Blue Ridge School

As a North Carolina Public School, Pre-K through 6th grade, Blue Ridge School serves the students and families of southern Jackson County. Our purposes are to: Cultivate an understanding of, and appreciation for our various histories, heritages, and cultures, and promote students’ capabilities so that students become responsible, productive participants in a diverse and changing world.

History of Blue Ridge School

In the late 1800s, nestled deep in the mountains of Southern Jackson County, the communities of Glenville and Cashiers developed. The settlers of the sparsely populated area did not let size hinder them in providing a quality education for their children. In 1886, the Tuckasegee Baptist Association opened Hamburg High School in Glenville, and it became Jackson County’s first high school. The curriculum centered around religion and the Classics until 1891 when it became a public school for educating future teachers. Elementary students were served by several one-room schools.

By the early 1920s, Cashiers elementary schools were consolidated into one school – Cashiers Valley. Progress was also being made in Glenville with the opening of grades 1-11 in 1926; Glenville received its first state accreditation, and also graduated the largest class ever with five (5) students.

In 1938, a new building replaced the old Cashiers Valley School. Students were impressed with the modern brick structure of Cashiers School. For the first time, such modern conveniences as indoor restrooms and electric lights were a reality. However, a taste of the old still existed with meals being prepared and served in a separate building.

During the 1940s, Glenville School experienced a student increase, as well as the addition of a 12th grade. Due to overcrowding, school improvements were made in 1959 at Glenville and Cashiers. A gymnasium, expanded library, classrooms and cafeteria were added to each school. The newly remodeled Glenville School, located on the shores of the recently built Lake Glenville, was the pride of the community. The 1960s saw a tourist boom in the area’s serene location and natural beauty of the area.

By 1971, plans were underway for the new Blue Ridge School to serve southern Jackson County. It is located at the intersection of Norton Road and Highway 107 S. midway between Cashiers and Glenville. Blue Ridge opened in 1975. It consolidated area students into grades kindergarten through twelfth. The original design consisted of four pods surrounding a Media Center and Administrative Pod. Structural changes since its opening have accomodated a growing population and served increasing academic standards. Eight principals have served the school since its opening in 1975: Franz Whitmire, Dr. Fred Harris, Deborah Holmes, Larry McDonald, Dr. Elizabeth Balcerek, Dr. Roy L. Douthitt, Carol Rector, Roy Sapough and the current principals, Theresa Winburn and Dr. Beverly VanHook-Schrey.

In 2008 the Blue Ridge School community was redesigned to include a pre-K through 6th grade school under the leadership of Theresa Winburn and a grades 7 through 12 school under the leadership of Dr. Beverly Van-Hook Schrey.

The administrators who led Glenville and Cashiers schools must also be remembered and acknowledged for their service to the community. At Glenville school, FI Watson, JD Parker, and Doug Crawford served, and at Cashiers, Edith Israel and Earl Hooper laid the foundation for the consolidated schools.