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Look Inside! Take a look at formula for of success for Creative Education Centre Principal Dale Byrns .

Our Future, Our Commitment, Our Students

Top Spot

Biotech Program Building Steam After First Year Trying to figure out what you are going to do with your life is not an easy task for anyone – including high school students. With all of the career choices in the world, it’s hard to make a decision, but that choice may be a little easier for Franklin County high school students This past school year was the first year of the biotechnology program offered through the FCS Career and Technical Education Department, Novozymes and Vance Granville Community College. This program, which was taught at Franklinton High School and VGCC, allows students to explore the field of biotechnology and earn college credit at the same time. In one case, a student earned a job in the field


Jane Blevins, 2007 FCS Teacher of The Year, receives a check from Assistant Superintendent of Business and Finance Doug Moore during the annual honors day program held at Louisburg Elementary.

Louisburg High’s Jane Blevins Earns FCS Teacher of The Year Award


f teaching is an art, then it may not be a stretch to call Louisburg High School teacher Jane Blevins the Picasso of teaching. Blevins – 2007 Franklin County Schools Teacher of The Year – is going as strong as ever after 34 years of teaching. She edged out a talented pool

of Teacher of The Year nominees to earn the title for the second time. “Jane is the kind of person who all the kids really like,” LHS Principal Chris Blice said. “Other teachers admire and really seek her out for advice. Any time there SEE BLEVINS PAGE 4



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Bunn Grad’s Success Leads to Commercial Success can be a difficult item to measure, but it’s safe to say that former Bunn High School valedictorian and Duke graduate Kosha Tucker is experiencing a great deal of it. Tucker was second to none in the academic arena in high school and used that talent to help earn a BN Duke Scholarship to Duke University. Tucker, who graduated from Bunn in 2002 and graduated with honors from Duke University in 2006, continues to receive major accolades. Tucker joined the Teach for America (TFA) Program after leaving Duke and has just completed her first year of teaching first grade in Atlanta, Georgia. Tucker has always excelled and not just in the academic world. She was a standout cheerleader and track and field athlete in high school and went on to cheer at Duke for four years. TFA was quick to realize her interesting story and decided to invite Tucker to act in a TFA commercial for Wachovia and the Professional Golfers Association. If you were watching the Wachovia Golf Championship in May, you probably saw Tucker in that commercial. “I have no idea why I was asked to do it,” Tucker said. “I was contacted by the TFA-Wachovia liaison. She asked if I'd be interested sharing my experience for a video. I didn't even know it would be a nationally televised commercial--I just thought it would be like an infomercial-esque deal that people at the PGA Championship would see on shuttle buses.” To Tucker’s surprise, it was a much bigger deal than she anticipated. “I was wrong. So, the people at PGA Tours really liked my story about being taught by a corps member, coming from a pretty poor rural area, going to Duke on a full ride, and then becoming a corps member myself, and they wanted me to talk about all of that. I mean, it is a pretty neat and unique story.” The TV commercial caught Tucker off-guard, but she was very pleased to have the opportunity to tell her story. As one might expect, her success is trickling down to her students as well. “My students are progressing really well,” Tucker said. “It's amazing because I don't feel like the greatest teacher most days, yet my students have managed to learn a lot somehow. One of my students who came in below a Kindergarten level is now reading (fluency-wise) on a beginning second grade level. It’s amazing.” On average, each student in Tucker’s class has progressed two years in one year in the classroom. Tucker believes much her success with her students is her ability to relate to them.

Former Bunn High student Kosha Tucker now finds herself in the opposite roll of a student in Atlanta Georgia.

