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Cheryl M. Shuffler
Public Relations Officer
Burke County Public Schools
(w) 438-2989 | (c) 432-6212

The Burke County Board of Education

posted Dec 7, 2018, 11:44 AM by Melanie Honeycutt

Public Notice:  Due to the potential inclement weather forecast --The Burke County Board of Education Regular Meeting scheduled for    

Monday, December 10, 2018 at 6:00 PM has been rescheduled to Thursday, December 13, 2018 at 6:00 pm.  The Meetin will be held in the Olive Hill Room at the Olive Hill Resource Center, 509 West Concord Street Morganton, NC 28655.


Reading specialist receives grant for flexible seating

posted Dec 5, 2018, 11:55 AM by Cheryl Shuffler   [ updated Dec 5, 2018, 1:06 PM ]


Drexel Elementary School reading specialist Suzanne Jensen received a $1,000 grant for flexible classroom seating from the Betsy and Fred Cranford Endowment through the Alpha Nu Chapter of the NC Delta Kappa Gamma Educational Foundation.

As a reading specialist, Jensen works with students on improving their reading skills. She said research shows that students improve academically when study time incorporates movement versus a traditional stationary seated position.

Jensen said, “Many of my struggling readers also have focus and attention problems. Using active seating in the classroom gets students moving and helps improve cognitive performance, time on-task, concentration, and overall attitude toward learning. Flexible seating allows students to wobble, rock, or bounce which increases oxygen to the brain and core strength. It helps keep young minds more alert and focused. A positive learning environment helps students feel more comfortable during class which in turn helps improve motivation for learning.”

Jenson is grateful for the grant that allowed her to furnish her classroom with the bright, colorful seats that have a creative and modern look. She said the flexible seating allows students to quickly pair up or work in small collaborative groups without having to move chairs or desks.

Jensen’s goal is to see struggling readers get more excited about coming to reading class. “A more exciting learning environment is one way to help students improve attitudes towards school and learning,” she said. “Many of my students have trouble concentrating and are wiggly in stationary seats. These seats should give them some wiggle room without being disruptive while helping them stay focused on the lesson. An uncomfortable student is a distracted and unproductive student. These seats make it much easier to move around for partner work and collaborative group work in the classroom than the traditional student chairs.”

Burke County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Larry Putnam said, “Kudos to Mrs. Jensen for seeking out this grant to upfit her reading classroom with this flexible furniture. We know that students today learn much differently than we did, and this is another great example of how we are meeting students where they are and doing what we can to help them be as successful as they can. Thank you to the Cranford Endowment, Alpha Nu and Delta Kappa Gamma for making opportunities such as this available to our teachers.”

Burke County Board of Education Public Notice

posted Nov 30, 2018, 12:48 PM by Melanie Honeycutt

The regular Burke County Board of Education work session has been amended to a special called meeting on Monday, December 3, 2018, at 6 pm.  There will be an election of chair and vice chair.  A work Session will follow and "no action will be taken".  The Meeting will be held in the Conference Room #10 at West Concord Resource Center, 509 West Concord Street, Morganton, NC 28655.  The agenda is below.

Quick actions of student, staff save heart attack victim’s life at school

posted Nov 20, 2018, 11:02 AM by Cheryl Shuffler   [ updated Nov 30, 2018, 7:39 AM ]


Morganton, NC – Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2018


This Thanksgiving season when retired Burke County Public Schools teacher Johnny Childers counts his blessings, a student and staff members at East Burke Middle School are on the top of his list. Childers, now a substitute teacher, had a heart attack at East Burke Middle on Friday, Nov. 16. He and others credit the quick actions of a seventh grader and several teachers for saving his life.

Childers said, “I am so blessed to have been at EBMS Friday morning when I experienced heart failure. I was feeling perfectly normal and looking forward to a great Friday morning start. My only recollection is that I felt faint and kneeled down beside the teacher's desk in the seventh grade workroom.” 

Enter seventh-grade student Dalton F. 

“I walked into homeroom and noticed a table had been moved,” Dalton said. “I looked down, and I saw Mr. Childers swaying. He was sitting up, but then he fell back.” Dalton said he reached for Childers’ hand and asked if he was OK. When he didn’t respond, Dalton said, “I yelled at the top of my lungs for help, but no one heard me.” 

At first, Dalton was afraid he might get in trouble for yelling, but he knew someone needed to call 911. “There’s good panic and bad panic,” Dalton said, “and what I did was the really good way to panic. I ran out in the hall to get help.” 

