A legendary leader who greatly impacted Carrollton City Schools and other educational institutions was the honoree April 18 when the Carrollton City Schools Education Foundation named its general endowment after him to reflect his contributions to the foundation’s growth and sustainability.
Tom Upchurch was superintendent of Carrollton City Schools when the foundation was established in 1993. While Upchurch credits the late Dudley Crosson, who was then the city manager of Carrollton, for starting the foundation, it was, in fact, Upchurch who provided the seed money for its initial funding and continued to support the foundation’s important work for the three decades to follow.
The announcement was made at the 2023 Carrollton City Schools Education Foundation Scholarship Breakfast, where 39 students were awarded more than $48,000 in scholarships this year.
Before scholarships were presented, Board President Jennifer Green announced a special recognition was about to take place and then read a resolution formally dedicating the Thomas S. Upchurch General Endowment.
“Now, therefore, be it resolved that the Carrollton City Schools Education Foundation dedicates the naming of the Foundation’s general fund in Mr. Upchurch’s honor as the Thomas S. Upchurch General Endowment in appreciation to formally recognize his contributions in supporting the organization and to honor his unparalleled passion for the children and teachers of Carrollton City Schools.”
Dr. Mark Albertus, superintendent of Carrollton City Schools, then presented a framed copy of the entire resolution that included a photo of charter board members with Upchurch, who were all Carrollton City Schools alumni: Angie Barker, Whitley Morris, Crosson, and Woody Cole.
Foundation Executive Director Kristen Gill said the dedication was part of the foundation’s year-long celebration of its 30th anniversary. Today, the foundation has a net worth more than $1 million – a far cry from the $20,000 raised initially to start it. And holding true to its roots, the primary focus of the foundation is to support teachers and students, including funding for teacher grants, scholarships and student field trip experiences.
Current board members are Jennifer Green, president; Melina Douthit, vice president; Cisco Baldizon, treasurer; Ben Garrett, past president; Katie Williams, Board of Education representative; Stefnie Crites, district Teacher of the Year; and Chuck Harper, Barbara Paul, Matilda Strickland, Regina Cook Cleveland, Burt Grisham, Brandy Marenco, Alison Wallace, and Monica Smith. Gill handles the day-to-day function of the foundation and Albertus, as superintendent, serves in an ex-officio capacity.