Remembering Education Icon: Phyllis Crain (1957-2012)
Hearts across the High Country are saddened after the passing of a true Pioneer of Crossnore Schools. Exeuctive Director Dr. Phyllis Crain passed away yesterday at around 4:40pm after an 11 year battle with breast cancer. After earning her doctorate in education from the University of South Carolina in 1980, she began her career as a successful young teacher, Crain eventually became superintendent of schools in Avery County becoming the first female superintendent for the district. As superintendent of Avery County Schools, Crain built two new schools and raised funds and completed design work for a third. She later disovered the ministry of Crossnore School, a century-old residential education campus for abused and neglected children. Just four months after she joined the staff, the executive director left abruptly and Crain succeeded him in April 1999. During her tenure – almost all of which was while she dealt with cancer – Crain led Crossnore School to completely renovate its campus, build and staff a charter school, put in a new water and sewer system, wire the campus for internet technology, build six new cottages, build new athletic fields, establish an adoption service, and begin businesses such as the Miracle Grounds Coffee Shop staffed by students, elevate staff professional development, gain accreditation, institute a new model of care called Sanctuary; and raise endowment from $1 million to $20 million. Crain is survived by her husband Keith; two children, Keith and Holly and Holly’s husband David Hanes; three grandchildren, Haley, Hannah and Kyle Hanes, her parents Kenneth and Hazel; brother Keith and his wife Patricia and sister Sherry Page and her husband David and a host of nieces and nephews. Gifts to honor Dr. Phyllis H. Crain will best be given to serve children through the "Phyllis Crain Endowment Fund" at The Crossnore School, P.O. Box 249, Crossnore, North Carolina, 28616.