High Point parents build a charter school to ensure all kids get a quality education
Father is honored with the Order of the Long Leaf Pine by Lt. Governor Forrest and is praised by elected officials and civic leaders
Raleigh, N.C. – Lt. Governor Dan Forrest honored Paul J. Norcross of High Point with the Order of the Long Leaf Pine, the highest honor the state can give for those with a proven record of extraordinary service.
Paul J. Norcross and his wife Kim founded Phoenix Academy Public Charter School in High Point to fill a void that existed in the local education landscape.
“We could not believe that there was nothing for kids like our son,” explained Mr. Norcross. “We believe in the potential of all kids and that they deserve a great education, our young people can accomplish anything they put their mind to. So we set out to do something about it.”
Phoenix Academy started with five students in 1997, and has since grown to nearly twelve hundred students - providing Guilford County students with one of the best public education options they can receive in the state.
“There is nothing that brings a bigger smile to our faces than walking into the school and seeing the kids we are helping put on a path to success, especially our students with unique learning styles,” said Mr. Norcross.
“We want to say thank you for your years of faithfulness in the education movement in the State of North Carolina,” explained Lt. Governor Dan Forrest at the presentation ceremony.
Numerous Federal and State elected officials joined the Lt. Governor in their praise of Mr. Norcross and his work.
“[Paul’s] tireless education reform and global literacy efforts are unmatched, and we are thrilled of his receipt of this great honor in the land of the long leaf pin” proclaimed Senator Richard Burr.
"I’d like to thank this great leader. The charter school movement took a whole lot of heat when it was initiated. Some saw that as hurting the traditional public school system. Those who had the courage to start this school up with five kids were seen as kind of renegades. When in fact, they weren’t renegades, they were visionaries. And these visionaries are continuing to make a difference for hundreds upon hundreds of kids in Guillford County. And it take visionaries like this to stick their neck out against the status quo" stated Governor Pat McCrory.
U.S. Representative Ted Budd (NC-13) said “I am proud of Paul and the work he is doing to promote education and literacy as a means to a better life for all.”
Business High Point/Chamber of Commerce President Patrick Chapin expressed “Paul’s efforts in education reform and global literacy are well known, what is not well known is his dedication to his adopted home town. As the new President of Business High Point, I have worked with him in his capacity as a Vision Board member and Education Committee member. He is always ready to tackle any obstacle that stands in the way of what is best for the community and push a positive agenda.”
Since its creation in 1963, the Order of the Long Leaf Pine honors outstanding North Carolinians who have a proven record of service to the state and who have inspired and encouraged acts of kindness, charity and service throughout their lifetime. It recognizes those citizens who have devoted their lives to serving others and have made a significant impact and strengthened North Carolina.
Lt. Governor Dan Forrest, Paul J. Norcross, with wife Kim and daughter Mari Norcross after being presented with the award for the Order of the Long Leaf Pine at the Capitol Club in Raleigh, NC on April 28, 2017.