2013 Razor Walker Award Winners
Susan (Sue) D. Russell
Public Service / Policy
"Sue Russell has led a complete overhaul of early childhood education in North Carolina, impacting the field across the United States. She has worked tirelessly to bring needed funding, in a systemic approach, to improve early care and education in North Carolina. She was instrumental in leading, pushing, prodding, and not taking 'No' for an answer to get signature programs off the ground and established."
With children uppermost in mind, Susan Russell has helped to transform their lives through her 40+ years of creative and focused leadership in the field of early childhood education. Sue is the founder and President of Child Care Services Association, which began in 1974 in her living room with almost no budget. She recognized that grass-roots efforts must be knowledgeable of and work within the larger system. She has grown the organization to over $30 million in funding and with more than 100 staff members, impacting millions of children across the national landscape. One of the programs that this organization began 14 years ago, T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood, is focused on ensuring that children benefit from a well-educated and compensated child-care workforce. The program is now licensed and operating in twenty-two states and the District of Columbia.
Sue Russell and her colleagues have conducted research across the state and gathered convincing and critical data that brought to light the distressing state of childcare in North Carolina. She spent many long days at state legislature meetings and evenings at town council and county commissioner meetings to advocate and to inform. Her efforts and expertise have influenced policy at the state and national levels through her service as a legislative advisor as well as the President of the National Association for the Education of Young Children. Most recently, Sue was a leading member of the team that wrote and was awarded the Race to the Top Early Learning Grant in North Carolina. Through her tireless efforts and passionate commitment, Sue Russell continues to "walk the razor's edge."
Hugh F. McManus, III
"Every kid is Hugh's kid, and it's about the kids and no one else. As a transformational school leader, Hugh McManus demands the best of everyone, including himself, insisting that every student is entitled to that feeling of success and self-achievement."
An alumnus of UNC and Wake Forest University, Hugh McManus undertook the challenges of educational leadership and has worked tirelessly and effectively as a middle and high school principal since 1985. He served as a principal in both New Hanover and Pender counties, bringing the highest quality education to his students. In 2006, he assumed the role of an Upper School Director at a local private school. During his many years of leadership, his schools have received numerous awards and recognitions including the National Blue Ribbon Exemplary High School Award, Top 10 High Schools in NC, NC Top 10 High School of Excellence, and NC Top 10 High School of Distinction. His professional work as a top school leader has directly benefited his students and faculty, in particular helping to enhance academic performance.
Hugh is known for setting high standards for his students, his teachers, and himself. He is constantly striving to find better ways to do things in an ever-changing socio-economic climate, leading by example out of a pure sense of responsibility and obligation to his kids. His nominator recalls meeting Hugh McManus in the early 80's when he was serving as a young criminal defense attorney representing a young adolescent. Hugh was actively and voluntarily in court, advocating for the young boy who had much to overcome at home. He provided the support the boy needed to be successful in and out of school. During the following thirty years since that meeting, it is clear that Hugh McManus has displayed the vision, tenacity, sacrifice and courage of a Razor Walker Award recipient.
James H. Faison, III
"In his role as a District Court Judge, James Faison has been instrumental in turning around the lives of numerous at-risk youth and young adults who have lost their way. Believing that it is the duty of everyone to serve the community, he has devoted much of his time outside of his role as Judge to serving our youth as a mentor, motivational speaker, and member of various community organizations."
Judge James Faison is respected by his colleagues for his sound judicial reasoning, sense of fairness, and unique ability to communicate effectively with youth offenders appearing in his courtroom. In addition, he is a mentor for students, a motivational speaker at area schools, a career fair participant, and a volunteer judge presiding over high school mock trial competitions and teen court sessions.
Fully committed to serving the community, Judge Faison serves as an instructor for the Street Safe Teen Driving Program, a member of the New Hanover County Blue Ribbon Commission on the Prevention of Youth Violence, and a board member for numerous child advocacy organizations. Judge Faison authored and presented the Blue-Ribbon Commission's Anti-Bullying Resolution to the Wilmington City Council, the New Hanover County Board of Commissioners, and the New Hanover County Board of Education, after which these governing bodies adopted the resolution. He has carried his message and the resolution to the Pender County Board of Education and on February 4, 2013 the resolution was adopted following his presentation. He has participated at many school and community forums throughout the region, promoting anti-violence and anti-bullying initiatives to parents, students, and professionals.
As an ordained minister, Judge Faison has served for nine years as the director of the KEMBA Youth Council, which consists of 49 churches and community organizations, and he coordinates and oversees programs and events aimed at promoting the moral, spiritual, and academic wellness of our youth. He has personally and professionally made significant contributions to the children and youth of our region and state - a true Razor Walker.
Sponsors for the 2013 Razor Walker Awards:
Special Thanks To
Mr. James Wallace / Intracoastal Holdings, LLC, '07
Ms. Linda Wheeler Hayes, '12
Ms. Tannis F. Nelson, '03
Mr. David Jones / Pawn USA, Inc., '06
Dr. Robert E. Tyndall, '00
Brunswick Electric Membership Corporation, '08
Mr. Cedric Dickerson, '09
Ms. Elizabeth H. Frasier, '05
Ms. Anna W. Hattaway, '95
Dr. Olsen Huff, '12
Dr. Noel K. Jones, '06
Dr. James R. Leutze, '04
Mr. Hugh MacRae / The Oleander Company. '00
Ms. Bertha Boykin Todd, '01
Mr. Robert F. Warwick, '98
Dr. Eleanor B. Wright, '08
Other generous contributors
Dr. Heyward Bellamy, '02
Ms. Phyllis Meole, '10
Mr. Jimmy Pierce, '10
Previous honorees designated by the year in which they received the award