Better Governing Now » Governor McCrory Awards Orders of the Long Leaf Pine at Dixon Elementary School


Governor McCrory Awards Orders of the Long Leaf Pine at Dixon Elementary School

News Release:

    Holly Ridge, N.C.     Governor Pat McCrory was at Dixon Elementary School this morning to congratulate teachers on receiving grants as part of the Bright Ideas program of the Jones-Onslow Electric Membership Corporation (EMC), one of North Carolina's electric cooperatives. For more than 20 years, the Jones-Onslow EMC has distributed more than $1 million to teachers in Jones and Onslow Counties through grants of up to $2,000 to fund classroom-based projects submitted by teachers.

    "Since entering office, our administration has focused on breaking down the silos between the education and business communities to make sure we are preparing our students with the skills they will need to compete in the future," said Governor McCrory. "The Bright Ideas grant program is a great example of the kind of public-private collaboration that makes our education and our state stronger. Each of the award-winning teachers is a role model for our state."

    While the governor visited the school, he recognized art teacher Beth Howard and CEO of the Jones-Onslow EMC Ron McElheney with Orders of the Long Leaf Pine, the highest award the governor of North Carolina can bestow.

    Art instructor Beth Howard has won 21 Bright Ideas grants that have funded art projects reaching more than 20,000 students. In addition, Howard has been a coach for Dixon Elementary' s world-recognized Odyssey of the Mind team, been a leader on recycling and environmental stewardship and served as a mentor to other teachers.

    Ron McElheney has served as CEO of Jones-Onslow EMC for 27 years and helped start the Jones-Onslow Bright Ideas program. McElheney also served on the board of Coastal Carolina Community College, won numerous awards for his leadership on economic development boards and is a passionate supporter of the men and women serving in the armed forces.

    "North Carolina is fortunate for the leadership of people like Ron McElheney and teachers like Beth Howard," continued Governor McCrory. "Their partnership is a prime example of how the public and private sectors can work together for the betterment of our students."

    Since entering office, Governor McCrory has encouraged businesses to take leadership roles in our children's education to prepare them for the 21st century workforce. The administration has facilitated partnerships among business and education leaders through the North Carolina Business Committee on Education and by reconvening the Education Cabinet comprised of statewide education leaders to ensure North Carolina's education system is preparing students for the skills business and industry will need in the future. The governor has also worked to better align and streamline our education and workforce programs through the NCWorks program.

    For more information on the report please see:

    For more information on North Carolina's Division of Public Health please see:

    Contact: Crystal Feldman

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