Hendersonville – Four retired educators including the person recently in charge of curriculum are the most recent inductees into the Henderson County Education Hall of Fame.
Dr. Kathy Revis, Brenda Walker Gorsuch, Ingrid McNair, and Patricia Allen are the inductees. The HCEF Hall has about 140 inductees since 2003. They are retired educators chosen for their “measurable influence” or “significant contributions” to advance education in the county.
These latest four were formally inducted April 25 at the 21st annual banquet. The Education Celebration is presented by AdventHealth Hendersonville, and was again at Jeter Mountain Farm and hosted primarily by jovial former Supt. John Bryant. Pardee UNC Health Care V.P. Bryant injected humor.
Inductees each told their story in a video. West Henderson journalism students and their teacher Ashley Ruzich wrote the extensive print biographies of inductees. There was recognition of the 23 HCPS teachers of the year, and Innovative High School’s Shannon Auten as 2022-23 HCPS principal of the year.
The Hall of Fame new inductees are:
Dr. Kathy Revis
Dr. Kathy Revis, now a Henderson County school board member, was HCPS assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction in 1998-2017. In her tenure, HCPS ranked as high as fourth statewide in students’ composite state test scores, and consistently in the top eight. She arranged for student performance data to forge teachers’ “benchmark assessments” and lead to teaching up students.
The former West Henderson High School principal (in 1993-96) urged principals to drop in on classrooms to monitor instruction firsthand and to give teachers feedback.
Revis initiated the Western Region’s first high school Project Lead the Way STEM program. She launched the Henderson County Early College School, K-4 literacy guidelines, and the K-12 instructional framework. She secured grants for “reading foundations,” a “reading 3D” grant,” and money to deal with dropouts, child obesity, and student homelessness. She was honored as the 2015 Western Region Central Office Administrator to Watch.
Brenda Walker Gorsuch
The Hall of Fame’s “West Wing,” so to speak, also expands with induction of Brenda Walker Gorsuch. In 1983-2017, she was West Henderson’s journalism teacher and advisor to its award-winning Wingspan student newspaper and the Westwind yearbook.
Wingspan is an elite paper in the nation, winning dozens of N.C. Scholastic Media Association and N.C. Press Foundation awards collectively and individually. Nine of her students won state journalist of the year awards. Gorsuch noted that Katie Pennock was the national high school journalist of the year in 2002.
Gorsuch herself is highly decorated. She is a Journalism Education Association Lifetime Achievement Award recipient. She was the Dow Jones Newspaper Fund high school journalism national teacher of the year in 2004. She was JEA national yearbook advisor in 2013. She received the Medal of Merit Professional Service Award in 2015.
Former HCPS Asst. Supt. Dr. Jan King siad her daughter, now a CPA, credits Gorsuch for providing a “creative haven” and “teaching her tangible, transferable skills such as design, font selection, and working with a team to produce a quality product.”
Gorsuch enjoyed seeing students’ “growth,” from “silly ninth-graders” to mature and productive seniors.
Ingrid McNair was the face of the school system’s popular Historic Johnson Farm in 1999-2014, serving as its administrative assistant and then farm coordinator. She got grants to enable the farm to modernize its ten structures on 15 acres such as restoring the 1880 farmhouse, and to build a visitors’ center. She expanded its educational programs.
McNair led school field trips, brought in sheep and other resident farm animals, got students to make soap as among hands-on activities, started wagon rides in 2007, and drove tractor rides. The Dutch native arranged for weaving and other heritage craft demonstrations. She volunteers daily at the farm, caring for its donkeys and goats.
“Trish” Allen’s 26-year HCPS career closed with her being its first public information officer, from 1999 to 2014. She was the media liaison, took photos, and wrote press releases. She designed the initial HCPS website and several publications. She coordinated teacher appreciation awards and activities.
Dr. Don Jones, LEAD Leaders
The late Dr. Don Jones was honored in a video tribute, for his taking the HCEF to greater heights as its executive director in 2006-14. He increased its annual scholarships from four to 63 each, totaling nearly $1.9 million. He boosted HCEF fundraising.
Jones is “truly a champion for children,” Dr. Bryant said. Jones was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2019. His acceptance video was shown as a tribute. In it, he said he liked to “see people’s excitement for getting into” the hall.
HCEF Executive Director Peggy Marshall noted that 45 HCEF scholarships for 2022-23 total $125,000.
The Leader in Me program is in about half of the 23 HCPS schools. The ceremony’s two student co-hosts were North Henderson High School (NHHS) seniors Lizbet Roman Antunez and Echo Schwab. They created the NHHS student Lighthouse Team, which speaks to local elementary students. NHHS is among few schools nationwide to implement LEAD into its curriculum. Antunez said that LEAD instills “life habits that will drive you to be successful.”