This afternoon, Henderson County Public Schools (HCPS) Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum & Instruction Dr. Jan King was named the 2021 recipient of the Dr. Frances Jones Trailblazer Award by the North Carolina Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.
The “Trailblazer” award is annually presented to an education professional who has dedicated their educational career to excellence in public education. As the distinguished 2021 recipient, King is recognized by the NCASCD for demonstrating 1) a life-long dedication to the improvement of education for students and professional development for teachers and administrators, (2) a belief in ASCD’s Whole Child philosophy through innovative programs and initiatives and (3) service as an educational mentor and leader to other educational professionals throughout her career.
“No educator is more deserving of this prestigious recognition and award,” said Superintendent Dr. John Bryant. “Dr. King is the pure embodiment of compassionate commitment and service above self. Henderson County Public Schools and public education in North Carolina are forever enriched from her contributions and investment in the children of our community.”
When King retires on March 1, she will have spent 28 years serving the students and staff of HCPS and public educators across North Carolina through her advocacy and roles with the N.C. Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI), and recognized statewide for her excellence in contributions to public education.
“Dr. Jan King is that rare educator who has experienced success at every level including elementary, middle, and high,” said Dr. Wendy Frye, King’s successor as Assistant Superintendent for Instructional Services. “She is an active member of statewide advisory boards and is often called upon to be a spokesperson for teachers and administrators.”
“She has been a visionary in each role she held throughout her career and truly makes everyone around her a better educator and person as well,” added Amy Laughter, Regional Education Facilitator for NCDPI. “(King) has the perfect blend of pushing others to be better, while also possessing a caring and nurturing nature that encourages and gives confidence.”
Within HCPS, King has served as a classroom teacher, Academically and Intellectually Gifted (AIG) specialist, district high school Instructional Coach, Assistant Principal, Principal, Director of School Learning and Leadership Development, Chief Professional Development Officer, and Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum & Instruction. King’s dedication to educational leadership within HCPS includes her work with instructional technology staff to grow the district’s capacity to provide high-quality ongoing professional development for educators, improving their skills in creating effective blended learning environments.
Also under King’s leadership, HCPS has continued to maintain high academic achievement, while emphasizing student safety and the needs of the whole child. The Student Services department has grown from 1 to 13 School Social Workers to address a range of student safety, support, and social and emotional needs, and King’s team worked to train teachers, staff, and community partners in trauma-informed methods.
“The passion that she exhibited in the classroom transferred to her role as an administrator working with educators, students and the community,” said Dr. Jan Webster, Director of the Western Region Education Service Alliance (WRESA). “Her efforts to support educators and provide a positive culture were successful in all of her educational roles.”
At the state level, King served 37 school districts for three years at the N.C. Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI) as Professional Development Lead for Region 8, and then Regional Lead for Regions 7 and 8.
“I am humbled to receive the Dr. Frances Jones Trailblazer Award,” King said. “Dr. Jones led the North Carolina ASCD affiliate for many years with a focus on collaboration between instructional leaders, and I am grateful her legacy continues today. It has been my honor to represent Henderson County Public Schools as a member of the NCASCD Board of Directors. I love North Carolina public schools, and I share this Trailblazer recognition with all of the educators, local and otherwise, who dedicate their lives to students across our district and state.”
King plans to give the award money to the Henderson County Education Foundation.