State Board of Community Colleges Bestows Annual Awards

State Board of Community Colleges Bestows Annual Awards

Friday, January 15, 2016 - 1:44pm

RALEIGH –State Board of Community Colleges today announced the 2016 recipients of the President of the Year, Excellence in Teaching, Staff of the Year and Distinguished Partners in Excellence awards, as well as the I.E Ready Award, the highest honor bestowed on an individual by the Board.

Dr. Lawrence Rouse, President of James Sprunt Community College (JSCC) in Kenansville, was named President of the Year.  During his tenure at JSCC, Rouse has strengthened the collaboration between JSCC and Duplin County Schools (DCS) to address educational and workforce challenges.  Under his leadership, JSCC, DCS, parents and community partners implemented a Pre-K to College and Career Readiness program through a shared vision that all students in Duplin County will be prepared for college, career and life success in a global world. Additionally, Rouse began a three-year capital campaign that has already raised $2 million of the $3 million goal to provide resources for classrooms, student scholarships and staff and faculty development to help strengthen JSCC’s “Bridge to Success”.  

Franklin Edwin Spitler, Jr., Professor and Chair of Engineering Technologies at Sandhills Community College (SCC) in Pinehurst, is the recipient of the Excellence in Teaching Award.  Spitler began teaching in 1997 and works to holistically develop students from advising to registration to the classroom and through graduation.  He has started programs such as the Experience Engineering Project, a technology lab peer review assessment group and the Architectural, Engineering, Construction and Surveying student clubs that provide an honest, open forum for students to develop personally and professionally. According to his nomination, Spitler is an inspirational leader both on campus and in the community at large.

Gary Heisey, Director of the Small Business Center at Blue Ridge Community College (BRCC) in Flat Rock, is the recipient of the Staff of the Year Award.  Heisey is a team player in both curriculum and continuing education at BRCC.  He collaborates internally and externally with groups such as the BRCC Community Ambassador program, Transylvania and Henderson Chambers of Commerce, El Centro, and a host of other partners to support the economic development of BRCC and its community.  In 2014, Heisey was the recipient of the BRCC Molly Parkhill Staff Person of the Year for his commitment to its mission and his outstanding efforts that have contributed to the success of BRCC.

Isothermal Community College (ICC) in Spindale and Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC) in Mill Spring were named Distinguished Partners in Excellence. When TIEC was opened in 2014, ICC and TIEC immediately embraced a partnership. TIEC participates in campus programs, has sponsored ICC’s 50th Anniversary recognition events, assisted a grant application for ICC’s new Comprehensive Applied Science and Technology Center, and serves on the college’s Equine, Agribusiness, and Hospitality Advisory Committees.  Additionally, TIEC has volunteered to host an apprenticeship program, which is part of an Appalachian Regional Commission grant to ICC and to offer its facilities to conduct apprenticeship training.  ICC President Walter Dalton stated, “Isothermal appreciates TIEC as an industry partner and it, along with the college, are transforming an area that was devastated by the Great Recession… giving it life again and taking it in a new direction.”

Dr. Ben F. Currin of Raleigh was named the I.E. Ready Award Recipient.  Named for Isaac Epps Ready, the first state director of the North Carolina Community College System, the award was created in 1983 to recognize individuals who have made significant, statewide contributions to the establishment, development or enhancement of the System. Currin has contributed over 40 years of service to North Carolina, including serving as President of Vance-Granville Community College (VGCC) for almost 18 years. Under Currin’s leadership VGCC grew into a four-campus community college, totaling almost $18 million in new construction for all campuses. During Currin’s tenure VGCC also reactivated the college’s Endowment Fund Corporation, capping out at $5 million at the time of his retirement, to ensure all deserving students had the option to attend VGCC. He is also a recipient of the Order of the Long Leaf Pine.