African American dance icon Chuck Davis named to Wake school system’s Hall of Fame

African American Dance Ensemble icon Chuck Davis headlines the 2019 class of the Wake County Public School Hall of Fame, announced on Tuesday.

The Hall of Fame honors outstanding alumni and community leaders who have deeply affected the district through their career or dramatically added to the quality of life in the city, state or nation. Six people are inducted annually, with one each in the categories of Arts, Athletics, Business, Community Service, Education and Entrepreneurship.

Davis was posthumously inducted for his lifetime of work as a teacher and dance performer. He formed the internationally known African American Dance Ensemble in Durham in 1983.

Davis was born in Raleigh but became an institution in Durham, where he was the grand marshal of one of Durham’s early Mardi Gras parades and led the Hayti Heritage Center’s annual celebration of Kwanzaa, the Herald-Sun previously reported.

This year’s five other inductees are:

Del Burns served in the Wake County school system for 24 years, including as superintendent from 2006 to 2010 and interim superintendent in 2018. He now leads Burns Alliance Inc., an education consulting firm.

Neal Fowler is a Raleigh native and CEO of Liquidia Technologies, a Morrisville biopharmaceutical firm. He’s worked at various pharmaceutical companies over the years, including serving as president of Centocor Inc. and Ortho-McNeil Neurologics Inc.

State Rep. Rosa Gill is a lifelong Wake County resident who taught in the Wake County school system and was director of traffic records with the state Division of Motor Vehicles. She served on the Wake school board from 1999 to 2009 before becoming a state lawmaker.

Roddy Jones grew up outside of Raleigh and would serve as president of Davidson and Jones Construction Company from 1973 to 1993 and was one of the founders of Highwoods Properties, Inc., a longtime Raleigh real estate development company. He’s also past chairman of the Board of Governors of the University of North Carolina and former chairman of the board of East Carolina University.

Vicki Peoples was the swimming and diving coach at Enloe High School in Raleigh from 1982 to 2007. Her teams won 10 N.C. High School Athletic Association state championships, helping lead to her induction in the NCHSAA Hall of Fame.

Past Wake Hall of Fame inductees have included Terrence and Torry Holt, Ira David Wood III, Nancy Olson, Webb Simpson, Ann Goodnight and Bill McNeal.

The WakeEd Partnership also announced that Dale Jenkins, CEO of Curi (formerly Medical Mutual Holdings), will receive the 2019 Vernon Malone Friend of Education Award.

This year’s honorees will be recognized Oct. 16 at the 2019 Stars of Education event held at the Raleigh Marriott City Center. For more information, go to www.wakeed.org/events/stars/

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T. Keung Hui has covered K-12 education for the News & Observer since 1999, helping parents, students, school employees and the community understand the vital role education plays in North Carolina. His primary focus is Wake County, but he also covers statewide education issues.