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General Assembly’s Barnes visits Franklin County Schools on fact finding mission

by Curtis Hayes, Director of Communications

North Carolina Representative Lisa Stone Barnes visited Long Mill Elementary and Franklinton Middle School on Friday, September 27th as part of her ongoing fact finding mission of the state’s 7th Legislative District, which includes Franklin and Nash counties.

Rep. Barnes first visited Long Mill Elementary School in Youngsville. She met with Franklin County Board of Education Chair Paige Sayles, Franklin County Schools Superintendent Rhonda Schuhler and Principal Monica Headen. Together, they visited several classrooms and discussed school safety, testing, growth and scheduling.

Of particular interest was a classroom where Istation testing was underway. Istation was selected by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction to support the Read to Achieve (RtA) diagnostic. Enacted by the North Carolina Legislature, RtA is designed to ensure that all children in the state of North Carolina master the skills they need to become successful readers.

Barnes also examined Franklinton Middle School with Sayles and Schuhler where they met with Principal David Averette. They discussed the formula that has resulted in a significant increase in the school’s academic growth score over the past two years.

“Franklinton Middle School has experienced its share of struggles in the past due, in part, to a high level of turnover among administrators and teachers throughout its first five years,” Averette said.

In fact, FMS was a low-performing school just two years ago. But Averette and Assistant Principal Heidi Boardman engineered a perfect formula of passion, relationship building and educational “know-how” that has launched the school to a new level of success.

“There’s always something going on in the General Assembly in terms of education, whether it be funding, school construction, teacher salaries, or school safety,” Barnes said. “I just wanted to take an opportunity to visit the District and see what was going on and catch the teachers and students in action.”

Her visit was timely. House Bill 75, which addresses school safety funds, programs and reports, was signed into law September 18th.

“I love that Franklin County Schools has a School Resource Officer in every school,” Barnes said.  

Barnes is an agricultural professional. But she said she is concerned about all aspects of District 7. She said she relies on constituents to communicate with her about issues that may be outside of her farm perspective.

“Teachers and other constituents can help by staying abreast of what’s going on in the General Assembly,” she said. “Send me an email. It’s always great to get constituent input in areas of expertise that I don’t have.” 


Three ladies standing and talking in a hallway at Long Mill School

left to right: Long Mill Elementary Principal 
Monica Headen, FCS Superintendent Rhonda
Schuhler and NC Rep Lisa Barnes.


Four adult ladies watch as two elementary school student work at a table

left to right: Long Mill Elementary Principal 
Monica Headen, NC Rep Lisa Barnes, FCS 
Superintendent Rhonda Schuhler, Franklin 
County Board of Education Paige Sayles watch
as two elementary students participate in 
Istation testing.


One adult male and three adult females pose in front of a brightly painted mural

left to right: Franklinton Middle School Principal
David Averette, Franklin County School Board 
Chair Paige Sayles, NC Rep Lisa Barnes
and FCS Superintendent Rhonda Schuhler. 


Three adult females pose in front of a brick sign for Franklinton Middle School

left to right: Franklin County School Board Chair
Paige Sayles, NC Rep Lisa Barnes and FCS 
Superintendent Rhonda Schuhler