Steve_Norwood_smJohn Stephen “Steve” Norwood was a creative innovator as both central office administrator and principal.

He was community schools coordinator for Henderson County Schools from 1982 until the city-county merger in ’93. In the mid-Eighties, he set up licensed, nominal-fee day child care to find “responsible answers to problems that come onto our laps.” It still goes on, in all 12 elementary cafeterias, for developmentally-challenged and other children.

As Hillandale Elementary principal from 1993-2002, Norwood established an award-winning Hillandale Family Literacy Program around classes for English as a second language (ESL) held in his school and mostly funded by Blue Ridge Community College. “The first time I walked down the steps at Hillandale,” he recalled, “I was met by a Mexican family who spoke no English.” He explained that “my strategy was to bring them up academically, also to help the whole school. As for their parents, he said, “I found it very heart-warming, inspiring, to see people who worked hard all day in the fields and had struggled so hard with English be so motivated to learn the language.”

A bonus is cultural exchange, to “understand, admire and appreciate each other.” Through family literacy, Norwood learned Spanish. He went from facilitator and ride giver to ESL instructor, a role he maintains.

He presented a video on the project, at a national education-related convention. The project enabled him to be the first educator from Henderson County to get the Governor’s Entrepreneurial Award, and landed BRCC the national Bellweather Award for exemplary community college programs.

2010 Education Hall of Fame