On July 1, Dana Caudill Jones, the chair of the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Board of Education, and Superintendent Beverly Emory were among those honoring Karen McNeil Miller, the president of the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust at a reception.
Kenneth Simington, the school system’s chief academic officer, and Steve Oates, the assistant superintendent for elementary schools, also spoke.
At its meeting on June 23, the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Board of Education unanimously approved a resolution honoring McNeill-Miller for being “a leading voice in serving the vulnerable, the underserved and the economically disadvantaged of Forsyth County and North Carolina.”
McNeil-Miller, who has been president since 2005, is leaving the trust to become the president and chief executive officer of the Colorado Health Foundation.
Under McNeil-Miller’s leadership, the trust has been a generous supporter of Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools.
In 2012, the trust made a $30-million commitment to improve educational opportunities for young children in Forsyth County. The trust’s initiative, called Great Expectations, focuses on ensuring that Forsyth County’s youngest children, age birth to five, have the support necessary to be successful in school and life by the time they finish kindergarten. One component of the program focuses on kindergarten and pre-kindergarten programs in the 21 Winston-Salem/Forsyth County elementary schools that meet the criteria for Title I, a federally funded program that provides extra assistance to schools with children from low-income families.
When the initiative was announced, McNeil-Miller said: “Great Expectations is about believing that all of Forsyth County’s children can succeed when given the right tools and support. We know that from an early age, children’s development can be influenced by so many people—from mom and dad and daycare providers to grandparents and neighbors. The Great Expectations initiative will work with different organizations across the county to bolster the many people who play a role in a child’s early years. Because we know that classroom teachers can have a huge impact on a child’s life once they enter school, we also wanted to make sure that one of our key partners was the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County school district.”