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State Superintendent of Schools visits Bladen - Click HERE for photos
Dr. June St.Clair Atkinson, North Carolina Superintendent of Public Instruction, was in Bladen County Tuesday, the first visit by anyone in that position in many years.
Dr. Atkinson visited classrooms in several local schools and met with the CTE Business Partnership Advisory Council  at noontime.
Shortly after arrival Tuesday morning she was in a classroom at Elizabethtown Primary School accompanied by Dr. Robert Taylor and members of his administrative team and Alan West, a member of the Board of Education.
Ms Vanessa Ruffin, Assistant Principal at Elizabethtown Primary, welcomed the group to the school and accompanied Dr. Atkinson to several classrooms where she could interact with students and teachers.
She visited Elizabethtown Middle and later at Dublin and West Bladen High School.
A noontime luncheon was attended by numerous representatives of the business community and Bladen Community College. 
Dr. William Findt, President of BCC said he was pleased about the partnership with the local public schools.  The number of students doing a dual enrollment has increased each year, he said.
Dr. Robert Taylor introduced Dr. Atkinson and said she had the toughest job in the state, fighting the fight for education.
She spoke of her early years as a student working in various jobs paying her way through college and how she used her earlier experiences in business and career education to receive a scholarship at Radford University in Virginia.
Dr. Atkinson praised the career education efforts when local schools work with Community Colleges.  It helps students to work with adults as role models.
CTE (Career Technical Education) is important she stated.  She spoke of learning to type on an old Underwood typewriter.  Some students progress through the programs more quickly than others.  For some students and careers, credentialing is more important than a degree.  The local school systems are headed in the right direction, according to the speaker.
She said the statewide high school graduation rate is now at 84% a huge increase over a few years ago when it was 68%, but there are more miles to go.
Dr. Atkinson described the CTE program as being "tough work, but worth doing."
Other speakers on the program were Mrs. Sondra H. Guyton, Continuing Ed at Bladen Community College and Mrs Willa Dean Williams, CTE Director, Bladen County Schools.
Mrs.Tiina Mundy, BCC Director of Human Resources, was the moderator.

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