The Transylvania Times -

Former School Superintendent Remembered – Transylvania County, NC

 

September 2, 2019

Harry Corbin, who served as superintendent of Transylvania County Schools for 17 years before retiring in 1986, passed away last Wednesday, Aug. 28.

He is being remembered as a compassionate and intelligent man who made teachers and students feel valued.

“Mr. Corbin was the superintendent of schools when I came to Transylvania County in 1978,” said former school psychologist and current school board member Alice Wellborn. “I’ve worked with some great administrators since then, but Mr. Corbin was the best. He knew everyone who worked in Transylvania County Schools and he valued the contributions of everyone. He was unfailingly kind and courteous, and he often expressed personal appreciation to staff members. He visited schools on a daily basis and he often worked with students.

“I remember watching Mr. Corbin during lunch at Brevard Elementary, opening milk cartons, peeling oranges and tying shoes so that the teachers could eat in peace. He would ask teachers if a child needed some extra attention, and then he would sit down and spend some time with that child.

“Mr. Corbin treated everyone with respect and concern for their well-being. I was a brand new school psychologist, and he made me feel welcome and special and valuable.

“Harry Corbin was a champion for public schools, and he will be terribly missed.”

“Having had the privilege of working with Harry Corbin for a number of years, I knew him as an outstanding leader in our education community,” John Huggins, former assistant school superintendent who worked side-by-side with Corbin for many years. “He was a quiet spoken individual who would always listen to the concerns of his fellow administrators and who did not try to micromanage. He was recognized as an outstanding leader by local and state colleges. He was highly respected in the community as well as within his profession.”

Professionally, Corbin taught math at Franklin High School and then served as principal at Union Elementary and Franklin High School before moving to Brevard.

He served as principal of Brevard High for two years before becoming superintendent.

During his tenure as superintendent, he instituted daily PE classes for children in grades K-9, established the alternative school program and two school bonds were approved.

“Mr. Corbin laid the foundation for many of the great things we do today,” said current superintendent Jeff McDaris. “He was my superintendent, having served during all the time I was in Transylvania County Schools with the exception of my first grade year, I believe. He was a fine educator, leader and person.”

McDaris said Corbin insisted he call him “Harry,” but McDaris said that was hard to do because of his upbringing.

Even after retirement, Corbin was still active in supporting public education.

“As recently as June of 2017, I picked up Harry at his house to attend the end of the year regional superintendent’s meeting in Asheville,” said McDaris. “Our end of the year meeting each June has a luncheon and retired superintendents from our region are invited. Sonna Lyda, my predecessor, used to do this as well, and very often the three of us would ride together.

“That was his last trip over. I recall he mentioned at the time that it would probably be his last one since he and Rose (his wife) were going to move down (state) to be closer to his daughter. Despite failing health, Mr. Corbin's mind was always sharp as a tack and he had wonderful, witty humor. Interestingly, these meetings were often a chance for him to see his cousin Lonnie Crawford, who was a retired and former superintendent of Macon County, where Harry was from.

“Always pleasant and smiling, he will always be one of the faces of education and schools here, in my opinion. I always enjoyed talking to him and he will be missed.”

 
 

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