At its September 14 regular monthly meeting, the Bladen County Board of Education approved Jason Folsom as the new principal of Bladen Lakes Primary School. Mr. Folsom is replacing Dia Collins-Thomas who in July was named the district’s new Director of the Migrant Education Program.
Folsom has served as the assistant principal of Bladenboro Primary School since August 2017. Before coming to Bladen County, he worked in Cumberland County until 2017 as a Health and P.E. teacher and the boy’s and girl’s soccer coach at Gray’s Creek Middle and Lewis Chapel Middle schools.
Folsom graduated from Gardner-Webb University with a master’s degree in executive leadership and a bachelor’s degree in health and physical education from Slippery Rock University. Originally from Pennsylvania, Folsom and his wife have two children.
At its July 20 regular monthly meeting, the Bladen County Board of Education approved one program director and one district administrator. Dia Collins-Thomas was approved as the district’s new Director of the Migrant Education Program and Susan Harrison was approved as the district’s new Finance Officer.
Dia Collins-Thomas has served as the principal of Bladen Lakes Primary School since July 2017. Before that, she was the assistant principal of Bladenboro Middle School until August 2015. Collins-Thomas’ 18-year education career includes serving as a high school math teacher, a mathematics instructional coach, Central Texas College math instructor, and Fayetteville State University Upward Bound math instructor. Honors and awards include being a 2012-2013 Finalist for the Cumberland County Teacher of the Year; a 2014 Fayetteville Observer 40 Under 40 award honoree; and, the 2015 Woman of the Year award by Zeta Phi Beta Sorority.
Collins-Thomas is currently enrolled in the doctoral program in educational leadership at Gardner-Webb University. She graduated from Gardner-Webb University with a master’s degree in school administration, and from Fayetteville State University with a master’s degree in math education. She earned her undergraduate degree in mathematics from Elon University.
Before her departure as the assistant finance officer for Bladen County Schools in 2015, Susan Harrison worked in the finance department of Columbus County Schools and Whiteville City Schools. From 2015 to 2018 she served as the finance officer for Clinton City Schools. She most recently served as the finance officer for Scotland County Schools until August 2020.
Harrison graduated from the University of Mt. Olive with a bachelor’s degree in business administration. She also obtained Advanced Associate II and NC School Finance Officer certifications from the North Carolina Association of School Business Officials. Honors and awards include being named the 2011 Bladen County Schools’ Educational Office Professional of the Year, receiving the Association of School Business Officials International Certificate of Excellence in Financial Reporting Award for 2018 and 2019, and the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada Award in Financial Reporting Achievement for 2018 and 2019.
At its June 29 special called year-end meeting, the Bladen County Board of Education approved Joshua Parker as the new assistant principal of Elizabethtown Primary School. Parker is replacing Renee Inman, who retired effective August 1, 2020.
Parker has served as a science and social studies teacher at Clarkton School of Discovery since 2015, where he was also named the 2019-2020 Teacher of the Year for the school. He began his teaching career in 2013 in Brunswick County before coming to Bladen County. Before becoming a teacher, Parker served in the United States Marine Corps for eight years.
Parker graduated from Western Governors University with a master’s degree in administrative leadership. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. Originally from Portsmouth, Virginia, Parker and his wife have two children.