Gregory remembered as 'warrior for education'

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Jan. 29—HENDERSON — For half a century, Ronald Gregory was a force for education in Vance County and neighboring counties. When he died last week, he was remembered fondly and respectfully by colleagues and friends.

Gloria J. White, vice-chairwoman of the Vance County Board of Education, described Gregory as a "warrior for education."

Reflecting on her long association with Gregory, she said, "I had the pleasure of working with Mr. Gregory as a Vance County Board of Education member for many years. He was surely one of a kind. He always believed that education was the great equalizer between the haves and have-nots. He deeply believed that through education people could rise above their circumstances. Mr. Gregory worked tirelessly throughout his career to achieve that goal. This community has lost a great leader and warrior for education."

George Fowler, a retired teacher and administrator with Vance County Schools, taught with Gregory at New Hope School when they were both in the early days of their careers. Fowler recalled that a few years later the school district was in a major building program that included constructing the new Aycock, L.B. Yancey and Dabney schools, and renovating others.

Gregory was in charge of the project. It was a major undertaking, Fowler said. "He did a right good job."

Deborah Brown knew Gregory from two vantage points — her tenure on the school board and her later service as a county commissioner.

"Mr. Gregory was one of those people who could meet you on your level, whether a student, a teacher, an administrator or a parent," Brown said. "He made a difference in the educational system because he came up through the ranks. He will be sorely missed by those whose lives he changed, especially children."

Terri Hedrick worked closely with Gregory during the time he was assistant superintendent and then superintendent and she was the Vance County Schools' public information officer.

"He was always very professional," she said. "He worked well with the administrative team at the central office."

She recalled that he was instrumental in establishing the STEM Early High School, which still serves students in grades six through eight with a focus on science, technology, engineering and math.

He was also in charge of the renovation of Eaton-Johnson and Henderson middle schools, Hedrick said, working with Wayne Adcock, who was superintendent at the time.

But with all his administrative responsibilities, "he was especially interested in the welfare of disadvantaged children," Hedrick said.

Gregory was dedicated to the Tri-County area. He was born in Granville County and attended Mary Potter High School in Oxford. And he returned to the area after earning a bachelor's degree at Winston-Salem State University and a master's degree at N.C. A&T State University.

With Vance County Schools he served as a teacher, principal, administrator, assistant superintendent and interim superintendent, capping off his career with four years as superintendent.

"Vance County Schools are saddened to hear of the passing of Ronald Gregory," said school board Chairwoman Ruth M. Hartness. "He spent many years with students in his care. He will be missed."