementary. She concluded her 41-year career as Marlow Elementary’s first PE teacher in 1999-2007. This maverick incorporated ongoing classroom lesson themes into PE activities. She helped build Outdoor Education. Once she had students pick cotton, weigh it, then carry it on their backs. She developed Boost Up to harness kindergarteners’ motor, visual and auditory skills and hand-eye coordination.
Mrs. Wood said how gratifying it feels when a student “puts a hand in your hand, and hugs you.” Others describe her as “talented, resourceful, creative and caring. She said her husband, Board of Education member Rick Wood, saved much of his encouraging ways for her teaching career. Rick was West Henderson’s all-time winning coach, and was inducted into the local HoF in 2014.
Teachers of the year are listed in alphabetical order of their school: Holly Kolarova (Apple Valley Middle), Suzanne Burnette (Atkinson Elem.), Anthony Johnson (Balfour Ed. Ctr.),Theresa Parks (Bruce Drysdale Elem.), Grace Quick (Clear Creek Elem.), Aramis Mugica (Dana Elem.), Carly Allman (East Henderson High), Melissa Duncan (Edneyville Elem.), Margaret Melonie Watts (Etowah Elem.), Tony McMinn (Flat Rock Middle), Amy Youngblood (Fletcher Elem.), Andrea Smith (Glenn C. Marlow Elem.), Tom Savage (Henderson Co. Early College), Tara Anderson (Hendersonville Elem.), Walt Cottingham (Hendersonville High), Katherine Gash (Hendersonville Middle), Cody Merriman (Hillandale Elem.), Holly Bader (Mills River Elem.), Lucy Joyce (North Henderson High), Ashley Wellman (Rugby Middle), Ryan Mitchell (Sugarloaf Elem.), Diane Norgan (Upward Elem.), Jason Livingston (West Henderson High School).
Joyce teaches American history to sophomores and juniors. She told the Tribune they seem most intrigued by the festive Roaring Twenties, and gregarious presidents such as Andrew Jackson who reportedly won more than 100 pistol duels of honor in the early 1800s.