ASHEVILLE, NC – A-B Tech President Emeritus K. Ray Bailey was sworn in to the State Board of Community Colleges July 17 in Raleigh. Members of the N.C. House elected Bailey for a six-year term on the 21-member board.
The Board serves as the governing authority for the North Carolina Community College System. The Board is empowered by General Statutes to adopt and carry out the policies, regulations and standards necessary for administering and operating the nation’s third-largest system of community colleges.
Bailey served as president of A-B Tech from 1990 until he retired in August 2007. He was elected as a Buncombe County Commissioner in November 2008. He was A-B Tech’s longest-serving employee, having been hired in 1966 as the director of Adult Basic Education. Under his leadership, the College grew into a three-campus institution that enrolled more than 25,000 students each year in more than 50 curriculum programs and 1,200 Continuing Education courses.
Bailey served on the boards of numerous civic organizations and has been widely recognized for his community service. Among the honors he received are the title of 2005 President of the Year for the North Carolina Community College System, the 2005 Distinguished Service Award for Lifetime Achievement from the Asheville-Buncombe Community Relations Council, and the Rotary Centennial Service Award for Professional Excellence. In 2006, he received The Order of the Long Leaf Pine, one of the most prestigious awards presented by the Governor of North Carolina, for extraordinary service to the state.
Bailey also received the Spirit of the Civitan Award, a Professional Achievement Award from Western Carolina University, the Leadership Asheville Circle of Excellence Award, the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce Chairman’s Award, the Buncombe County Partners in Education Volunteer of the Year Award, and a Special Contributor Award from Goodwill Industries of Northwest North Carolina.
In addition, he holds honorary doctorates from Western Carolina University and Mars Hill College in recognition of his efforts to improve the quality of education not only for A-B Tech students, but all of Western North Carolina.