Two Union County educators awarded Long Leaf Pine
Not just one, but two Union County retired educators have been awarded The Order of the Long Leaf Pine, one of the highest honors the governor can bestow on a North Carolina citizen.
Retired UCPS Superintendent Dr. Ed Davis and former teacher and Board of Education member, Carolyn Lowder were presented the prestigious award Wednesday by District Court Judge Tripp Helms on behalf of North Carolina Gov. Bev Perdue.
“Ms. Lowder and Dr. Davis are two of the biggest reasons why people have recognized this district across the state and across this country,” Helms said. “It’s an honor to present them with the Order of The Long Leaf Pine. Thank you for your service.”
In opening the recognition, Union County Public Schools Superintendent Mary Ellis said of the recognition, “The Order of the Long Leaf Pine is one of the highest civilian honors that can be given to a North Carolina citizen.”
Ed Davis retired in 2012 after 35 years in education. He began his teaching career in 1977 when he took a job as a special education teacher in the Monroe Schools. He taught for about 10 1/2 years and then became an assistant principal at Piedmont High School, followed by a principalship at Wingate Elementary in 1990.
He moved to the high school level in 1994 when he became principal at Parkwood High School. He joined Central Services in 2000 as assistant superintendent under the leadership of Dr. Jerry Thomas, who became Davis' mentor. He then took the proverbial helm in 2005.
“I am so honored to receive this award, particularly to receive it along side of Ms. Carolyn Lowder, someone for whom I have a great deal of respect, affection and appreciation for what she’s done for the children and young people in Union County,” Davis said.
Davis recognized his family for their support during his 35 years in education. “They’ve been here to support me every step of the way,” he said. “They’ve seen some of the ups and downs of being an educator and being superintendent.”
Lowder dedicated 50 years to education in Union County. As a teacher, Lowder taught calculus, physics and chemistry, and was teacher of the year twice. She served on the Board of Education for 19 years, and chaired the board for eight years.
“I have so many good friends and colleagues that are employees of the Union County Public Schools,” Lowder said. “And I am so proud of you. You have no idea how proud I am of our school system and the progress we have made through the years. Thank you for all that you are doing. I’ll be out there cheering for you, you can be sure of that.”
This certificate is most often presented when a person retires. A State Employee may be awarded The Order of the Long Leaf Pine if he/she has 30+ years of exemplary service to North Carolina. Others who have demonstrated a lifetime of service to the state may also qualify.
Created in the mid 1960s, the award is given to residents in recognition of a proven record of service or some other special achievement. Past recipients include such famous Tar Heels as Maya Angelou, Billy Graham, Michael Jordan, Bob Timberlake and Rick Hendrick, along with longtime state employees, prominent business executives and noted politicians, athletes, musicians, actors and advocates.
• This article was written by Deb Coates Bledsoe, Union County Public Schools Communications Coordinator and provided courtesy of the UCPS Communications Office.