The Public School Forum of North Carolina Jay Robinson Education Leadership Award was established by the Public School Forum Board of Directors in 2000 to recognize exemplary leaders who have made outstanding contributions to public education.  The award may be given to anyone who has displayed innovative, creative, effective leadership for public education in North Carolina.

The award is named in honor of the late Dr. Jay Robinson, one of our state’s most distinguished education leaders. His career spanned 50 years, beginning as a math teacher and basketball and football coach in Cabarrus County, becoming a school principal and later superintendent of schools in first Cabarrus and then Charlotte-Mecklenburg school systems. He served as vice president for public affairs and special projects for the University of North Carolina system and chaired the State Board of Education. He was also the first president of the Public School Forum and served as an Emeritus Member of the Board until his death in April 2000.

James (Jim) and Barbara Goodmon are the recipients of the 2019 Public School Forum of North Carolina Jay Robinson Education Leadership Award. Mr. and Mrs. Goodmon were honored at a gala event on Thursday, May 30, 2019 at the Raleigh Convention Center.

2019 Jay Robinson Education Leadership Award

James (Jim) and Barbara Goodmon are the recipients of the 2019 Public School Forum of North Carolina Jay Robinson Education Leadership Award. The Forum established the award in 2000 to recognize leaders who have demonstrated innovative, creative, and effective leadership for public education in North Carolina. Mr. and Mrs. Goodmon were honored at a gala event on Thursday, May 30, at the Raleigh Convention Center.

Jim Goodmon, chairman and CEO of Capitol Broadcasting Company, and Barbara Goodmon, president of the A.J. Fletcher Foundation, have spent decades finding innovative ways to meet their community’s needs—and public education has been at the top of their agenda. As actively engaged philanthropists and changemakers, the Goodmons have promoted effective and high-quality human services for disadvantaged people and communities and spearheaded efforts to ensure North Carolina’s citizens have access to first-class early childhood education and public schools across the state.

Barbara Goodmon began her career as a pediatric nurse in Memphis, Tennessee. After moving to North Carolina, she dedicated herself to civic and social change through decades of community engagement, board service, and philanthropy. A passionate believer in community building and supporting the less fortunate, Barbara has served as president of A.J. Fletcher Foundation since 2003 and served as the Foundation’s executive director from 2003-2012. Through her work at the Foundation, Barbara has promoted collaboration and capacity-building in the arts, education, and non-profit sector. Barbara currently serves as President and Board Member of The Fletcher Academy, a school dedicated to serving students with learning differences, and has previously served on the Meredith College Board of Trustees, North Carolina State University College of Humanities and Social Sciences Advisory Board, University of North Carolina School of Social Work Board of Visitors, University of North Carolina School of the Arts Board of Trustees, and the Raleigh Fine Arts Society, amongst many others.

Over the nearly 40 years that Goodmon has led Capitol Broadcasting Company, he has become a media industry leader with award-winning local programming. Jim’s passion, however, far exceeds the impressive reach of his TV and radio empire that many are familiar with. Jim is ultimately driven by his devotion to his community, to his commitment to the public good and to empowering those who work with him to exceed their potential.

When it comes to public education in North Carolina, Jim’s leadership has been invaluable. As the first chairman of the North Carolina Partnership for Children, he led efforts to establish the Smart Start program to expand early childhood education opportunities for pre-school children in North Carolina and improve the standards for day care and other pre-school programs. In the last 25 years, the share of children in top-quality pre-school programs (4 and 5-star programs) has increased from 33 percent to 74 percent.

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Previous Jay Robinson Education Leadership Award Recipients

Barbara Goodmon, President, A.J. Fletcher Foundation
Jim Goodmon, President and Chief Executive Officer, Capitol Broadcasting Company

Ann Goodnight
Senior Director of Community Relations, SAS

Howard N. Lee
Former NC Senator
Former Chairman, State Board of Education

Governor James G. Martin, Former Governor of North Carolina
John Dornan and JoAnn Norris, Former Public School Forum of North Carolina Leaders  

Governor James B. Hunt, Jr. and Carolyn Hunt
Former Governor and Former First Lady of North Carolina  
Dr. Mark Edwards
Former Superintendent of Mooresville Graded School District 
Dr. Patricia “Pat” Ashley
Former Director, District and School Transformation Division, NC Department of Public Instruction  
Dr. Edward Eugene “Gene” Causby
Former Executive Director, NC School Boards Association  
Justice Burley Mitchell
Former Chief Justice of the NC Supreme Court 
Dr. Peggy Smith
Professor, Campbell University
Vice-Chair, Johnston County Board of Education

Erskine Bowles
Former President, UNC System

Dr. Sam Houston
President & CEO, North Carolina Science, Mathematics, and Technology Education Center

Lawrence L. “Larry” Seigler
Retired Executive, DSM Pharmaceuticals, Inc  

Dr. Dudley E. Flood
Education Consultant

Dr. William C. Harrison
Former Chairman, State Board of Education
Former Superintendent of Cumberland County Schools

Phil J. Kirk, Jr.
Community Relations Advisor, North Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities
Former Chairman, State Board of Education  
Dr. Ann T. Denlinger
Former Vice President, William Peace University
Former Superintendent of Durham Public Schools
Judge Howard E. Manning, Jr.
Retired Superior Court Judge  

Dr. Robert E. Bridges
Retired Superintendent of Wake County Public Schools

Dr. James F. Causby
Former Executive Director, North Carolina’s Superintendent Association
Former Superintendent of Johnston County Schools  

Dr. Tom McNeel
Former Superintendent of Caldwell County Schools 

Laura Bilbro-Berry
Director of Community College Partnerships, UNC System
NC Teacher of the Year, 2000-01

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