2005 Razor Walker Award Winners

Photo of Michael Blackwell

Dr. Michael C. Blackwell

"Michael Blackwell was prepared for an outstanding career in journalism… Although many may consider it a sacrifice and a professional risk to give up an opportunity to work in a prestigious broadcasting company in New York or another major area, Michael Blackwell considers it more of a special privilege to work for children especially those that are abused and neglected."

Dr. Michael Blackwell is known throughout North Carolina as a tireless advocate for children and youth. Whether he is walking the halls of the Legislative Building or speaking to a community group, he constantly communicates the need to accelerate and intensify efforts to prevent child abuse and neglect. As president of Baptist Children's Homes of North Carolina, he leads an organization that has served thousands of children and their families. Neglected, orphaned and abused children of all races, faiths and backgrounds are served by the homes through 12 locations statewide. During Dr. Blackwell's tenure, the budget for the homes has risen from just under $7 million to more than $20 million, which is no small achievement for a nonprofit corporation.

Dr. Blackwell is a native of Gastonia, N.C. After graduating from UNC-Chapel Hill, he worked for three years in the communications field before entering Southeastern Seminary in Wake Forest, where he earned his Master of Divinity, Master of Theology and Doctor of Ministry degrees. He became president of Baptist Children's Homes of North Carolina in 1983 and has led that organization to become accredited; to formulate and implement a series of strategic plans; to successfully complete two state-wide capital campaigns and several regional campaigns; and to create public-private partnerships to better serve youth and families. He describes the leadership he has used to create this level of success in his book UpsideDown Leadership.

In addition to his work with Baptist Children's Homes, Dr. Blackwell serves in various positions of leadership advocating for children and youth, including the North Carolina Partnership for Children "Smart Start" Board of Directors. He is a graduate of several advanced leadership programs, including Leadership North Carolina, and received that organization's 1998 Stanley Frank Award for Leadership and 2002 L. Richardson Preyer Alumni Award. He also received the 1998 Order of the Long Leaf Pine, North Carolina's highest civilian honor presented by the governor.

Through his administration of Baptist Children's Homes and his advocacy efforts, Michael Blackwell "walks the razor's edge" every day for the children and youth of North Carolina.

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Dr. James F. Causby

"Dr. Causby is one of those people who has made a real difference in the quality of ALL North Carolina public schools, while leading his own school system with vision, tenacity and courage… While he has worked to improve schools for all children, he has been particularly effective in helping the Legislature to understand that North Carolina must do more to help poor school systems."

Before taking the helm of the 6,000-member North Carolina Association of School Administrators (NCASA) in January 2004, Dr. Jim Causby retired from his post as superintendent of Johnston County Schools, a position he had held since 1994. He previously served as superintendent of Polk County Schools for five years and Swain County Schools for 11 years. He also has served as a principal and teacher at several schools in North and South Carolina.

Dr. Causby holds two Bachelor of Science degrees, one in Business Administration and one in Elementary Education, and a Master of Arts in Elementary Education, all from Western Carolina University. He also holds a six-year education degree from Appalachian State University and a doctoral degree in Educational Administration from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

Highly regarded nationally for his success in leading school systems and their communities through change, Dr. Causby's efforts have resulted in improved student achievement and community pride. Through his leadership, the Johnston County Schools became a national leader in areas including the community involvement process for school restructuring, development of a rigorous and relevant curriculum, use of application based instruction, character education, total quality education and student accountability. Dr. Causby's leadership style involves all aspects of the school system and community, and he has achieved wide recognition for his leadership in school bond referendum efforts.

Dr. Causby has received many honors, including being named North Carolina Superintendent of the Year three times. His most recent awards include the 2003 Jay Robinson Leadership Award from the Public School Forum of North Carolina; the 2003 Distinguished Career Alumni Award from the School of Education at UNC Greensboro; the 2003 State Administrator of the Year Award from the North Carolina Association for the Gifted and Talented; and the 2003 Oak Leaf Award form the North Carolina PTA.

As a superintendent, Jim Causby "walked the razor's edge" to improve education in his districts and statewide, and he continues those efforts as executive director of the NCASA.

Photo of Elizabeth Frasier

Ms. Elizabeth H. Frasier

"Hilly, as she is known by those who love her, has made the education of children her life. Her keen desire for children to feel positive about themselves and their world has been a driving force throughout her professional career."

