NC Residents to Receive UNCW's Razor Walker Awards for Service to Youth

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Three North Carolina individuals will receive Razor Walker Awards this year from the University of North Carolina Wilmington for their significant positive impact on the lives of children in the state. The invitation-only ceremony, sponsored by AT&T, will begin at 6:30 p.m., Monday, April 15, in the Burney Center.

The Watson College of Education established the Razor Walker Award in 1993 to recognize dedicated leaders statewide who have demonstrated their commitment to improving the lives of young people. The awards are presented annually to select groups of individuals and organizations that have made contributions toward the welfare of children and youth in the areas of: art/literature, business, educational administration, law, medicine, philanthropy, public service/policy and teaching/research. The prestigious and unique Razor Walker Awards were designed specifically to honor the service of North Carolina citizens.

The 2013 Razor Walker Awards recipients are:

Susan (Sue) D. Russell, Public Service/Policy

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

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 1980s 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 30 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

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 in February 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.

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