George Brantley DeLoatche – May He Rest In Peace

Delivering a Rotary Minute in September 2012

It is with great sadness that we write to inform you of the passing of long-time Fellow Rotarian, and friend to many, George Brantley DeLoatche. Brantley passed away this morning. He was 99 years old.

Brantley’s tenure as a Durham Rotarian for 73 years is a record that may never be broken. He was a regular presence at weekly meetings, offering a genuine welcome to newly inducted club members and a warm smile for his old friends and tablemates. He was a Paul Harris Fellow and a follower of the Four Way Test.

In the weeks before his death, Brantley decided to create a named Scholarship with The Rotary Club of Durham and made a generous gift of $10,000 to launch this Fund. Thus, The Brantley DeLoatche Scholarship will be given, starting this year, to one of our area high school scholarship awardees. It is hoped that additional memorial gifts will enable this Fund to grow to a level that supports an annual scholarship in memory of this fine man and his contributions to the community.

Rotarians who wish to make memorial gifts may do so by sending a check payable to The Rotary Foundation, with the notation: The Brantley DeLoatche Scholarship, to: Barry Curtis, 3813 Regent Road, Durham, North Carolina 27707.

Pictured here is Brantley, along with Fellow Rotarians, Lucia Powe and Roxanne Hall Little, at our June 25, 2018 Rotary Meeting.   Brantley had just celebrated his 99th birthday on June 21st.

A Memorial Service for Brantley will be held on Saturday, March 2, at Yates Baptist Church at 11:00 AM, in Durham.  Yates Baptist is on Chapel Hill Road near the Blvd.

A full obituary was published in the Herald-Sun on Friday March 1 in the Durham Herald-Sun and can be seen here.

Past President, Seth Jernigan, introduced Dr. Pascal Mubenga, Superintendent of the Durham Public Schools (DPS) as our speaker. Dr. Mubenga, a member of the Rotary Club of Durham, introduced Chip Sudderth, Chief Communications Officer – DPS and Mary Griffith, Director of Marketing and Community Engagement – DPS as his guests.  His presentation occurred almost a year to the day since his first talk to us.

Dr. Mubenga started his tenure with DPS about 14 months ago with a 90 day listening tour. He then worked with a team of 52 people that included Educators, Stakeholders and Students over a period of 6 months to develop a Strategic Plan. The plan sets priorities, goals, detailed strategies for reaching those goals and measurements to track progress along the way. The plan can be found on the DPS website under the tab “About DPS.” The plan deserves a look, not only for the impressive detail of each facet but also for the skill sets of the many people who contributed to the plan.

Already, there have been noticeable improvements. Dr. Mubenga pointed out that when he arrived DPS had 18 schools out of the 53 in the system that were defined as “low performing.” In the past year the number of “low performing” schools has been cut to 13 and he expects that they will cut that number in half next year.

He pointed out that 82% of DPS students are of minorities. Looking at achievement growth through ethnic/racial divisions, he has seen that all groups grew last year except students of Asian background, whose achievement levels stayed the same. He found that White Students achieved above State norms while African – American and Latino students achieved below State norms. He noted that the overall graduation rate for DPS is 81% but for White students it is 91%. He concludes that there is a need to focus on minorities while improving education for all. Dr. Mubenga stated, “We have high expectations. Minority students can learn. We have to believe in them. I’ve seen it!”

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New Member: Hilary French

Rotary often runs in families, so we are proud the have inducted Hilary French, the daughter of Rotarian Barker French who sponsored her. Hilary was inducted by Past President and member of the Membership Committee, Kay Gresham. Please introduce yourself and welcome her to the club.

Here is a little bit of information about Hilary:

“I currently work at KONTEK Systems as the Managing Director.  I have spent most of my career in HR, both as a consultant and in-house HR.  Jim and I moved to Durham from Philadelphia in 2016 after raising our two daughters there.  When not at work, I enjoy the many restaurants in Durham, working in my garden, and traveling to new places.”

Program Report: Sheriff Clarence Birkhead

Recently elected Sheriff Clarence Birkhead spoke on Monday about his vision for his department’s role in creating “One Community, One Durham.”  He is Durham’s first African American sheriff and only the thirteenth sheriff in Durham’s nearly 150 year history.  He was introduced by club member Ernie Mills, Jr of the Durham Rescue Mission that itself works closely with the sheriff’s office. Ernie is also a part-time Deputy Sheriff.

