DOBSON — The Surry County Schools Board of Education and Foundation Board announced Melissa White, Surry County Schools Foundation liaison, has resigned effective Dec. 31. The boards expressed their thanks for her work. After an extensive interview and selection process, Ashley Hutchens Mills will begin as Surry County Schools Foundation liaison on Jan. 1, 2016.
White has served as the Surry County School Foundation liaison since it was founded in January 2011. The foundation’s goal is to support the work of the Surry County Schools and help students be prepared for the workplace and to compete globally. Under White’s leadership, the Surry County Schools Educational Foundation continually grew and encouraged academic achievement through enhanced learning opportunities for students.
To date, the foundation has given more than $200,000 to the 19 schools in the district to assist students with educational field trips, hands-on science activities, Automated External Defibrillator machines for safety, and the establishment of the Outdoor Education Center at the Surry County Schools Science Institute on the campus of Meadowview Magnet Middle School. In addition, the foundation also provided teachers throughout the district the opportunity to apply and receive Enhanced Learning Mini-Grants and to participate in STEMmersion. STEMmersion is a program designed for teachers to visit local businesses looking for ways that science, technology, engineering, and math skills are used. In turn, they implement this knowledge into their classrooms, therefore, connecting “real world” experiences with classroom learning.
Over the past five years, fundraisers such as the Academic Golf Classic, the MAD Dash 5K, the employee campaign and the Educational Challenge campaign have been a significant part of the total funds. In 2014, the Foundation introduced an Endowment Program that allows individuals or families the opportunity to establish a named fund. The required minimum to establish an endowed fund is $5,000. An initial contribution of $1,000 and a commitment to reach the minimum amount within five years can get a fund started. There are seven named endowment funds.
Dr. Travis L. Reeves, superintendent, commented, “Mrs. White is a dedicated person and consummate professional in every aspect of her job. She sets high expectations for herself and others. She has done an outstanding job working with the Education Foundation Board, Surry County Board of Education, school system employees and area businesses in establishing strong relationships that have benefitted our students and staff since the Education Foundation was established in 2011. We wish her the best and appreciate all she has done for the students and staff.”
Brent McKinney, Foundation Board chairman, also said, “Melissa is certainly tops at everything she does. She is an extremely hard worker and has been dedicated to establishing and promoting the Foundation within the schools and community. We are going to miss her, but we know she will do well in her new endeavors.”
White is a native of Surry County. She graduated from Surry Central High School and Gardner-Webb University with a degree in business administration. She resides in the Stony Knoll community with her husband, Jason. They have two daughters, Madison, a senior, and Karlie, a sophomore at Surry Central High.
Ashley Mills, also a native of Surry County, is a 1995 graduate of North Surry High School. In 2000, she graduated from Queens College in Charlotte with a Bachelor of Arts in English with a concentration in marketing. She began her career as a marketing assistant where she created proposals for new project advertisements, lead formal interview technique seminars, and helped present materials to prospective clients. Since 2003, Mills was employed with the American Red Cross serving as a donor recruitment representative, senior donor recruitment representative, and recruitment operations supervisor. As supervisor, she assisted in managing nine account managers of the Winston-Salem service area for an annual collection of more than 85,000 units of blood. She also supervised day-to-day operations, employee management, blood drive coordination with collections staff, and monthly staff evaluations. She received the American Red Cross Employee Excellence Award in 2006 and the Integrity Selling Facilitator Graduate in 2011.
Mills and her husband, Corey, reside in the White Plains community. Their two children attend White Plains Elementary. Cassidy is a third-grader and Carleigh Jo is in kindergarten. Mills serves as the PTO president at White Plains. Principal DeAnne Danley and Assistant Principal Nicole Hazelwood praise Mills for her enthusiasm and positive way she works with others.
Hazelwood said, “She is very articulate, proactive, and always puts the best interests of students first. She plans and sets deadlines and is very time on task oriented.”
“We are excited to welcome Mrs. Ashley Mills to the SCS family as the SCS Education Foundation liaison. Mrs. Mills has extensive experience in marketing and organizing large events that will assist her as she continues the positive momentum and growth the Education Foundation is experiencing. The SCS Education Foundation has become a part of the culture of SCS and our schools rely on the support of the foundation to enhance and enrich educational experiences for our students,” said Dr. Travis L. Reeves, superintendent.