Two long-time retiring Surry County Board of Education members were honored Wednesday evening by learning they each had been chosen to receive The Order of the Long Leaf Pine.
The two, Sexton Earlie Coe and Dr. Terri Mosley, knew they would be the guests of honor at a reception celebrating their time on the board, but neither knew about The Order of the Long Leaf Pine awards.
“North Carolina’s governors have reserved this award for persons who have made significant contributions to the state and their communities through their exemplary service and exceptional accomplishments,” the school system said of the award. “Coe and Mosley, who have both served as long time board members, have done that in an impactful way.”
“Mr. Earlie Coe and Dr. Terri Mosley have been long standing staples on the Surry County Board of Education for many years,” said Dr. Travis L. Reeves, superintendent of Surry County Schools. “Each has made significant contributions to public education, locally and at the state level. They are true professionals who have dedicated their lives to serving our students, schools and communities. I am honored to have worked alongside them. I know their leadership legacy lives on in Surry County Schools through the initiatives they fostered.”
“This is a historic day where two of our beloved community leaders have been honored with The Order of the Long Leaf Pine,” said Mamie M. Sutphin, Surry County Schools Board of Education chairperson. “Under the leadership of these two former chairs of the board, Surry County Schools has built schools, established local curriculum, and supported communities. It has been an honor to serve on the board under their leadership and I now recognize the responsibility that comes with being chair. I am grateful for their leadership example and the tremendous contributions these two individuals have made to our communities in Surry County and across the state of North Carolina.”
Coe is a Surry County native. He graduated from Surry Central High School and attended Appalachian State University. Shortly after graduating, Coe began working for Surry County Schools in September of 1970 as a teacher. He retired with nearly 30 years of experience in December of 1999.
After this, Coe was elected to the Board of Education in September of 2002 and began serving as chairman in 2003, holding the seat for 13 years. Under his guidance as chairman, the school system built two additional schools: Pilot Mountain Middle School and Rockford Elementary School. Coe always pushed for initiatives that would improve school facilities and meet the educational needs of students.
In 2014, he headed efforts to conduct a facility study with the goal of assessing all schools in the district and estimating the overall cost of improvements. Once the assessment was finished, renovation efforts began on three elementary schools in need: Dobson Elementary, Franklin Elementary, and Mountain Park Elementary. All three renovations are complete. Coe also assisted the district in securing properties that connected to East Surry High School and Surry Central High School for future high school expansion projects.
“Mr. Coe always advocated for innovative programs, like computer science or virtual education platforms, and strived to guide Surry County Schools with a progressive mindset,” school officials said of the outgoing board member. “He was a champion for 1-to-1 computer usage for students and making sure that every student in the district had access to a computer. While Mr. Coe served on the board, the district hit the highest graduation rate in Surry County Schools’ history at 93.8% in 2020.”
Mosley began her education career as a substitute teacher after receiving a B.A. and while working on a M.S. degree from the University of Kentucky. After moving to North Carolina, she served as a teacher and coach at North Surry High School and then returned to UNC-Greensboro to complete her Ed.D. Returning to Surry County Schools, she served as an assistant principal at Central Middle School and Surry Central High School, a principal at North Surry High School, and a central office director supervising programs in Student Services, Student Accountability, Media & Technology, and Federal Programs.
Two of her proudest accomplishments include being recognized as the Surry County Schools Teacher of the Year in 1995 and the Surry County Schools Principal of the Year in 2004. After retiring as assistant superintendent for instructional services for Surry County Schools, she joined the board of education in 2014 and served as board chair from 2016 until 2021.
Along with the Surry County Board of Education, she serves on the board for the Children’s Center of Northwest North Carolina Inc. along with serving on the Surry County Juvenile Crime Prevention Council. In her spare time, she volunteers at the local hospital and Surry Medical Ministries and enjoys walking, reading, horses, and her family.
As Order of the Long Leaf Pine honorees, Coe and Mosley are included on a roster maintained by the Order of the Long Leaf Pine Society, joining notable North Carolina recipients such as Maya Angelou, Dale Earnhardt, and Billy Graham, as well as Betty Lynn.