Hendersonville – Five educators, including a recent superintendent, are the most recent inductees into the Henderson County Education Hall of Fame.
David L. Jones, Henderson County Public Schools (HCPS) superintendent in 2010-16, and Barbara Case Blaine, chief aide to five superintendents, including Jones in 1992-2012, are among the inductees.
They are joined by three longtime teachers: Dot Case of North Henderson, who serves on the school board; Mary Martin of special ed (“exceptional children”), who volunteers at Bullington Gardens; and Ruby Lewis McClung of Rugby Junior High and Mills River Elementary.
Since 2003, the hall has inducted more than 135 retired educators who have made “measurable influence” or “significant contributions” to local education.The latest five were formally inducted on April 26 at the 20th annual Education Celebration banquet, presented by AdventHealth Hendersonville at Jeter Mountain Farm.
Inductees each received a plaque and a fairy bird house gift. They told their story in a video. There was also recognition of teachers of the year at the 23 HCPS schools, aspiring education majors, and Edneyville Elementary’s Dr. Marsha Justice as 2021–22 HCPS principal of the year. “She is all in” for her school, banquet host Supt. Dr. John Bryant said.
Outgoing HCEF Executive Dir. Summer Stipe and her successor, Peggy Marshall, praised the inductees and honorees. Celeste Young served as the show’s co-host.The 2022 North Henderson High School graduate led the school’s student LEAD team. The West Henderson string quartet gave a performance.
David L. Jones
David Jones, as superintendent in 2010-16, set high standards and expectations. When Supt. Bryant was Jones’ assistant, Bryant recalled, “he’d often say, ‘John, just do what’s right.’”
Jones served in central administration from 1997–2016—for 19 of his 38 academic years with county schools. He moved up the ladder from director of testing and accountability to director of facility management, assistant superintendent for human resources, and then associate superintendent for administrative services under Supt. Dr. Stephen Page.
Page said Jones “made an indelible impact on his students and colleagues—mentoring them and being a positive influence.” He was a strong leader who guided his students and always advocated for them. Recent Supt. Bo Caldwell, who served under Jones, praised his “servant leadership and compassion.”
Jones is intertwined with the Edneyville High School sports legacy. He honed his leadership skills while playing football option quarterback and basketball point guard in the mid-1960s.”My coaches encouraged me to go into education,” Jones recalled.
He returned to his alma mater as an English teacher and coach in 1981-88. He led the Yellow Jackets to consecutive state basketball finals, winning the title in 1984 and finishing as runner-up in ‘85. He first taught in 1978, at East Flat Rock Elementary.
Jones was a school administrator from 1988 to 1997. He was Rugby Junior High’s assistant principal in 1988-90. As Flat Rock’s principal in 1990-1997, he handled its transition from a junior high (grades 7-9) to a middle school (grades 6-8) in 1993.
He was named county-wide principal of the year in 1990-91 and ‘94. He was named statewide superintendent of the year by the N.C. School/Community Health Alliance (for a school health clinic) in 2012 and the N.C. High School Athletic Association in 2014. Jones “has done it all” with local schools, Supt. Bryant said.
Barbara Case Blaine
Barbara Case Blaine was the right-hand person for five county superintendents and the school board. She was administrative assistant to Dr. Dan Lunsford when he led county schools in their last (1992-93) year ahead of merging with Hendersonville City Schools, then for the merged system in ‘93-98. She continued in her post in 1998-2004 with Superintendents Dr. Frank Yeager and Dr. Tom Burnham.
She was named the WNC district’s educational office professional of the year in 1997 by the N.C. Assoc. of Educational Office Professionals. Her position was upgraded to executive administrative assistant in 2004. Poised Blaine assisted Dr. Stephen Page, David Jones, and the school board. She took notes of their meetings.
As school board chairman, Ervin Bazzle recalled how Blaine was “intensely loyal to all the teachers and administrators.” She has always gone out of her way to make sure everyone, even school board members, feels appreciated and special.” Dr. Page said Blaine worked “above and beyond expected duties.”
Blaine said, “what sustained me was the passion I had for the students, staff, and administrators I served.” Supt. Bryant said when he was a central administrator, “she’d poke her head in and give me an encouraging word.”
