KCS honors McCord, Burdine for championing education

Rick Wagner • Feb 6, 2017 at 1:22 PM

KINGSPORT — CeeGee McCord of Eastman Chemical Co. and Kingsport Chamber of Commerce head Miles Burdine have been recognized for their support of local public education.

On Thursday the pair received the first two Champion of Education awards from Kingsport City Schools, which Superintendent Lyle Ailshie said was for pro-education activities that most recently included support for the Sullivan County Commission agreeing to fund the $140 million countywide school facilities plan.

In presenting the awards for the Board of Education Thursday night, Ailshie said the inaugural recipients embody community stakeholders who support the school system, its mission and its vision.

Ailshie said both support programming, facilities and academics and are active participants in “what needs to be done.”

“We’re setting the bar pretty high tonight,” Ailshie said.

He said McCord, director of global and community affairs for Eastman, is “willing to do anything we ask” for the system and education. And he said Burdine, a former Marine who is president and CEO of the chamber that shares a building with KCS, is a great “roommate” for the Administrative Support Center. “We never ask Miles anything he won’t do,” Ailshie said.

Ailshie said the city’s share of the funding will go toward building a regional science and technology center at Dobyns-Bennett High School and paying the county $20 million for Sullivan North High/Middle School and converting it to a city middle school. Ailshie said the new facility school will free up some space and allow replacement of elementary school space.

In accepting the award, McCord said she was fortunate to work for a company that supports public education and allows her to advocate for it. Burdine thanked chamber employee Nichole Austin for her work on education issues. He also said the city’s school system is the top asset the chamber and others use to attract people and businesses to Kingsport.

“You guys are great roommates,” Burdine said.

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