Home Lifestyle WOMEN’S HISTORY MONTH: Blake keeps the buses running in Richmond County

WOMEN’S HISTORY MONTH: Blake keeps the buses running in Richmond County

Our featured leading lady today graduated from Richmond Senior High School in 1975 and made history in March of 2020 when she was named the first female director of transportation for Richmond County Schools. 

A native of Richmond County and graduate of Richmond Senior High School, Deborah “Debbie” Blake has more than 40 years of automotive industry experience from businesses such as Barnes Manufacturing & Parts, Graves Body Shop, Russell Bennett Chevrolet, and as the former cost clerk for the RCS transportation department. She received a vocational education award in 1981. 

Upon Blake’s history-making promotion to lead the transportation department, the COVID-19 pandemic added a whole new range of stresses as the school system transitioned to at-home learning, leaving Blake and Lois Hood, the director of Child and Nutrition Services for RCS, to ensure meals were provided to students at home — a task for which the ladies were recognized for their adaptive collaborative efforts and leadership.

Blake was again recognized for her dedication and exemplar leadership in ensuring the safety of RCS students on buses at the September 2021 School Board meeting. She and her transportation department team were honored for their excellence in ranking first among 33 counties in Central North Carolina for their 2020-2021 inspection score. 


Blake and her husband, Ronnie, have two children, Eddie Blake and Kelli Blake Franklin, and four grandchildren, Tillery Gatlin, Allie Rose and Ellorie. She is also an active member of Sweet Haven Church, where she has served as the secretary and treasurer for the past 20 years. 

Join us today in celebrating the superb leadership of this amazing lady, whose commitment to keeping the students of RCS bus riders coupled with her historic appointment as transportation director make her well worthy of recognition all the time, but especially in Women’s History Month!

Meghann Lambeth is executive director of the Richmond County Tourism Development Authority. Republished from visitrichmondcounty.com. Throughout March, Visit Richmond County will feature a local leading lady in honor of Women’s History Month.


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