The Order of the Long Leaf Pine is awarded to persons for exemplary service to the State of North Carolina and their communities that is above and beyond the call of duty and that has made a significant impact and strengthened North Carolina. This award is the State of North Carolina’s highest honor of recognition.
“I both know and respect Gene as one of the best, most effective legislators while serving with him during his tenure as in the NC House,” said former Senator Howard N. Lee, Public School Forum member and recipient of the 2017 Jay Robinson Education Leadership Award, and former chair of the NC State Board of Education.
“Gene’s greatest contributions were his work to enhance public education and expand education opportunities,” said Lee. “No legislator worked harder than Gene Arnold to develop and improve K-12 education standards.”
“Gene was always on the side of legislation that had promise of improving educational opportunities for rural and needy students,” said Dudley Flood, Public School Forum board member and a former educator and administrator in the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction. “He was thoughtful in his deliberations and truthful in his assessments in the needs of children.”
Born in Nash County, Gene Arnold graduated from Rocky Mount Senior High School and later from UNC-Wilmington. From 1993-2002, Arnold was a member of the North Carolina House of Representatives. During Arnold’s political career he was the co-chair of the House Finance Committee as well as Senior Chair of the House Education Appropriations Committee. He was instrumental in developing the ABC Education Legislation which established improved K-12 educational standards.
Arnold also served on the Lobbyist Ethics Commission which drafted and enacted new ethical standards for lobbyists. He has served as Chairman of the Board of the Public School Forum of North Carolina and currently serves on the Board of the Jim Hunt Institute of Education and Politics. Arnold and his wife, Lynne, reside in Rocky Mount, NC.
About the Public School Forum of North Carolina
Since 1986, the Public School Forum of North Carolina has been an indispensable and nonpartisan champion of better schools and the most trusted source in the state for research and analysis on vital education issues. We bring together leaders from business, education and government to study education issues, develop ideas, seek consensus, and ultimately inform and shape education policy. We do that through research, policy work, innovative programs, advocacy, and continuing education for educators and policymakers. Follow us on Twitter @theNCForum and visit our website at https://www.ncforum.org/