A sixth superintendent, Glenn Marlow, gave Blaine her start as an administrative assistant to Dir. of Secondary Education Le Zollinger. Blaine began her 28-year career in 1984-88 as a Balfour Elementary teacher’s assistant.
Blaine is a catalyst for recognizing other local community leaders, Page noted. She is chairperson of the Henderson County Education History Initiative Preservation Room. She was the HCEHI steering committee’s secretary/treasurer in 2012-15. She was a longtime HCEF board member.
Dot Reid Case
For 47 years (1969–2016), Dorothy “Dot” Reid Case taught. She taught ninth grade history and other social studies at Edneyville High until it closed in the spring of 1993, and then transferred to the then-new North Henderson High the following fall.
“My legacy consists of generations of former students. Some are teachers here.” One of those NHHS teachers, Fran Nelson, said as a student she learned from Case “immense knowledge about U.S. history and government” and “how to be a servant, a good person, and a life-changer.” Dr. John Shepard, Dot Case’s NHHS principal, said, “I have never encountered another professional who cares more deeply about her students than Dot.” He praised her for teaching “love, acceptance, kindness, and concern for all children.”
Case was county teacher of the year in 1982 and 2010, when he was also WNC teacher of the year. She was on then-Gov. Pat McCrory’s Teacher Advisory Board in 2014-16, and other statewide or regional advisory committees.
Energetic, oft-grinning Case was much more than a teacher. She was a spirited Yellow Jacket, then Knight school pride. She organized Jackson Park fun days for grads and proms, and oversaw student government. She even wrote the school Christmas plays.
She is in her first term on the Board of Public Education. She is part of the Beginning Teacher Support program through her Delta Kappa Gamma sorority. Case called her HCEF induction an “awesome honor” to “see my picture up there” with other esteemed local educators.
For 31 years (1979-2010), Mary Martin taught “exceptional children” at Rugby Junior/Middle, Hendersonville High (HHS), and North Henderson (NHHS). She called “special needs” instruction a “calling” and “fun.” HHS principal Bobby Wilkins praised Martin’s “caring” for students. NHHS special ed teacher Sloan Neuburger agreed. Sloan Neuburger noted that she found common ground for students with varying needs in special ed and “gave her heart” to each one.
Martin guided students toward personal and job assimilation and achievement. She led the then-new Occupational Course of Study (OCS) at NHHS. She and the school system’s Bullington Gardens Education Director, John Murphy, developed the Bullington Onsite Occupational Student Training Program (BOOST) 20 years ago. It boosts local high school youths’ motor and communication skills, and builds self-esteem from working once weekly at Bullington. Audra King said that Martin thereby helped youths overcome “challenges and obstacles” with her “grace, patience, and love.”
Bullington has been a volunteer since 2001, with ten years of experience leading Bullington horticulture therapy. She has been creative director of its Fairy Trail and Village since it debuted in 2018. She is well known for her Christmas wreaths and other exquisite crafts that raise money for Bullington. She directed Henderson County Special Olympics from 1993-2002.
Ruby Lewis McClung
Ruby Lewis McClung is the answer to the trivia question of which new inductee coached Rugby’s trivia Quiz Bowl team. The 1989 county teacher of the year taught at Rugby in 1983-92. She chaired the math department and also taught language arts. She coached the MathCounts team, and sponsored the National Honor Society chapter. Teaching colleague Lynn Carter called McClung “cheerful.” McClung earned an Outstanding Educator in N.C. award in 1988.
McClung next taught at Mills River Elementary from 1992–2009 and math at Blue Ridge Community College on the side. She gave “heart-felt” feedback in chairing the School Improvement Team, then-principal Bill Parker said.
McClung bought some students’ clothes and books. Maddie King said, “she’d support you—no matter what.” King was McClung’s student in three grades — first, second, and fifth. McClung later tutored her in seventh grade math.
McClung said joining the Hall of Fame is “unbelievably special.”
The public can see the Wall of Fame of HCEF-enshrined educators during HCPS business hours, in the central office at 414 Fourth Ave. W.