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David O. Belcher, provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock since 2003, has been elected chancellor of Western Carolina University by the Board of Governors of the multi-campus University of North Carolina. UNC President Tom Ross placed Belcher’s name in nomination today (April 8) during a regular meeting of the board. Belcher, 53, will assume his new duties July 1, succeeding John W. Bardo, who is stepping down after 16 years in the post.

In recommending Belcher to the Board of Governors, Ross said: “David Belcher brings to the task more than two decades of academic and leadership experience at highly respected public universities. At each step along the way, he has proven himself to be an energetic and effective leader who encourages strategic thinking, promotes collaboration and inclusiveness, and makes student success a university-wide responsibility. He has also earned a reputation for great integrity, sound decision-making, and a strong commitment to community engagement and outreach.



Heather Brendle, a senior at Franklin High School was selected as the Student of the Month for April by the Rotary Club of Franklin.

In presenting the award on Wednesday, April 6, Rotarian Susie Ledford said that Brendle's teachers described her as an "exemplary student."

Brendle is also a New Century Scholar, and volunteers at the East Franklin School After School Program.

She also tutors at the high school and volunteers "hundreds of hours" at her church and in the community, Ledford said.

Brendle is the daughter of Diane and Ernie Brendle of Franklin.

Macon Middle School eighth grader, Lexi Kloeppel, won first place for the state of North Carolina at the Chemical Education Foundation's You Be The Chemist (YBTC) state science competition held in Charlotte, on Saturday, April 2.

She is the first North Carolina competitor to win the state competition three consecutive years. She will receive an all expense paid trip to Philadelphia, Pa. to represent the state of North Carolina at the national competition on June 20.

At the national competition she will be competing for more than $10,000 in prizes. Last year at nationals, Kloeppel was the third runner up and won $500 in addition to other prizes. The You Be The Chemist (YBTC) Challenge is a fun and innovative academic competition that engages 5th-8th grade students in the science of chemistry.


Dr. Terry Stoops says that nowhere in the U.S. Constitution does the word “education” appear. “The founders were very strongly opposed to the idea of the federal government having any involvement in education because they understood that if you are able to capture the hearts and minds of the children, that is the road to tyranny,” said Dr. Stoops.

Stoops, who was the invited speaker at last Saturday’s meeting of Macon County FreedomWorks, is the Director of Education Studies at the conservative John Locke Foundation, a North Carolina-based free market think-tank. FreedomWorks is a conservative, non-profit advocacy group based in Washington, D.C. The promotion of school choice to increase parental control and competition in education has been a core issue of the organization since it was founded in the mid-1990s.


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