Math teacher Kelly Shook heard Dalton’s screams and the two ran together into the room. When Shook saw Childers – who happened to be one of his former teachers and basketball coach – on the floor, he then prompted Dalton to run to get more help. Dalton found math teachers Jaclyn Reid and Rebecca Ramsey and teacher assistant Beth Wright who rushed into the room. Reid immediately called 911, Ramsey administered CPR on Childers and Shook retrieved the Automated External Defibrillator (AED).

East Burke Middle Principal Lora Austin said it was a team effort with science teacher Michelle Hass, school resource officer Kristie Puckett, school nurse Mandy Morrison and counselors Heather Smart and Vanessa Robbins also running to Childers’ aid. The adults in the room sent Dalton and other students to a different classroom while they tended to Childers. Others in the school worked to clear the parking lot and hallways for first responders and the ambulance to get to Childers.

Austin said, “Many other EBMS staff members who didn’t have students at the time ran over to see if they could help and quickly took over with getting students off the buses and into the building safely. All of that happened in less than 30 minutes. Dalton, the staff, the first responders, and the AED saved Mr. Childers’ life. The doctor’s said that the swift work of these fine Raiders made the difference.”

Childers said he doesn’t remember anything about the incident except for kneeling and then coming to in the hospital. He said, “Later in the day, the cardiologist who treated me at the hospital said it is likely I would not have survived this event if I had not been at the school. This special place had the equipment and people in the building with the ability to restart my heart and breathing if they worked quickly and according to their training.” 

As soon as he learned of the incident, Burke County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Larry Putnam went to East Burke Middle School. He met with staff and Dalton. Putnam said, “The quick thinking of Dalton and the staff at East Burke Middle School, plus the forethought of our Board of Education to equip all of our schools and buildings with the life-saving AEDs gives this story a happy ending. Dalton and the teachers and staff at East Burke Middle are heroes in my book. Their actions saved Mr. Childers’ life, and we wish him a speedy recovery.”

Dalton said of meeting Putnam, “Dr. Larry Putnam said I did a really good job and that I actually saved his life.”

Dalton’s mom, Heather Powell, who works security at East Burke High School, said her son went home from school sick on Wednesday and stayed out of school on Thursday. “He told me he was glad he was able to go back to school on Friday and to be there for Mr. Childers,” Powell said of her son. “I had a very proud mom moment on Friday.”

Dalton and all of the staff involved in saving Childers remained at school on Friday. Childers said, “What can I say about my terrific colleagues who had received training but, more importantly, didn't hesitate to use it and perform remarkably under pressure until EMS arrived.” They were given time to talk about and process what had happened. Austin said, “We have a great staff here. They were able to deal with it and go back into the classroom and teach.”

The school counselors have had conversations with Dalton to check on how he is processing the traumatic experience. Robbins said it was Dalton who was concerned about the teachers. She said, “He had to go check on the teachers to make sure they were OK.” Smart said, “That’s Dalton. Always thinking of someone else.”

Dalton likes lunch period the best in school, but also likes science and math, and for when he grows up wants to mesh the two into a computer science career. He likes tinkering with circuits and battery switches and is interested in building drones for the military.

Childers taught in Burke County for 38 years at Hildebran and East Burke Middle. He returned as a sub three years ago and had just started a long-term sub role at East Burke Middle.

The two are looking forward to a reunion. Childers said when he sees Dalton again, he plans on giving him a big hug. He said, “I will forever be grateful to Dalton for his essential role in my being able to continue this wonderful life.” Dalton looks forward to seeing Childers, too. He said, “I’m going to be glad to see him. He has a way with other people. He’s nice and will help anybody. He has been a good influence on a lot of people.”

Childers is expecting a speeding recovery. He said he had two new stents placed in his right coronary artery on Friday, and will have a, inter-cardiac device placed in his chest Tuesday. In an email to the East Burke Middle School staff, he wrote, “I am writing this while resting comfortably in my hospital room with my precious wife, Beverly. Have a blessed Thanksgiving, and we hope to see you all soon.”

Beverly Childers is a retired teacher assistant with Burke County Public Schools, and the couple’s son Travis Childers is the media coordinator at Heritage Middle School, their daughter Christy Slutsky is a pre-k teacher at Hildebran, and their daughter Julie Patton is an educational talent search counselor for Western Piedmont Community College and is assigned to East Burke High School.

