2010 Razor Walker Award Winners
The Ability Garden of New HanoverCounty Arboretum
“The Ability Garden provides persons with sensory and physical disabilities unique opportunities to garden and engage in horticultural therapy. This is indeed a special place that removes barriers for individuals and enables them to connect with nature.”
The Ability Garden is located at the New Hanover County Arboretum on Oleander Drive in Wilmington. It is designed to encourage and promote successful gardening opportunities using horticultural therapy as an intervention. The Garden has raised beds, adaptive equipment, hands-on activities, and an extensive variety of garden containers to make them accessible for all participants.
Early Childhood Leadership and Policy Network
“The Early Childhood Leadership and Policy Network is designed to educate and empower early childhood leaders throughout North Carolina. The dedication and commitment of these volunteers has resulted in them emerging as leading advocates for young children from diverse backgrounds.”
The Early Childhood Leadership and Policy Network was founded in 2007 with a specific focus on facilitating more diverse leadership in the field. The group was intentionally diverse with inclusion of persons of color as a specific target area, but also provided attention to diversity of cultures and roles in order to gather the voices of everyone in the field of early childhood education.
“To be in the presence of Vann Pennell is to be enveloped by his energy. He has helped to transform our school, and he has motivated the entire staff to improve their teaching skills.”
Vann Pennell is currently the principal of South Brunswick High School. Prior to coming to South Brunswick in 2005, Mr. Pennell was a principal and Assistant Superintendent in Camden County Schools; teacher, coach, and bus coordinator at Ahoskie High School; and teacher and coach at St. Paul’s High School and Williamston High School. Vann Pennell was named 2008 Principal of the Year for Brunswick County Schools, and Southeastern Regional Principal of the Year and the North Carolina Wachovia Principal of the Year in 2009.
Vann Pennell truly exemplifies the qualities of a Razor Walker through his efforts and leadership, and he has never forgotten that educating children is his calling.
Jimmy Pierce, Jr.
“Jimmy Pierce has created a strong mentoring environment that instills patience, pride, and confidence in at-risk young people. He does this by modeling the Golden Rule and imparting the reality of actions and consequences.”
Jimmy Pierce is the founder of the “Kids Making It” (KMI) program in Wilmington. He left his law practice in 1996 in order to develop KMI into a fulltime program. Kids Making It teaches a variety of job readiness skills, and links students and their families with a social worker to provide individual and vocational counseling.
Jimmy Pierce epitomizes the qualities and commitment of a Razor Walker since he was “willing to walk the razor’s edge” to assist young people with job and life skills, despite the personal and financial costs.
“Marvin Pittman is an excellent humanitarian who works not only in the educational arena, but also in the community and in his church. His focus continues to be improving the academic performance of all students in the public schools of our state.”
Marvin Pittman retired from the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction in 2010 after an outstanding and productive career devoted to educational improvement. His recent roles included serving as Senior Assistant to the State Superintendent of Public Instruction and Community Liaison for Student Achievement with the North Carolina State Board of Education. He is currently working as an Educational Consultant.
Marvin Pittman represents the true commitment to education of Razor Walker recipients through his extensive efforts to improve the achievement of all students in North Carolina’s public schools.
Senator A.B. Swindell, IV
“A.B. Swindell has proven to be an influential legislator truly committed to improving public schools. He strongly supports recruiting and retaining the best K-12 teachers, keeping class sizes small, and ensuring that students stay in school.”
Since 2000, Senator A.B. Swindell has served the residents of Nash and Wilson counties in the North Carolina State Senate. He is currently in his fifth term, and serves on committees such as Education/Higher Education; Finance; Appropriations/Base Budget (Co-chair); Agriculture/Environment/Natural Resources: and the Senate Select Committee on Energy, Science, and Technology.
Senator A.B. Swindell has “walked the razor’s edge” in his many initiatives to support education and implement public policies to improve the quality of life for all citizens in North Carolina.
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Razor Walker Contributors
Dr. Heyward C. Bellamy, ‘02
Mr. Cedric Dickerson, ‘09
Mr. John Dornan, ‘01
Dr. Dudley E. Flood, ‘94
Ms. Elizabeth Frasier, ‘05
Mr. Charles F. Green, III, ‘98
Ms. Anna W. Hattaway, ‘95
Mr. David L. Jones, ‘06
Dr. Noel K. Jones, ‘06
Dr. Elsie C. Leak, ‘07
Ms. Tannis F. Nelson, ‘03
Dr. Elliott Palmer, ‘08
Mrs. Juanita Palmer, ‘08
Dr. Frank R. Reynolds, ‘04
Ms. Janet Toedt, ‘98
Dr. Robert E. Tyndall, ‘00
Mr. James Wallace/Intracoastal Realty, ‘07
Mr. Robert F. Warwick, ‘98
Mr. Barden Winstead, Jr., ‘97
Dr. Eleanor B. Wright, 08
Previous honorees designated by the year in which they received the award