Blue Ridge School Education Foundation

Helping Build The Future of the Blue Ridge...


Thank you for logging into our newly designed website highlighting the work and service of the Foundation’s Mission to provide supplemental educational funding to Blue Ridge School and Early College (Pre-K through 12) with an optional 13th year for advanced college credits. We invite you to browse through the various tabs of the site to review the funding grants made to the school supporting “under budgeted” needs of the administration and faculty for the advanced academic achievement of students.

The Foundation was founded in 2002 and was issued a determination letter from the Internal Revenue Service in December 2010 recognizing Blue Ridge School Education Foundation Incorporated as tax-exempt under Internal Revenue Code (IRC) Section 501(C)3. The Foundation is administered by a totally volunteer board of directors who are elected based on their experience with children and commitment to better public schooling. Funding for grants awarded to the school come from proceeds of the Annual Nashville Songwriters’ Round and from generous corporate and individual donors who support our mission.

We appreciate your taking a few minutes to review the site and encourage you to support the Foundation’s efforts to expand the educational experiences for the students and staff in order to achieve and maintain a world class education environment at Blue Ridge School AND Blue Ridge Early College.


Carl O. Hyde

Helping Build the Future of the Blue Ridge...

A Message From Jackson County Public Schools

About The JCPS Interim Superintendent

Interim Superintendent Dr. Tipton

Dr. Tipton began his career in 1985 as a 5th and 6th grade social studies and physical education teacher at Bowman Middle School in Mitchell County. In 1987, he returned to his hometown of Burnsville to teach 7th and 8th grade physical education at East Yancey Middle School. He remained there until 1991 when he was hired to teach social studies at Mountain Heritage High School.

In addition to teaching, Dr. Tipton was a middle school basketball and football coach for six years, and he coached various high school sports including girls’ basketball and track in his nine years at Mountain Heritage. He was also athletic director at Mountain Heritage for three years and was honored three times as the Western Highlands Conference Coach of the Year.

Dr. Tipton transitioned to school administration in 1999 as assistant principal at Cane River Middle School in Burnsville. He returned to Mountain Heritage High School as assistant principal in 2002 and became principal at Madison High School in 2007 where he was recognized as the Madison County Principal of the Year in 2010. He was named superintendent in Yancey County in 2011 and retired in 2018.

Dr. Tipton received a Bachelor’s Degree in Intermediate Education from Mars Hill College in 1984 and a Master of Arts in Education Degree from WCU in 1989. He received an Education Specialist in School Administration Degree from WCU in 1994, and he completed his Doctor of Education Degree at ETSU in 2007.

He has been married for 41 years to his high school sweetheart, Barbara, and they have three children and two grandchildren. Dr. Tipton has always tried to be a voice for all children. His favorite quote is from Dr. Seuss: "To the world, you may be one person; but to one person, you may be the world."

- Dr. Tipton, Interim Superintendent

A Message From Blue Ridge School

From The BRS Principal

Principal Dr. Tipton

We serve approximately 193 students in grades Pre-K through 6 and share a campus with Blue Ridge Early College. We take pride in the fact that we are a small campus, which allows us to really get to know our students, their families and other stakeholders in our community. Together, we make up a school family of 100% highly qualified faculty, skilled support staff, talented and creative students, involved, supportive parents, and motivated community members and agencies. We are a family committed to creating a safe, caring, positive, and challenging learning environment for our students that will help us meet our common goal—providing students with an educational foundation that will help prepare them for the challenges of school and life in the 21st Century, here at Blue Ridge and beyond.

As a campus, we believe that the foundation for a positive, productive school environment is respect. Together, we have pledged to show Bobcat Pride by showing respect for learning, property, ourselves, and one another. By respecting one another and the goals of the school as a whole, we can create an environment where students can learn and grow in a positive community that supports learning for all students!

As the principal, I firmly believe in the proverb, "It takes a whole village to raise a child." I value the input and support of all interested parties, and am committed to working with all stakeholders to provide our students with the greatest educational opportunities possible. I welcome you to browse through our website to find ways in which we can help support you, as well as ways in which you can become more involved here at Blue Ridge. Together, we will make a difference!

- Dr. Teri Walawender, Principal, Blue Ridge School

A Message From Blue Ridge Early College

From The BREC Principal

Principal Brandon Pendergast

Blue Ridge Early College (BREC) has a long history of providing quality educational opportunities for students within our strong community. We are a member of the North Carolina Cooperative Innovative High Schools Network. Students have the flexibility of taking Southwestern Community College (SCC) courses while at Blue Ridge Early College to complete an Associates degree, or take SCC courses to obtain a workforce certificate, all while completing high school classes for a high school diploma.

We are proud to be one of the few schools across North Carolina to provide the vocational preparation for the NIMS certification for Public Safety and the Fire Fighter Technology program. This program is sanctioned by the North Carolina Office of the State Fire Marshall. Our partnership with the Glenville-Cashiers Fire Department is dedicated to helping us make our program a success.

Several years ago, Jackson County Public Schools introduced a 1:1 Initiative that provided laptops to all teachers and students in grades 7-13. This allows for individualized learning and access to collaboration that mirrors the workplace landscape that our students will be entering. Our ability to match the digital resources with our content standards is invaluable.

The Blue Ridge School Educational Foundation has been instrumental in supporting our students through grants that elevate the teaching and learning experience for our teachers and students. With its support, we have been able to increase our media and technology resources, host an Artist in Residence, grant scholarships for extracurricular educational opportunities, and much more.

Blue Ridge Early College continues to maintain a high graduation rate with greater than 95% of students graduating. Last year, Blue Ridge Early College graduates received thousands of dollars in scholarships coming directly from the Blue Ridge School Education Foundation. The Foundation also annually hosts our Academic Banquet and Scholarship Night to celebrate our talented students.

Our entire team is dedicated to our students, the ideals that support the whole child and the community of those who are invested in their development. Our team participates in a variety of activities such as Stop the Bleed and Resiliency Training to ensure that our campus is a safe and engaging environment for all students. Each day BREC provides students a small, collaborative atmosphere for learning. Our schools should be rooted in the new three Rs of education: Rigor, Relationships, and Relevance. As we maintain focus on these, BREC will remain the best choice for students! I appreciate everyone who is a part of our BREC family. Go Bobcats!

- Brandon Pendergast, Principal, Blue Ridge Early College

A Message From Southwestern Community College

From The SCC President

"Southwestern Community College is proud to offer all Blue Ridge Early College students an opportunity to complete up to two years of college credit - up to and possibly including associate degrees - at the same time as they earn their high school diplomas."

- Dr. Don Tomas, President, Southwestern Community College