“I think I've been able to connect to my kids and make them value education because of my background,” Tucker said. “My kids know I also come from a financially limited family, so I know what it's like to want and not have and see my parents struggle to make ends meet and give me the life they felt I deserved. “I'm a perfect example of how you can use education to get out of that situation, though. So I'm able to serve as a role model to them. It's not everyday they meet someone who's been there, done that, and actually made something of themselves. I tell them all the time that their home lives do not give them any excuse to give up or feel defeated, that they don't have to normalize what they see at home, and they certainly don't have to live up to the low expectations so many have of them. I hold very high expectations for them and wholeheartedly expect them to reach them.” Tucker grew up in rural setting with limited resources, but has not let that detour her from her goals. She recently had an article published in a TFA magazine that details her life and some of her very strong believes and concerns about society in the U.S. The story can be read online at the following web address: reflection_winter2007.htm. Tucker is enjoying her career as a teacher but has not ruled law school out of the picture. She earned a degree in public policy at Duke University and would like to pursue her dream of becoming a lawyer. -Nathan Moreschi

JULY, 2007



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Road to Success CEC Principal Dale Byrns’ People First Attitude Pays Off Nice guys finish last – NOT TRUE. Chances are if you ask Dale Byrns to help you out, he’s going to do everything he can to make sure your objective is met. It’s that philosophy that has led him to a successful career in education in North Carolina. Not only is Byrns considered a good person, he is talented in many different areas, and that has made him a valuable person for Franklin County Schools. Byrns, who is from Eastern, NC near Jacksonville, began his career in education in 1978 as an elementary physical education teacher in Kinston after serving three years in the Air Force. Byrns graduated from Atlantic Christian College just prior to becoming a teacher with a Bachelor of Science degree in Physical Education, but his days as a student weren’t even close to being over. Deep down he knew he wanted to be a principal, so he continued to pursue degrees in education. He collected a Masters in Teaching from UNCChapel Hill, another Masters in Administration and a third six-year Masters from East Carolina University that eventually led to a superintendent’s certification. In 1983 Byrns inquired about employment in Franklin County. He interviewed for a principalshp at Franklinton High School and was


When it comes to school issues, CEC Principal Dale Byrns will figure it out. one of the finalists but ultimately did not receive the post. Not to fear though, Franklinton City Schools was quick to realize Byrns’ talent. “I went back home to New Bern High School to continue my job as an assistant principal, but that all changed after a phone call from Franklinton City Schools,” Byrns said. That phone call was an offer to be the Community Schools Coordinator. Byrns accepted the slot and remained there until 1994 when Franklin County Schools and Franklinton City Schools merged. That’s when Byrns’ technical knowledge was called on. Byrns, who is an Amateur Radio operator and spent time as a Morse Code intercept operator in the Air Force, became part

of a two-man technology team to help keep the growing computer system in FCS running and expanding. His partner was Leamon Brantley, who continues to work in the technology department today. “That was a lot of fun,” Byrns said. “I’ve been exposed to a lot of things, and I pride myself in being a team player and helping the system where I can.” You might be led to believe that Byrns’ hopes of becoming a principal were all but over after heading down the technology path; well, any doubts of that were erased in 1996. Byrns was asked to be an assistant principal at Franklinton High School, but solely on the third floor where Grades 7 and 8 were housed. SEE BYRNS PAGE 7

Future, Our Commitment, Our Students



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Marks, Williams Receive Superintendent’s Award Honors Day 2007 If there is an awards ceremony, banquet or any other function going on that involves the central office of Franklin County Schools, chances are that Diane Marks and Debbie Williams are playing a big role in organizing the program. Just like in years past, the two teamed up to help organize the year-end annual Honors Day Ceremony. Marks, Administrative Assistant to Superintendent Dr. Bert L’Homme, asked L’Homme about making a plaque for this year’s Superintendent’s Service Award. L’Homme knew at that point that Marks and Williams were going to receive the award, thus putting him in tight spot. L’Homme told them to not worry about it because there wasn’t going to be an award this year. Williams, Administrative Assistant to the Board of Education and Student Reassignment, and Marks were surprised that there wasn’t going to be an award this year, but didn’t think much about it in the grand scheme of their busy schedules. Needless to say, they were both shocked when they SEE HONORS PAGE 5

BLEVINS Continued from page 1 is a problem, Jane knows we can get through it, and we do. She is truly a blessing.” Blevins earned the award in 2000 and has been Teacher of the Year at Louisburg High on many occasions. “This is totally unexpected,” Blevins said. “I do what I do. I don’t try any

