PINEHURST — Dr. Randy Bledsoe, retired superintendent of Elkin City Schools, was recently named as the 2017 Dr. Frances Jones Trailblazer Award Winner by the North Carolina Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (NCASCD) at the yearly conference in Pinehurst. This award was created to honor and celebrate Dr. Frances Jones who retired as the executive director of NCASCD in April, 2015.
The award is presented to an education professional who has dedicated their educational career to excellence in public education. Criteria for award winners include the demonstration of: (a) a life-long dedication to the improvement of education for students and professional development for teachers and administrators as demonstrated by results for children and adults, (b) a belief in ASCD’s Whole Child philosophy through innovative programs and initiatives and (c) service as a an educational mentor and leader to other educational professionals throughout their career.
A native of Surry County, Bledsoe began his career as a teacher/coach with the High Point City Schools. His career pathway has included administrative leadership roles in Wayne County and Greene County. Bledsoe became superintendent of Elkin City Schools in 2008 and retired in 2016.
During his tenure as superintendent, Elkin City Schools received numerous accolades including: the first NC Pre-K through 12 integrated STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) program; ECS consistently ranked as one of the Top Ten School Districts in North Carolina; noted as a school system with the highest graduation rate for the past nine years; consistently ranked as among the Highest Teacher Retention Rate in North Carolina; third highest NC Rating in Parent Satisfaction Surveys; Top 10 WorkKeys performing district in North Carolina; ranked seventh Highest Achieving School District in 2016 based on overall Grade Level Proficiency for all tested areas in grades 3-12; ranked second in North Carolina based on ACT scores of students in Grade 11; and in the most recent released Niche Survey, Elkin City Schools ranked sixth in Best Place to Teach, 12th Best Teachers in NC and 12th safest school district in NC.
His letter of recommendation stated, “His leadership among his colleagues created an opportunity for the staff to transform teaching and learning within the classroom, the school and the school district. The integration of STEAM paired with tremendous teachers, caring parents and a highly involved business community ensures the students graduate from Elkin City Schools prepared for highly skilled careers and College Ready. Community partnerships allowed for on-going community and industry engagement for staff and students. During the worst financial downfall in education, he continued to promote teaching and learning for academic success. The theme ‘Journey to Significance’ for Elkin City Schools, which was started during Dr. Bledsoe’s tenure, has been embraced by the leadership team and is the reason ECS continues to be recognized as one of the top academic performing school districts in North Carolina.”
After receiving the award, Bledsoe noted his thanks to the NCASCD, one of the best educational organizations in the state and nation, and its executive board for its continuous focus on improving teaching and learning for all students in North Carolina.
“I am honored to receive this award on behalf of all the persons who have mentored me, worked beside of me and worked as a team to make our Elkin City School district one of the highest achieving school districts in North Carolina. I hope that in my career I have encouraged people to continually seek excellence in all phases of their life like the namesake of this award Dr. Francis Jones,” he said.
“There are many teachers, principals, superintendents and school leaders who encouraged me and I am thankful for each one of them. I have had the privilege to be a part of many education movements that have made a difference in North Carolina public education: the middle school movement in High Point, high school block scheduling in Wayne County, One to One technology in Greene County and our innovative Pre-K through grade 12 STEAM program in Elkin City Schools. I especially want to thank my board, leadership team, staff, students and the community of Elkin City Schools as we followed our vision to better educate our youth. The ECS Team allowed me an opportunity to be a part of the best school district in NC. It was an honor and a privilege to serve as superintendent of Elkin City Schools.”
A press release on the award noted, Bledsoe led the Elkin City Schools to accomplish many milestones while in this role as superintendent. As a visionary leader, he empowered and encouraged teachers, staff and administrators to prepare every student to their highest academic achievement level to be with the overall goal of students being productive citizens.
This is the second statewide award for Bledsoe during the past year. He was awarded “The Order of the Long Leaf Pine Award” by Gov. Pat McCrory in June based on his dedication to the educational success of all students and staff during his career. His efforts over the past eight years with Elkin City Schools demonstrated his pride and passion educational transformation through a collective vision and focus forward continuous educational improvement. Bledsoe is an adjunct professor at High Point University and the director of high school sales for CourtHarbor, Inc. in Welcome.