“Our family will have a special Thanksgiving this year,” Childers said. 

Burns elected to state School Board Association

posted Nov 16, 2018, 9:14 AM by Cheryl Shuffler


Morganton, NC – Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2018


Burke County Board of Education Chair Randy Burns was elected to the North Carolina School Board Association Board of Directors on Monday, Nov. 12, 2018, during the Delegate Assembly at the NCSBA Annual Conference in Greensboro, N.C. Now a part of the governing body of the NCSBA, Burns is one of the 33-member Board of Directors.

The Board of Directors plans and is responsible for the annual delegate assembly and other meetings of the association. The board has general charge and control of the affairs of the Association and may act in all matters for the association between sessions of the Delegate Assembly.


Burns said, “I am excited about my new role on the School Board Association Board of Directors. I look forward to representing Burke County on this board and working with the other delegates from around the state on issues related to public education and fulfilling the NCSBA’s mission to provide advocacy, leadership, and services that enable school boards to govern at the highest level and its vision to be the essential resource for school leaders as they work to provide a quality education for all students. I would also like to thank my fellow Burke Board of Education members, for it is with the collective effort of each member that I am allowed this opportunity.”


Burns has served as a Burke County Board of Education member since November 2011 and has been chair of the board since 2013. He has garnered a reputation as a peacemaker and worked to improve the school board’s relationship with other governing bodies, including the Burke County Board of Commissioners.


Burns’ tenure on the board has focused on workforce development. Burns served on the school board’s Workforce Development Subcommittee, and together the board has supported engaging new programs for students, including a construction rodeo, cosmetology, firefighting, mechatronics, industrial sewing, agriculture programs, the STEAM Academy, Project Lead The Way, engineering camps, 3D printers; Manufacturing Day, job fairs, tours of local industries, and student internships/ apprenticeships.


Burns and fellow board members seek to open networking channels between the school system and local business, industry, economic development, community college, chamber of commerce and government leaders with a goal to better equip Burke County Public Schools students with workforce and college ready skills.


The Burke County Board of Education has made improving technology and infrastructure, child nutrition and school safety priorities in recent years. In 2014, the Center for American Progress took note of Burke County Public Schools, acknowledging the district’s high student achievement coupled with low district per-pupil spending and ranking it as one of the most productive in the state. Also, Niche.com this year ranked Burke County Public Schools No. 14 on its list of best school districts in the state.


As a community leader, Burns and fellow board members have advocated for the Western NC School of Science and Math, which will be built in Morganton.


Burke County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Larry Putnam said, “With his visionary capacity, expertise and energy, Mr. Burns will be a great addition to the NCSBA Board of Directors. He and fellow Burke County school board members have a passion for ensuring all Burke County Public Schools students receive an education that prepares them for a bright future. With Mr. Burns’ background in manufacturing and position as engineering technologist at the NC Center for Engineering Technologies, he brings an industrial perspective to the business of educating students. He has extraordinary leadership and diplomatic skills, which have been a major factor in the mutual respect fellow board members have for each other and the board’s improved relationship with community leaders.”

Photo: Randy Burns. Photo credit: John S. Payne. 

Burke Board of Education receives leadership award

posted Nov 13, 2018, 2:04 PM by Cheryl Shuffler   [ updated Nov 15, 2018, 8:06 AM ]

Photo by John S. Payne: School board members are, first row from left, Sam Wilkinson, Edna Weller, Don Hemstreet, Vice Chair Buddy Armour; second row from left, Seth P. Hunt Jr., Superintendent Larry Putnam, Chair Randy Burns, Assistant Superintendent David Fonseca and RL Icard.

The Burke County Board of Education received the School Board Leadership Award at the 2018 North Carolina School Board Association Annual Conference Awards Ceremony on Tuesday, Nov. 13, at the Koury Convention Center in Greensboro, N.C. This honor is presented to an entire school board that demonstrates extraordinary leadership during the school year.


On receiving the School Board Leadership Award, Burke County Board of Education Chair Randy Burns said, “It is an honor for the Burke County Board of Education to be recognized for this award. We take seriously our duty to provide every student in Burke County Public Schools with a sound basic education and make policies to ensure that. It is a pleasure to serve the students of Burke County Public Schools and to do so with such a great group of fellow board members.”


