Larry D. Hall, the newly appointed secretary of the N.C. Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, has received the 2017 North Carolina Association of Educator’s (NCAE) Friend of Education Award.
Hall formerly served as the Democratic leader of the N.C. House of Representatives.
The award was presented to Hall by NCAE President Mark Jewell on March 24 during the first organization’s business session of the NCAE Convention held in Raleigh.
A member of the General Assembly since 2006, Hall was cited for his work to move North Carolina forward and was instrumental in legislation that is important to its citizens, including protecting and enhancing public education, making working families healthier with better benefits, restoring the early voting period and honoring fallen soldiers.
Under his leadership, the N.C. House Democratic Caucus gained the most seats of any Democratic Caucus in a Republican-majority-controlled state – House or Senate – in the United States during the 2014 election.
His actions led to his being named a Champion of N.C. Working Families, a 100 percent Environmental Champion and a Defender of Justice.
Hall has been recognized extensively as a community leader, receiving the NAACP’s President’s Award, the Equality in Legislation Leadership Award and the Excellence from the Courtroom to the Capital Community Service Award.
He was educated in the Durham Public Schools system.
Hall earned a bachelor’s degree with honors in political science and business administration from Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte and a J.D. from the University of Chapel Hill’s School of Law.
A commissioned officer, Hall served 16 years in the United States Marine Corps and the Marine Corps Reserve.
The NCAE also inducted Rodney N. Ellis Sr., former NCAE president from Forsyth County, into its Educational Hall of Fame.
Ellis died in September.
Each year, NCAE names an educator or staff member posthumously to the Hall of Fame in recognition of an outstanding career in public education or service to the Association.
In addition to the Hall of Fame Induction, Ellis received posthumously the Order of the Long Leaf Pine, which is among the most prestigious awards presented by the governor of North Carolina.
It 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 which has made a significant impact and strengthened North Carolina.
Some notable recipients of the Order of the Long Leaf Pine include Maya Angelou, Rev. William Barber II, Andy Griffith and Charles Kuralt.
Ellis was recognized extensively for his work as an educator and community leader during his career.
He was twice voted as Middle School Teacher of the Year while still in the classroom.
In 2010, his alma mater, Winston-Salem State University, bestowed upon him the Alumni Achiever Award for the School of Education and Human Performance.
After leaving the NCAE presidency, Ellis returned to Winston-Salem to teach at Philo-Middle School in Winston-Salem.
The school recently named a classroom in his honor, which is now occupied by his daughter and teacher Gabrielle Ellis.
NCAE also named former state superintendent of Public Instruction June St. Clair Atkinson as the recipient of the 2017 President’s Award.
The award is given annually at the discretion of the NCAE president to a person or organization in recognition of outstanding work being done to advance the cause of public education.
For 12 years, Atkinson served as superintendent of Public Instruction, and was the first woman elected to the office.
NCAE is the state’s largest education advocacy organization for public school employees and represents active, retired, and student members.