Elizabeth Frasier had an active career in the education profession, which began in 1945 with her first teaching position and culminated in 1999 as the director of field placement for the North Carolina Teaching Fellows program, at the School of Education at UNC Chapel Hill. She held numerous positions in between including serving as the first black female principal at Frank Porter Graham Elementary School in Chapel Hill, the first black director of the North Carolina Kindergarten Institute at East Carolina University, and director of Project Head Start in Durham.

A native of Yanceyville, N.C., Ms. Frasier received her bachelor's degree from Fayetteville State College (now Fayetteville State University) in 1945 and her master's degree from North Carolina College (now N.C. Central University) in 1956.

As an advocate of non-violent discipline in schools, one of her most courageous acts during her teaching and administrative careers was her refusal to allow corporal punishment in her classroom and her school when it was still legally allowed. While some teachers and parents were uncomfortable with this, she was able to overcome their resistance by using statements such as "whenever you hit a child, you lose an opportunity to teach a child." Her understanding of the educational process and her patience helped guide numerous teachers to find creative ways to work with disruptions in the classroom.

In 1997, Ms. Frasier spearheaded an effort to develop a child development center at her church. The White Rock Baptist Church Child Development Center opened in 1998 and was accredited in 2002 by the National Association for the Education of Young Children. Ms. Frasier remains a member of the center's board of directors and plays an integral role in its administrative activities.

Mrs. Frasier continues to be active in her church and the community. She published a book entitled Wow! What a Wonderful World in 1990.

Elizabeth Frasier "walked the razor's edge" as a pioneering black female educator, an advocate for non-violent discipline in schools, a driving force in helping children develop positive self-esteem, and a proponent of high quality child care.

Photo of James Holshouser, Jr.

Gov. James E. Holshouser, Jr.

"As governor of our great state from 1973 to 1977, Jim Holshouser presided over the consolidation of all the state's senior colleges and universities into the University of North Carolina system. Higher education has long been one of Gov. Holshouser's passions."

Secure in his place in the political history of North Carolina, James Holshouser, Jr., is equally recognizable as a stalwart leader in higher education. In 1979, he was elected to the Board of Governors of the University of North Carolina, and he was re-elected to a second term in 1987. Among his many services to North Carolina's citizens, Gov. Holshouser was a resolute member of the leadership team that joined forces with North Carolinians for Educational Opportunity to seek voter approval of the 2000 Higher Education Improvement Bonds, securing the support of all 100 counties in the state.

He continues to serve on the Board of Governors as an emeritus member. He is noted for his wisdom, knowledge and judgment and brings a creative and imaginative outlook to the myriad issues facing the higher education system. He has served as chairman of both the Personnel Committee and the Budget and Finance Committee and, in 1996-97, he served as chairman of the UNC Presidential Search Committee.

A native of Watauga County, Gov. Holshouser graduated from Davidson College and the University of North Carolina School of Law, where he was president of his senior class. He served four terms in the North Carolina House of Representatives. In 1972, he was elected governor of North Carolina and served until his term expired in January, 1977. Today, he is a practicing attorney with offices in Pinehurst and Raleigh.

During his term as governor, he was elected chairman of the Southern Regional Education Board. He has also served on the board of the North Carolina Center for the Advancement of Teaching, the Southern Regional Literacy Commission and the Governor's Commission on Literacy. He has served on the Board of Trustees of Davidson College, the Board of Trustees of St. Andrews Presbyterian College and the Board of Advisors for Lees McRae College. He was chairman of the successful $50 million capital fund-raising campaign for Davidson College.

As governor, as a legislator and as a citizen, Gov. Holshouser has "walked the razor's edge" to ensure excellence in education for all students in North Carolina, and has been particularly instrumental in strengthening the state's system of public higher education.

Photo of Jack Menius

Dr. Jack A. Menius, DDS

"In 1961 a young pediatric dentist left private practice to become Director of Dental Services at an institution for the severely handicapped, Murdoch Center at Butner, North Carolina. The rest is history-a lifetime of service, advocacy and ultimately statewide impact on the health, welfare and quality of life for hundreds of children."

