N.C. State Board of Community Colleges Recognizes 2022 Award Winners

N.C. State Board of Community Colleges Recognizes 2022 Award Winners

Friday, July 15, 2022 - 4:16pm

RALEIGH – The State Board of Community Colleges has bestowed thePresident of the Year Award to Dr. Laura Leatherwood of Blue Ridge Community College. The board has also named the 2022 winners of the Excellence in Teaching, Staff of the Year and Distinguished Partners in Excellence awards.

Dr. Leatherwood came to Blue Ridge Community College (BRCC) in 2017 with extensive experience in workforce education and workforce development in western North Carolina. Her career includes leadership roles at Haywood Community College where she served as Vice President of Student and Workforce Development prior to serving as Vice President of Student Services. As president of BRCC, Dr. Leatherwood has created a collaborative workforce development relationship with community and economic partners. She believes strategic partnerships with area schools, economic development organizations and businesses are essential for building a pipeline of skilled professionals. Her accomplishments include partnering to recruit seven companies to Henderson County, spearheading campus construction projects and adding nine new healthcare offerings while launching three associate degree pathways in Human Services. Since she arrived, BRCC has added significant new technology across all operational and academic departments.
In addition to Dr. Laura Leatherwood, the following people and institutions received awards:

Excellence in Teaching Award: Melissa Smith, Program Coordinator, Magnetic Resonance Imaging at Forsyth Technical Community College. Melissa Smith has served the students of Forsyth Technical Community College (FTCC) for 11 years. To enhance student learning and outcomes she researched, collaborated, and worked with the FTCC Foundation to secure a grant to purchase and install a one-of-a-kind MRI simulator inside the College’s remodeled MRI lab. She has collaborated with admissions staff to examine best practices to increase the diversity of cohorts in the MRI Program, utilized games and creative assignments to keep her students engaged, stayed informed of cutting-edge teaching methods and constantly strives to strike the difficult balance of empathy and professionalism with her students. Smith consistently strives to promote learning, equity, program completion and positive post-graduation outcomes. Smith has been instrumental in the FTCC MRI Program receiving a 100% pass rate for the post-graduate American Registry of Radiology Technologists MRI Registry three times in the last nine years.

Staff of the Year Award: Greg Singleton, director of Workforce Readiness, Craven Community College. Greg Singleton joined the Human Resource Development (HRD) department in 2014. He successfully planned and launched the Job Readiness Boot Camp in 2017 which has since expanded to reach rural areas of Craven County in 2021. The boot camp supports unemployed, underemployed and the formerly incarcerated by teaching soft skills such as resume writing, interviewing and interpersonal communication with the goal of optimizing their employability. He serves as project manager of the Craven-Pamlico Re-Entry Council and was instrumental in writing a $250,000 grant to support the efforts of the Council. Singleton successfully negotiated placing the Re-Entry Council under the auspice of Craven Community College which has allowed it to become a model for the North Carolina Community College System to consider in other communities. He meets students where they are and serves as a guest speaker at several N.C. State prisons.

Distinguished Partners in Excellence: Catawba Valley Community College and Catawba Valley Furniture Academy Partners. This partnership serves as a model to create a pipeline of furniture workers for the largest industry cluster and economic driver in Hickory. Launched in 2014, the Catawba Valley Furniture Academy (CVFA) is an industry-driven training program designed through extensive collaboration to prepare students for in-demand, highly skilled jobs. Students are trained in one of seven career paths, each resulting in a stackable industry credential. Having a need for approximately 3,000 workers in the Catawba Valley region, the CVFA has grown to partner with more than 35 manufacturers and occupies a 38,000 square foot state-of-the-art facility. To date, 100% of students who have completed the program have been hired by local furniture companies. The partners recognized as part of the Distinguished Partners in Excellence included: Cindy Fulbright, Director of the Catawba Valley Furniture Academy, Tammy Smith of Vanguard Furniture, Nina Greene of Century Furniture, Paula Daniels of Sherill Furniture, Gary Muller, Executive Dean of Economic Development and Corporate Education at Catawba Valley Community College, and Dr. Garrett Hinshaw, President of Catawba Valley Community College.