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Rhododendron Society Inductees Honored by ASU’s Reich College of Education June 8

June 11, 2013. The 2013 Class of Rhododendron Society inductees are Ronald R. Beane of Caldwell County, Gail Lentz Ford of Watauga County and Dr. Garrett D. Hinshaw of Catawba County.

rhododendron_societyThe three were honored by Appalachian State University’s Reich College of Education during a breakfast ceremony held on campus Saturday, June 8, as part of the university’s annual alumni reunion weekend.

The Rhododendron Society, established in 1999, recognizes graduates of Appalachian whose service as teachers, librarians, human service professionals or administrators has reflected great credit on themselves, the field of education and the university. Induction is the highest honor given by the Reich College of Education.

Ronald R. Beane

Teacher, coach, consummate public school administrator and volunteer all illustrate Ronald R. Beane’s devotion to education and his local community. Beane began his teaching career at Davenport Jr. High School in 1959, shortly after earning a bachelor’s degree in elementary/intermediate education from Appalachian. He also taught at Gamewell-Collettsville and Hibriten high schools and was the basketball coach at all three schools.

He later earned a master’s degree in school administration in 1974, and an Ed.S. degree in educational administration in 1982, also from Appalachian.

Beane moved through the ranks of public education, serving as a high school principal at Lenoir High School and West Caldwell High School. Public school administration was a true calling for him. He was named associate superintendent of Caldwell County Schools in 1982, a post he held until retiring from his education career in 1994.

He has been praised for working tirelessly during his 35-year career to improve the educational system.

A nominator wrote that, “During his tenure, he had the opportunity to touch and change many lives. His remarkable sense of community; his genuine caring and concern, not just for the youth, but for every person he meets; his sincere and unwavering dedication to uplifting the human spirit; are evident in all that he does.”

Beane is also considered someone who “truly exemplifies the term having a servant’s heart” and strives “to ensure that others have a better quality of life,” wrote another nominator.

Active in his community in many capacities, Beane is a member of the Caldwell County Education Foundation and the Appalachian State University Reich College of Education Advancement Board of Directors.  He also serves on the Caldwell Community College Education Foundation Board of Directors, the Caldwell Community College Board of Trustees and the Gardner-Webb University Board of Trustees.

Beane was inducted in the Caldwell County Schools Hall of Honor in 2007 and Gardner-Webb University’s Gallery of Distinguished Alumni in 2006. Beane earned a two-year degree when the institution was Gardner-Webb Junior College.

Gail Lentz Ford

If you were lucky, you had a teacher like Gail Ford.

“Close your eyes and envision the ideal classroom, one in which you want to enroll your children and grandchildren,” a nominator wrote. “Hers is a classroom environment engaging all students in the learning process.”  

Ford began her career in public education in 1974 after earning a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Appalachian. She continued her education, earning a master’s degree in reading education in 1977 and certification in gifted education in 2002. She has shared her classroom expertise with others in Watauga County as well as across the U.S., ensuring that future school children have the opportunity to learn in an engaging environment.

She served as the academically/intellectually gifted specialist at Hardin Park Elementary School and later directed the K-5 Mentor Program for Watauga County Schools. She became the K-5 curriculum specialist and director of gifted education for Watauga County Schools in 2002 where she remained until retiring in 2009. After a brief respite from her administrative work, she returned to that position in fall 2009 through 2012.

Ford is an award-winning classroom teacher, a teacher of teachers, a supervisor, an innovator and a published writer. She has written and published literature unit guides for the Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company and served as a reading consultant providing staff development for classroom teachers and administrators across the nation.

“Her influence goes beyond the classroom impacting North Carolina classroom teachers, public school leaders and educational policy makers,” a nominator wrote. “As a consultant for academically or intellectually gifted education and reading education, Mrs. Ford has served on many decision-making bodies and consulted with teachers in the four corners of the United States.”

Ford has been a presenter at the International Reading Association, including a keynote speaker. Her honors include being named the Jaycees Outstanding Young Educator, the Outstanding Elementary Mathematics Educator and the Watauga County Teacher of the Year.  She was appointed to the Governor’s Teacher Advisory Board, the State’s Science Advisory Board, and served on the State’s Phonics Committee. 

Dr. Garrett D. Hinshaw

Like many Appalachian graduates, Dr. Garrett D. Hinshaw was the son of first-generation college students who attended Appalachian when it was a state teachers college.  An All Southern Conference and All Atlantic Region baseball player while a student at Appalachian, Hinshaw learned the importance of leadership and that lesson has served him throughout life.

After earning a Bachelor of Science degree from Appalachian in 1990, Hinshaw began his higher education career as coordinator of occupational extension at Surry Community College, the same institution where his parents began their teaching careers. His goal was to become a community college president by the age of 40.

Hinshaw progressed toward that goal by continuing his education, earning a Master of Arts in higher education administration from Appalachian in 1996 and an educational doctorate in adult and community college education from North Carolina State University in 2004. He also earned a Community College Leadership Institute Certificate, ACCLAIM Certificate from N. C. State University and the Future Presidents’ Institute Certificate from the North Carolina Community College System.

After rising through the administrative ranks at Surry Community College and Caldwell Community College & Technical Institute, he became the third president of Catawba Valley Community College (CVCC) in 2006 at the age of 39.

Under his leadership, CVCC has implemented a new strategic plan, relocated its Manufacturing Solutions Center (MSC) and transitioned the center to a research and development operation that includes a business incubator. CVCC has opened a 28,000-square-foot simulated hospital, the largest of its kind east of the Mississippi. The college has created a new image in the community and established itself as a leader in redefining the region’s economy. 

“The transformation of CVCC under his leadership has been amazing,” a nominator wrote. “Garrett is highly respected throughout the state for his leadership, dedication and service within the North Carolina Community College President’s Association. He continually demonstrates the vision, leadership qualities, knowledge and personality to transform our educational system while always seeking to improve the lives of students.”

Hinshaw’s honors include receiving the Catawba County Chamber of Commerce Outstanding Community Leadership Award, the IE Ready Distinguished Leadership Award from N.C. State University and the Outstanding Service Award to the African-American Community.