Debbie Williams, left, and Diane Marks, were caught by the element of surprise when they received the Superintendent’s Service Award from FCS Superintendent Dr. Bert L’Homme (center).

harder each year – I just love my kids. It’s as important to learn communication skills as anything else. I just want to make them laugh and really realize they can have fun in my class and learn at the same time. If I ever lose that, it’ll be time for me to go.” Obviously Blevins has touched the lives of many of her students. One of those students is current Franklin Times intern and Boston University student John Benning. “Mrs. Blevins is a great person,”

Benning said. “Her class projects were always fun and challenging. They have really helped me in college. She always let you expand your horizons. It always seemed like people’s creativity came out in her class.” The good news for Louisburg High School is that Blevins has no intentions of leaving, even though she is eligible for retirement. Her desire to teach is as strong as ever. - Nathan Moreschi



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Honors Continued from page 4 learned on Honors Day that they were this year’s recipients. Williams began working with Franklinton City Schools in 1986 and began working with FCS in 1994 when the two systems merged. Marks has worked with FCS for 18 years. 2007 Awards

2007 AIG Teacher of TheYear Heather Shipley NCCTM Outstanding Mathematics Teacher Katie McRacken – BES

FHS Principal Charles Fuller (left) happily accepts his Principal of The Year Plaque from Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources Lynn Henderson.

Nominee for Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teacher Amanda Joyner, Randy Kagarise, Ann Murray, Marne Debra Frary, TLMS Watts) RES (Denise Bell, Wendy Exceptional Children’s Teacher Faulkner, Brenda Parrish, of Excellence Jennifer Holmberg, Sue Foust) Kim Sledge, BES Whole-Faculty Study Groups

Teacher Assistant of The Year

BHS (Sarah Bean, Brandy Carter, Lynn Johnson, Sarah Lewis, Melissa Reed)

Princess Richardson, CCMS

TLMS (Crystal Cofield, Zoe Austin, Katie Tatum, Catina Jordan) BES (Connie Beddingfield,

Principal of The Year Charles Fuller, FHS Assistant Principal of The Year Bill Askins, FHS School Cleaning Score Edward Best – 98 LHS, LES, YES, RES, CCMS, LMES, BES – 95

2007 Teacher of The Year Jane Blevins – LHS

Special Recognition Superintendent’s Teacher Advisory Council



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Biotech Continued from page 1 right out of high school. “This is a very important program because biotechnology is going to be the future in North Carolina,” VGCC Coordinator of Biotechnology Julie Kinlaw said. “Students need to come out of high school with this background either for the workplace or for college. This is really a great thing for the local school system. Students get that first course done and get a lot of hands-on time in the lab.” Winn Clayton and Joe Don Robertson, both veteran teachers at Franklinton High School, each taught biotechnology classes this year. “I was excited about teaching it,” Clayton said. “Part of my background is medical, so this was a good opportunity for me. It was certainly needed because the students needed more programs to qualify them for jobs out of high school. This is a good way to do it, and I would like to see more programs like this.” Robertson has thoroughly enjoyed the program, and he Teachers and Counselors got a taste of the Biobelieves it will help students adjust quicker to university technology program at the summer institute. classes. “After the students take this class, I think chemistry and the third week in June. “The institute went very well,” Robertson said. “It was biology will be a breeze for them in college.” nice to see the teachers so engaged. It’s extremely imporScience teachers got a better sense for what the program is about during the Biotechnology Summer Institute tant to get them involved so they can tell the students about the program.” Seventy students participated in the program throughout the county this past school year, and the enrollment is expected to grow next year. Perhaps one of the biggest success stories this year was that of FHS grad Tim Chatman. Chatman earned a job at Novozymes after completing his coursework in the program. “I had kids from all three high schools, and they really helped each other out,” Kinlaw said. “The students really supported Tim when he interviewed, and they were very excited when he got the job. I think that is very cool.” The program has been met with great support from the FCS administration as well. “The Board of Education and the Superintendent (Dr. Bert L’Homme) have been big supporters, and that really helps us out,” Clayton said. “They are really excited about it.” Another similar program will start this fall. Clayton will teach Medical Science I and II. There is a possibility that students could get college credit for the second course. -Nathan Moreschi Julie Kinlaw walks students through a procedure.