Dr. Jack Menius served mentally and physically challenged young people in North Carolina from 1961-1988 as head of the dental clinic at the Murdoch Center in Butner.
Dr. Menius had received his bachelor's degree in 1958 and his DDS in 1959 from the Medical College of Virginia. After completing his residency in pediatric dentistry, he left private practice to join the Murdoch Center. At that time, he found that a large number of disabled children and young adults in North Carolina were afflicted with rampant, untreated dental disease and associated dental pain. Practitioners had little or no experience in treating children and often considered the disabled to be difficult patients and potentially disruptive to their practices.

Dr. Menius started with a program of daily care and preventive services in the clinics at Murdoch, showing a special capacity for caring about human beings who do not appear, behave or respond like the rest of society. He maintained a relaxed sense of humor and created an atmosphere of dignity and respect for his patients. He also seized the opportunity to directly influence the next generation of practitioners by working with Dr. Ben Barker and the UNC Chapel Hill School of Dentistry to develop the first externship program for dental students and dental hygiene students in the dental treatment of people with disabilities. Dr. Menius was a part-time professor of pediatric dentistry at UNC from 1965-1988, serving as a role model and setting a powerful and persuasive example of caring.

He also became the professional voice of "dentistry for the handicapped" in North Carolina and elsewhere in the southeast, becoming the tireless and persistent advocate so long absent and so badly needed to awaken the professional and public policy makers to the oral health problems of special needs children.

With persistence, optimism, vision, energy and dedication, Jack Menius "walked the razor's edge" to provide North Carolina's children with special needs with access to high quality dental care and freedom from dental pain, and to train a new generation of dental professionals dedicated to this goal.

Photo of Beverly Perdue

Lt. Gov. Beverly Eaves Perdue

"Beverly Perdue has been a champion for the causes affecting the children and youth of North Carolina. Serving daily as the state's second highest elected official, she maintains her commitment, service and unwavering dedication to the causes and initiatives that affect our children most."

A former public school teacher, health care professional and co-chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Lieutenant Governor Beverly Perdue has been a key figure in shaping our state's successful agenda for educational excellence; accessible healthcare; and sustainable economic prosperity for North Carolina's families.

Lieutenant Governor Perdue came into the second highest elected office in the state after serving five terms in the state Senate and two terms in the state House of Representatives. During this time, she was consistently ranked one of the most effective members of the General Assembly and gained a reputation for being one of the legislature's hardest working members. Her successes included shepherding through the General Assembly such innovative education measures as the Excellent Schools Act and Governor Hunt's Smart Start initiative for early childhood development.

As lieutenant governor, she continues to work hard on the issues that matter to North Carolina's families and children, including more effective schools in every community, access to technology, and ensuring that law enforcement officers have the tools necessary to make sure that our communities and schools remain safe. She is an advocate for a first-class public education system, with reduced class size, exceptional teachers, accountability and increased investment in rural schools. She has stated that great schools and high-quality learning environments are her top priority.

Bev Perdue has received numerous awards and honors from many of the leading health care and educational organizations in North Carolina. She received her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Kentucky and earned a Master's degree and Ph.D. in administration and education from the University of Florida. She is chair of the Health and Wellness Trust Fund Commission, which is committed to teen smoking prevention and cessation, and research education and prevention programs. She also serves on the State Board of Education, the State Board of Community Colleges and the Information Resource Management Commission-North Carolina's leading technology agency.

As an elected official, Beverly Perdue has "walked the razor's edge" through her persistent and tireless efforts to reform educational public policy in North Carolina and through her role in shaping the state's agenda for educational improvement and excellence.

Razor Walker Honorees / Supporters

  • Mr. George E. Battle, Jr. '95
  • Mr. John N. Dornan '01
  • Mr. Charles F. Green, III '98
  • Governor James B. Hunt, Jr. '00
  • Ms. Anna W. Hattaway '95
  • Ms. Adelaide Daniels Key '98
  • Dr. James R. Leutze '04
  • Ms. Jan Lewis '01
  • Ms. Sue G. Long '95
  • Ms. Tannis F. Nelson '03
  • Dr. Robert E. Phay '04
  • Dr. Frank R. Reynolds '04
  • Mr. Robert W. Spearman '02
  • Ms. Bertha Boykin Todd '01
  • Ms. Cheryl L. Willoughby '94
  • Mr. Barden Winstead, Jr. '97

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