UNCW’s Watson College of Education Honors Four N.C. Leaders

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

The UNCW Watson College of Education has selected four N.C. leaders to receive the 2015 Razor Walker Awards, presented annually to individuals and organizations committed to improving the lives of young people across the state. The awards were presented during an April 27 ceremony in the Burney Center.

The recipients are:

  • Yevonne S. Brannon, a former Wake County commissioner and PTA president who has directed the Center for Urban Affairs and Community Services at N.C. State University since 1991. She also serves as chair of Public Schools First N.C., a statewide organization that advocates for high-quality public instruction.
  • N.C. Attorney General Roy Cooper, whose long record of service to the youth and children of North Carolina includes tutoring and mentoring efforts to reduce youth involvement in gangs and crime, training law enforcement officers and helping schools plan for emergencies to reduce violence in schools. He has also advocated for tougher stances for child predators and numerous other programs to improve the health and welfare of young residents of the state.
  • Jana Jones Halls, executive director for the Blue Ribbon Commission on the Prevention of Youth Violence (BRC), who assists residents of the high-poverty Youth Enrichment Zone in Wilmington. Prior to accepting her position with the BRC, Jones Halls was an AmeriCorps HandsOnSchools VISTA volunteer and community outreach coordinator at D.C. Virgo Preparatory Academy in Wilmington. She previously served as an educator at the Friends School of Wilmington and a teaching artist at DREAMS of Wilmington.
  • Frankie A. Roberts, founder and executive director of the Wilmington non-profit Leading Into New Communities (LINC) Inc. Since LINC’s inception in 2000, the organization has helped more than 2,000 adults transition from prison to life in the community with an 88 percent success rate. LINC’s LITE Manhood youth development program provides workshops, mentoring and skill-development for young men ages 16-21, partnering with local high schools to provide alternative educational programming and job placements for African American males. Roberts has also worked closely with YouthBuild, a grant-funded program sponsored by the Wilmington Housing Authority, to help students obtain professional skills and their GED.

Watson College established the awards in 1993 to honor individuals for “walking the razor’s edge” to make a difference in the lives of N.C. children and youth. The Razor Walker Awards celebrate the honorees’ efforts to help children grow up strong and healthy with the opportunity to receive a high-quality education and to become future leaders.