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School Enrollment Report (month 8)

High Schools

Elementary Schools School














Laurel Mill








Edward Best


Cedar Creek







Total for all Franklin County Schools : 8,160

Middle Schools School

kids,” Byrns said. “It’s very gratifying to watch former students grow up and have their own families. That is a big Continued from page 3 benefit of staying in one place for a long time.” There’s no doubt that Byrns is a peoThat opportunity led to Byrns’ first job ple person and that quality has led him as Principal – Cedar Creek Middle to a great deal of success at the CEC. School. When Cedar Creek Middle “I pride myself on being a people peropened in January of 1999, it was a logison,” Byrns said. “What we do is always cal choice to hire Byrns as principal, considering the students there were the for the kids. I’ve always been satisfied living in this area and helping people as former middle schools students at much as I can.” Franklinton High School. The CEC often offers students anByrns has worked with quite a few other chance to get their educational people within the system who have career back on track. Students attend gone on to be standouts. Among the the CEC for a variety of reasons. many are Thomas E. Piper (Assistant “A lot of people have the perception Superintendent), Brooke Wheeler (CCMS Principal), David Averette (AP at that the CEC is full of kids who have no chance, but that couldn’t be farther from LES), Williams Harris (LES Principal), and Linda Frederickson (FES Principal). the truth.” Byrns said. “I’m the second or third chance person that a lot of kids He stayed at CCMS until 2005 and need. I believe in giving people opportuthen became Principal at the Creative nities. I think that is one reason why I’m Education Centre (CEC) for FCS. “It’s really been a lot of fun staying in a good fit at the CEC. I want to embrace the kids and help them when they need this area and being around all of the


it most.” Byrns, 55, has two children and a granddaughter and intends on living in Franklin County with his wife Kathy of 35 years for the remainder of his life. Kathy is also an employee at FCS in the human resource department. “I wouldn’t be where I am today without her,” Byrns said. “She made a lot of sacrifices for me. It’s been a good partnership – I’m very grateful for her.” Byrns is eligible for retirement, but has no intentions on hanging up his gloves just yet. “I’ll be here as long as I continue to feel needed, wanted and productive,” Byrns said. “I’m very grateful to have worked here. A lot of people have helped me. I owe my loyalty to the organization.” When Byrns does retire, you’ll find him in a different setting – one that includes hunting, fishing and golfing.

- Nathan Moreschi



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2007 FCS Retirees The annual FCS Retirement Banquet was held in June in honor of all of this year’s retirees. There were several laughs and tender moments shared throughout the event. FCS will miss the valued service that each and every one of the retirees provided throughout their careers. Pictured are Brenda Hedgepeth (BMS), Harvey Hartsfield (Central Office), Patricia Perry (FHS), Mary Smith (FES), Shirley Burchette (LES), Patricia Leonard (BHS), Sylvia Elliott (EBES), Lois Wiggins (CCMS), Carrie Stone (Bunn High), Margaret Murray (BES), Jean Brooks (LMES), Linda Loftin (Central Office), Robert McMillan (FHS), Betty Collins (Central Office), Margaret Osborne (Bunn High) Lois King (RES) Alice Weatherford (YES) and Carolyn Joyner (TLMS). Also retiring, but not pictured are Hope Coats, Paula Hux, Donald Pridgen and Margaret Osborne of Bunn High, Linda Sanders of LHS, Karen Wright of FES, and Ola Mae Lawrence of FHS.


Look Inside! Our F uture, Our C ommitment, Our S tudents Take a look at formula for of success for Crea- tive Education Centre Principal Dal...


Look Inside! Our F uture, Our C ommitment, Our S tudents Take a look at formula for of success for Crea- tive Education Centre Principal Dal...