Section Navigation

Educators inducted into Reich College of Education Rhododendron Society

By Elisabeth Wall

BOONE—The Reich College of Education (RCOE) hosted its 17th Rhododendron Society induction in late July, honoring three Appalachian State University graduates for their service to education. The inductees were Dr. Kim Blackburn-Morrison ’93 ’10, Bob M. Mauldin ’61 and Dawn B. Wooten ’89.

View larger imagePictured from left are Rhododendron Society inductees Dr. Kim Morrison ’93 ’10, Dawn Wooten ’89 and Donna Mauldin, representing her husband Bob Mauldin ’61. Photo by Kenneth Kirksey

Provost Darrell Kruger welcomed the guests, including honorees and their families, previous recipients and members of the RCOE Advisory Board. RCOE Dean Melba Spooner and Chancellor Sheri N. Everts presided over the induction.

The RCOE established the Rhododendron Society in 1999, Appalachian’s centennial year. The society 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.

Rhododendron Society inductees

Blackburn-Morrison, a North Carolina Teaching Fellow, received her undergraduate and master’s degrees from Appalachian in music education. In 2005, she went on to the University of North Carolina at Greensboro to earn her Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction with an add-on administrative licensure from Appalachian in 2010.

She recently has been named superintendent of Mount Airy City Schools.

During her career, Blackburn-Morrison was elected to the national board of directors for Magnet Schools of America, has been awarded grants exceeding $30 million, conducted numerous trainings and webinars for the U.S. Department of Education, and was named a finalist for the American Association of School Administrators National Women in School Leadership Award.

Blackburn-Morrison has introduced programs in language immersion in Chinese and Spanish, International Baccalaureate, Arts, STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics) and is responsible for innovative partnerships with organizations such as NASCAR.

She has two sons, Kaleb and Eli, and lives with her husband, Tommy, in Mount Airy.

Bob Mauldin (1936 – 2015) was recognized posthumously for his contributions and accomplishments in education and community service. A 1961 graduate of Appalachian State Teachers College, Mauldin earned his bachelor’s degree in history and physical education and later, his master’s degree in educational administration and supervision from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. He was later awarded a Certificate of Graduate Study in Education, Sixth Year Program from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Mauldin was called up for service during the Berlin Crisis, returning in 1962 to begin a 37-year career as an educator and football, wrestling, track and soccer coach. He was director of the Middle Grade Occupational Program before being named principal at J.F. McKnight Kindergarten in Kannapolis, a position he held for 23 years. For one year, before retiring in 1998, he assisted with the transition of all Kannapolis sixth graders to Kannapolis Middle School.

Mauldin and his wife, Donna, were married for 51 years. They have a son, Alex, a daughter, Jill, and five grandchildren. He enjoyed gardening, rock work, travel and seeing his grandchildren perform.

Wooten has been an educator since her graduation in 1989, working as a teacher, Total Quality Management (TQM) strategist and principal in the Triad. Since 1999 she has been actively involved in the design, creation and delivery of leadership training and development programs and activities, including providing technical assistance and executive coaching in North Carolina, Alabama, Georgia, Delaware, Florida, South Carolina, Tennessee and Ohio.

Until recently, Wooten served on the board of United Way of Davie County. She is a member of Pearls of Empowerment, a grants organization that seeks to improve the lives of women and children. She is also a member of the Mocksville Women’s Club, Friends of Davie County Library, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Davie County Hospice, Clemmons United Methodist Church and the Davie County Humane Society.

Scholarships awarded

During the event, scholarships also were awarded to senior Thomas A. Young, a sophomore majoring in secondary education English, and Jodi L. Grubb, an August 2016 graduate of the doctoral program in educational leadership. Grubb was awarded the Rhododendron Scholarship for her dissertation research on sustainable change. She also was recently named Ashe County Teacher of the Year. Young, an Arden native, is a member of the Appalachian Community of Educators (ACES) and is in The Honors College.

About the Rhododendron Society

The Rhododendron was selected as a symbol of the society because it is native to North Carolina and blooms profusely on and around Appalachian’s campus. The symbol also is significant because for more than 70 years the university yearbook, a repository of many historical moments, activities and accomplishment of Appalachian students, was called The Rhododendron. Because the RCOE wishes to celebrate alumni accomplishments and contributions, the Rhododendron Society has chosen to carry on the tradition. Two annual scholarships to the RCOE are funded by members of the Rhododendron Society.

About the Reich College of Education

The RCOE at Appalachian State University is widely recognized throughout the Southeast as a strong leader in teacher education and related programs. The college houses graduate degrees at the master’s, specialist and doctoral levels, as well as a number of graduate certificates and teacher licensure-only programs. The RCOE is accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of educator Preparation and the North Carolina State Board of Education.

About Appalachian State University

Appalachian State University, in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains, prepares students to lead purposeful lives as global citizens who understand and engage their responsibilities in creating a sustainable future for all. The transformational Appalachian experience promotes a spirit of inclusion that brings people together in inspiring ways to acquire and create knowledge, to grow holistically, to act with passion and determination, and embrace diversity and difference. As one of 17 campuses in the University of North Carolina system, Appalachian enrolls about 18,000 students, has a low faculty-to-student ratio and offers more than 150 undergraduate and graduate majors.