Carol Sykes Honored by DEF
Dare Education Foundation Celebrates Excellence in Education
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Dare Education Foundation Celebrates Excellence in Education

By Nancy Birindelli, DEF Secretary

The Dare Education Foundation held its 7th Annual Excellence in Education Celebration at the Hilton Garden Inn on November 14.  The purpose of the event was to recognize the volunteers, business partners and teachers of the year for their dedicated service to the students and staff of their respective school.  Annually each school nominates a volunteer and a business partner who provided exemplary leadership and support to enhance education during the last school year.  The teachers of the year are selected by their peers to represent their school for the current school year. 

An Excellence in Education Award is also presented to an organization or individual who has contributed an extraordinary effort to support the entire school system.  This year’s recipient was Carol Sykes, Director of Child Nutrition for the Dare County Schools.  Carol has demonstrated her care and concern for students in the AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) program by providing more than $20,000 in scholarships to graduates for the past three years.  The award is now presented to a senior in each of the three high schools after having begun in 2011 with the first AVID graduating class at Manteo High.  The scholarships are in honor of Carol’s grandmother, Mollie Shannon Gallop, who was a strong advocate of education, literacy, and life-long learning.  Nearly a century ago, Mrs. Gallop had a dream to attend college but did not have the financial means.  She worked at the Washington Baum Department Store in Manteo, saved her earnings, and matriculated to the University of North Carolina, one of the first women to graduate from the college.  She obtained a teaching position in Currituck County, met her husband, and moved back to Manteo where she raised fourteen children but always remained a pioneering advocate for education.  These scholarships are a legacy that continues to allow college dreams to be fulfilled.  Although Carol was unable to attend the event as she was at a conference in Raleigh, the award was announced at her meeting by Mayra Munoz, her first scholarship recipient who is attending college at Guilford Technical Community College. The recognition at the Excellent in Education Ceremony was made by Jim Perry, Chair of DEF.

The key note address was presented by Ben Sproul, Chair of the Dare Board of Education, in which he honored the services of the honorees and cited some of the accomplishments of the school system.

The Volunteers of the Year for 2012 – 2013 were introduced by DEF Board member, Bill Pfeifer.  The awards were presented to Floyd Basnight (MHS), Marty Carter (FFES), Thom Holian (FFMS), Alan Johnson (CHES), Kristen Limbacher (KHES), Bobbie Jean Midgett (DCAS), Gayle Oliver (NHES), Rva Pendleton (MMS), Karen Riley (MES), Kathy Tawes (CHSS), and Kelly Tobin (FFHS).

The Business Partners of the Year for 2012 – 2013 were introduced by DEF Board member, Brandy Foreman.  The recipients were Belk Employees - Charles Lewis  (FFES); Coastal Studies Institute – John McCord and David Sybert (MHS); Conner’s Supermarket – John and Rauna Conner (CHSS); Dare County Arts Council – Chris Sawin (FFMS); Food Lion of Avon – Kit Trotter (CHES); Food Lion of Nags Head – Rick Chance (NHES); Gray’s Department Store – Larry Gray (FFHS); Home Depot – Christopher Edwards and Kay Barkentin (KHES); Silver Bonsai Gallery – Kathryn and Ben Stewart (MES); Subway of Manteo – Gilbert Flowers (DCAS), and Sweet Frog – Patricia Nelson (MMS).  The following business partners were recognized for a second year:  Coastal Studies Institute, Conner’s Supermarket, Food Lion of Avon, Home Depot, and Subway.  Rick Chance and the Nags Head Food Lion is most honored business having been nominated for four consecutive years.

Dr. Sue Burgess, Superintendent of Dare County Schools, presented the Teachers of the Year for 2013 – 2014.  They are Erica Burkhart (MMS), Diane Childress (KHES), Lynette Crews (MES), Lisa Groetsch (CHES), Brandon Harris (FFHS), Nicole Northrup (FFMS), Doug Potter (NHES), Penny Pugh (FFES), Kay Ratliff (CHSS), Deb Sauls (DCAS), and Anna Thomas (MHS).  Brandon Harris was selected to represent Dare County as the school system’s Teacher of the Year.

Special thanks is extended to the Hilton Garden Inn, Kitty Hawk, for providing the reception and dining facilities.  The event was coordinated by DEF Secretary Nancy Birindelli.

The Dare Education Foundation, in its eleventh year, is a non-profit organization that works in partnership with the Dare County Schools to promote excellence in education.  DEF partners with the community and raises funds from private donations, grants, sponsorships, and special events.  These collaborative efforts enrich education for all students and encourage community involvement in public education.  For further information about DEF, contact Elisabeth Piff, Executive Director, at 252-255-5545 or visit the website: