Tommy Blanton Class of 1981
Construction Teacher, East Burke High School

Vocational education has always been an important part of the curriculum at East Burke, and thousands of students have prospered from the programs that are offered. Tommy Blanton has taught for a total of 22 years, 17 of them in construction at East Burke High and before that 5 years in Career Exploration at East Burke Middle School. He has guided many of those students through projects that developed skills that will benefit them throughout their lifetimes.

I teach the construction trade, he explains, both in the classroom and through hands on activities, including building homes and completing projects in the school and in the community. I really enjoy seeing students grasp the concepts and then go out into the world and use the skills they have learned. I also enjoy the fact that many of them have stayed in touch over the years. Some of them end up making their living in the construction field, but all of them have mastered some valuable skills that they can use their entire lives.

In 1985. Tommy earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Technology from East Carolina University. In 2005, he received a Masters Degree in Technology Education from Appalachian State and earned his National Board Certification in 2006. He also holds the General Contractors License for North Carolina and South Carolina.

Before becoming a teacher, Tommy worked in textile management for six years. I enjoyed the job, but traveling throughout three states and living out of motels became more and more difficult, especially with a growing young family. I felt that I needed to be home.

Tommy looks back fondly on his high school years and has a special appreciation for the lessons learned through sports. I played football, basketball, and baseball, and I had a lot of coaches who helped shape my life, I learned from all of them. Coach Ron Hastings was an especially important influence. He took a real interest in helping me that I will always remember.

I never thought Id be a teacher, but now after many years in this career, I know I should have been here a long time ago. There are some great people in education, including the people I work with. They really love the kids and want the best for them.

I hope to continue to work in the construction trade for a long time. I also look forward to continuing to contribute to my community, working with my friends, being a good influence on my grandchildren, and spending some time traveling.

But for now, I am enjoying working with my students and the dedicated faculty of East Burke. Its home.


Published April 2022

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