The Arc of Stanly honors local leaders

The Legislative Award honors elected officials whose work demonstrates support for people with mental health disorders and intellectual and developmental disabilities. The recognition was given to two individuals for their exemplary legislative work that has positively impacted people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. North Carolina Rep. Justin Burr and Former Sen. Gene McLaurin received the Legislative Award.

McLaurin served as Mayor of Rockingham for 15 years and then served a term in the N.C. Senate representing citizens in Anson, Richmond, Rowan, Scotland and Stanly counties. While in the senate, McLaurin was a strong voice for public education, economic development, and protection of our natural resources, especially the quality of drinking water. He served on the Richmond Community College Board of Trustees, as chairman of the United Way of Richmond County and he was appointed to the N.C. Governor’s Crime Commission. In 2000, Gov. Jim Hunt awarded him the Order of the Long Leaf Pine for his service to the people of North Carolina. He is a champion for the services and treatment of children and adults with disabilities.

Burr, who is currently serving his third-two year term representing 67th district – Stanly and Montgomery counties, has long served as an advocate for people with disabilities. For the 2013-2014 biennium, Burr was appointed by Speaker Thom Tillis to serve in key roles in the House majority including- chairman of the Appropriations Committee and the Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Health and Human Services. Locally, Burr was chairman of the Stanly County March of Dimes, a member of the Centralina Workforce Development Board representing Stanly County, is an Eagle Scout and has served on the Boy Scouts of America Stanly District Board. He currently serves on the Board of the Boy Scouts of America Central North Carolina Council and on numerous other local, state and national boards.

The Medical Award honors medical personnel or physicians who have shown exceptional care to people with mental illness or people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The award was received by Dr. Joseph Stegman, a pediatrician in Concord who has a special interest in children with developmental and behavioral disorders. In 2002, he became board certified in developmental and behavioral pediatrics. He opened Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics of the Carolinas.

The Educator of the Year Award recognizes exceptional work from teacher’s or administrative personnel who help to advocate and provide support to children and youth with mental illness or intellectual and developmental disabilities. Shannon Batchelor, student services and athletics director for Stanly County Schools, and Leigh Hayes, exceptional children’s director for Stanly County Schools, were both recipients of the Educator of the Year Award.

Batchelor, who served as assistant principal of curriculum and instruction at Sun Valley High School in Union County, began her tenure at Stanly County Schools (SCS) in 2007 as the career and technical education director. She is a recipient of the North Carolina Teaching Fellows Scholarship.

Hayes began teaching for Stanly County Schools 35 years ago at Badin Elementary as a resource teacher and was Teacher of the Year at Badin. She became an assistant principal at New Long and Norwood Schools and in 1998 was hired to work at the central office and has been the exceptional children’s director for approximately 15 years.

The Community Leader award recognizes an individual or group who has done exceptional work on behalf of people with mental health or intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Brett M. Speight, vice president of business and commercial banking at First Citizens Bank, joined the bank in 2004 as financial services manager of the branch in Albemarle. In 2005, he was promoted to vice president and business/commercial banker covering all of Stanly County and continues to serve in that capacity. He currently serves as a board President of The Stanly County YMCA, as a board member for The Albemarle Rotary Club, The Butterfly House at Stanly Regional, and Stanly County Convention and Visitor’s Bureau.

For more information about The Arc of Stanly and to become a member, please contact Jeanette Wilhelm at or (704) 986-7234.

Established in 1958, Monarch is a non-profit organization that provides support statewide to thousands of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, mental illness and substance abuse challenges. The agency is nationally accredited by The Council on Quality and Leadership (CQL) and certified by The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services as a Critical Access Behavioral Health Agency (CABHA). Monarch operates The Arc of Stanly County, which is a chapter of The Arc of North Carolina and The Arc of the United States. To learn more about how Monarch provides support, please call (866) 272-7826 or visit

To view photos from the event, visit Monarch’s Facebook page. “Like” the page for regular Monarch updates and photos.
Pictured (l-r): Jeanette Wilhelm, advocate and quality management coordinator at Monarch; Arc of Stanly Award Recipients Dr. Joseph Stegman, Leigh Hayes, Gene McLaurin, Shannon Batchelor, Brett Speight and Monarch CEO/Arc of Stanly Executive Director Dr. Peggy Terhune.