DOBSON — Surry County School Superintendent Dr. Ashley Hinson has honored a Surry County Schools Educational Foundation board’s request to continue to serve on the foundation’s board of directors after he retires from the county school system on Dec. 31.
New officers were elected at a recent board meeting. Brent McKinney, the executive director of the Piedmont Authority for Regional Transportation, will serve as president, and Earlie Coe will continue to serve as foundation vice president. The board unanimously requested Hinson continue serving on the board.
McKinney has previously served as a math teacher at Surry Central High School and has been an adjunct professor at North Carolina State Agricultural & Technical University in Greensboro since 1996.
“We just hope we can continue to help the school system in the face of budget reductions and the economic downturn,” said McKinney. “Hopefully we can make a difference. It’s a high calling to help young people in education.”
“The foundation was Dr. Hinson’s vision,” commented schools educational foundation liaison Melissa White. “We want him to be there to continue to grow the foundation.”
White pointed out that the foundation was established by a group of local business leaders to help raise the level of education in Surry County Schools. She added that the board members believe investing in education today will positively impact the economic future of the county. She reported that almost $36,000 has been distributed to help students throughout the school system.
Monies from the foundation have been used to support academic competitions including Battle of the Books, MathCounts and choral competitions.
“The success of the foundation has a lot to do with the board,” commented Hinson. “We’ve been fortunate to assemble a board second to none. We have a Certified Public Accountant, a judge, the sheriff and other very successful business people on the board with the passion for education they share and they were naturally drawn to the foundation’s work.”
Hinson commented on the choice of a president outside of the school system to lead the board.
“One thing I’d like to point out it’s always been my belief that the foundation’s leadership needs to be outside of the school administration,” said Hinson. “To move it from me to Brent McKinney is a key transition for the future.”
He explained that it is important the world outside the system to do something for students and outside leaders who care about children and the future of our community.
“When Brent McKinney says we see something that needs to be addressed it resonates differently with the public than when a school superintendent says something,” added Hinson. “Melissa and her role is to likewise provide opportunities for students that otherwise we could not provide.”
Hinson said one of the most basic ways the foundation helps is in providing support for students to participate in academic contests.
“Some children win academic contests but their parents cannot support travel to national competitions,” explained Hinson. “We’ve supported that on various occasions. The foundation can also act as a flow through organization for others’ efforts for scholarships.”
White said the foundation has allocated $12,000 to be dispersed to all 19 schools in the county. These funds are spent at the discretion of the school’s principals for opportunities outside of the normal classroom. She said that funds from the foundation also provided defibrillators for all county elementary schools.
“Our budgets are rather specific so many needs don’t fall into our categories yet they are worthy,” said Hinson. “My desire is that your children setting in any of other systems classrooms would look back and say my school system shortchanged me for my life. The foundation is that way to close that gap between us and other school systems.”
White said the foundation is in the middle of its annual fund drive supported by employees of the county school system. This year, the fund drive is in honor of Pat Widdowson who retired from the school system after many years of service. White said the fund drive will continue until Oct. 31. She said not just employees but everyone may donate to the foundation. Person’s wishing more information on the foundation may call 386-8211 for more details.
“Recently I have seen many donate in honor of or in memory of someone,” said White. “We provide an opportunity to do that.”
Reach David Broyles at email@example.com or 719-1952.