To be considered for the award, a school board must show that it fosters an environment in which students can develop and flourish; achieves system goals; fosters parental involvement; collaborates with social agencies and/or community groups, including other governing bodies; creates a school community that fosters quality performance and innovation; and works well with administrative staff and as a board. Eligibility requirements for the award include board member compliance with training requirements, completion of ethics training and having representation at school board association events.


Burke County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Larry Putnam said the Burke County Board of Education’s biggest accomplishment over the past school year was constructing and opening the new Mountain View Elementary School, which took working closely with the City of Morganton and Burke County Board of Commissioners to accomplish. Other notable accomplishments include the board’s support of internship and apprenticeship programs; local business and industry tours; the Work in Burke partnership; and a great relationship with Western Piedmont Community College.


Putnam said, “The Board of Education continues to be a leader and a listener in this county and seeks to do what is right for this community. Successful students are at the center of the Burke County Public Schools District Strategic Plan 2017-2022: A Roadmap for Our Schools & Community, which the board adopted two years ago and uses as the guiding force behind each decision it makes. The board is devoted to ensuring equitable learning opportunities for students through the integration of flexible learning spaces, technology, inquiry-based problem learning, non-traditional learning and workforce readiness and therefore is very deserving of this recognition from the state school board association.”  

The Burke County Board of Education Special Called Meeting

posted Nov 9, 2018, 5:05 AM by Melanie Honeycutt

The Burke County Board of Education will hold a special called meeting on Monday, November 12 at 10:45 am to discuss and possibly take action on, matters covered by the attorney-client privilege.  The meeting will be held in the General Session Room at the Koury Convention Center located at 3121 West Gate City Boulevard in Greensboro, NC.  The meeting will be held during a break between educational sessions for the school board members during the annual, state-wide meeting of the North Carolina School Boards Association.  The Board will convene a closed session for discussions with its attorney.  

The Burke County Board of Education

posted Nov 2, 2018, 12:10 PM by Melanie Honeycutt

The Burke County Board of Education will meet on Monday, November 5, 2018, at 6 pm.  The meeting will be held in the Olive Hill Room at the Olive Hill Resource Center, 509 West Concord Street, Morganton NC 28655 The Agenda is below.

The Burke County Board of Education Meeting

posted Oct 26, 2018, 2:24 PM by Melanie Honeycutt

The Burke County Board of Education will meet on Monday, October 29, 2018 at 6:00 PM.  The meeting will be held in conference room #10 at the Olive Hill Resource Center, 509 West Concord Street, Morganton , NC 28655.  The agenda is below, there will be no action in this work session.

Hildebran student wins spelling bee

posted Oct 23, 2018, 12:31 PM by Cheryl Shuffler

Hildebran Elementary School fifth grader Emmalee S. won the Burke County Public Schools 2018-19 Spelling Bee on Monday, Oct. 22. The annual spelling bee was held at Patton High School and included 19 spellers from the district's elementary and middle schools. The top spellers won their school spelling bees to advance to the district level. After 13 rounds of the spelling bee, Emmalee correctly spelled "century" and then "exploit" to win the bee. Greysen B., a fifth grader from Mull Elementary School, was the runner up. Judges for the spelling bee were David McGee and Shane Mace from Burke County Public Schools and Jonelle Bobak with The News Herald. The News Herald sponsors the event each year. Hildebran Elementary School principal Randy Sain accepted the Lillian Butler Trophy on behalf of his school following Emmalee's win. The trophy was named after Lillian Butler, who served as chief judge for many years. Over the past 26 years of the spelling bee, a middle schooler has won 14 times and an elementary schooler 12 times. Table Rock Middle School has won the most with 10 championships since 1994. 


Drexel Elementary - David B.

Forest Hill Elementary - Ella A.

George Hildebrand Elementary - Gunner G.

Glen Alpine Elementary - Austin F.

Hildebran Elementary - Emmalee S.

Hillcrest Elementary - Alex D.

Icard Elementary - Lanie D.

Mountain View Elementary - Fernando G.

Mull Elementary - Greysen B.

Oak Hill Elementary - Gage M.

Ray Childers Elementary - Ethyn S.

Salem Elementary - Colton P.

Valdese Elementary - Aiden H.

W. A. Young Elementary - Raghav A.

East Burke Middle - Keegan C.

Heritage Middle - Anabel M.

Liberty Middle - Ella S.

Table Rock Middle - Morgan C.

Walter R. Johnson Middle - Ishan K.


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