Birkhead assumed the Durham County position with a wealth of experience.  Launching his career in law enforcement in Randolph County, he became Duke University’s police chief in 1998, a position he held for seven years.  Subsequently, he served as police chief in Hillsborough.

In his campaign literature, Sheriff Birkhead stated that his number one goal is “A Durham County where all people are safe and live free from harm or fear.”  To that end, he has set in motion his plan for his “First Hundred Days.”  These are the steps that can be implemented locally.

Birkhead’s philosophy of law enforcement traces back to Sir Robert Peel, a prominent British politician who, as Home Secretary in the 1820s, created the modern police force (whose officers were called “peelers” or “bobbies.”) Of Peel’s nine principles of policing, Birkhead recalled two that he regards as absolutely essential to public support and respect.  One, “the ability of police to perform their duties is dependent upon public approval.”  Two, “the police are the public and the public are the police.”  The observance of these principles ensures that “everyone, including detainees, is treated with respect.”

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Program Report: Nick Malinowski – Kidznotes

I’m always impressed by the hidden talents of my fellow Rotarians, and listening to Nick Malinowski’s a capella rendition of Sam Cooke’s “A Change Gonna Come” as he introduced Monday’s program was no exception – it left me with goosebumps. Particularly after he explained that the song was a favorite of one of his former music students, Vanessa Williams (not THAT Vanessa Williams, but a rock star in her own right).

Nick was introduced by Rotarian Lucia Powe, a co-founder and Board Member Emeritus of Kidznotes and one of it’s most passionate supporters.

Nick had recently left a position as Music Director at KIPP Delta Public Schools in Helena, AR, where he grew a K-12 music program from a single eight-voice choir to a three-choir program serving over 120 students including dance and music theater programs, a marching band, and an elementary school string ensemble. Nick had moved into the non-profit sector, serving as Community Programs Manager of the Seattle Opera, when his former students called to tell him Vanessa had died. Through the magical technology of Facetime and Skype, Nick helped arrange Vanessa’s favorite song so it could be included in her memorial service.

“Music is the greatest tool we have for creation of beauty and changing lives – not just music, but making music together,” Nick declares. He and his wife, Julia, returned to Durham from Seattle in January of 2016 so Nick could take the position of Program Director for Citizen Schools, a national nonprofit providing hands-on apprenticeship opportunities for students in Durham Public Schools. He took over the reins as Executive Director of Kidznotes in 2017 and has since worked tirelessly to “change lives through ever-expanding participation in youth orchestras, bands, and choirs.”

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New Member: Katina Rogers

Please welcome and introduce yourselves to new member Katina Rogers who was sponsored by Elisabeth Wiener and inducted by Membership Chair Shannon Leskin.  Here is some background provided by Ms. Rogers.

I had gotten my first taste of Rotary Club in Omaha Nebraska, where I grew up. My father was a master tailor and when a group of high ranking officers from the Strategic Air Command military base brought in a tattered flag one day, he quickly repaired it for free and gave it back to them beaming with pride. I learned from him and my mother that service towards others is a ‘must’. This pride for his new country was great and repairing the flag was considered an honor. He was taken to Rotary Club and honored for his patriotism and love of country.

Because language skills were lacking as a Greek immigrant, I went along with him to help translate and explain.  I was 14.  What impressed me even at this young age about Rotary Club was that this seemed like a very civic-minded group of Omaha’s leaders who were doing good things in the community.

Fast forward to today. My husband (Joseph Gordon Rogers) and I have moved to the Triangle. My husband is a cardiologist and currently CMO of Duke Health Systems. We moved in  2014 with high school-aged children and moved initially to Chapel Hill.  After our youngest graduated from high school, we moved to Durham to be closer to my husband’s work.

It was the best thing we could have done.

Durham has been a fantastic fit – our last 7 years have been full of tremendous friendships that we can now share in establishments and businesses in this city,  We have enjoyed watching the transformative changes come about in the Bull City and are so glad to be part of it.

I was hospital administrator in St Louis for Washington University Medical Center prior to coming here. Since moving to NC, I have started a home renovation company (AXIOS Holdings) and also a handcrafted purse and accessory line.

I  am most excited to get involved in Rotary, roll up my sleeves and, with guidance, be on the road to doing good deeds and giving back to a community that has so completely embraced us. I look forward to my time ahead in Rotary.