Daniel Wall – Class of 1996
Child Nutrition Director, Burke County Public Schools; Owner, Highlands Butchery Restaurant, Valdese

When a person thinks of public school system employees, he is likely to mention the most visible members such as teachers, coaches, and principals. But in order to provide the necessary learning environment, many other people play an important role even though they may not be the most visible to the public. Daniel Wall serves as the Child Nutrition Director of Burke County Public Schools and supervises the program that provides the necessary nutrition so that children can learn.

“I have currently been with Burke County Public Schools for 23 and a half years and have worked in many capacities,” explains Daniel. “I started as a teacher at our alma mater EBHS and was there for five years teaching science and math. I then moved to administration and was an assistant principal and principal until 2019 when I made the move to Child Nutrition Director, a position I have had for four years. With the help of 150 wonderful folks, we feed 8500 lunches and 7000 breakfasts every day to the students of Burke County Public Schools. I love being around kids and helping them whether as a teacher, coach, principal, or as I like to call it ‘head lunch lady.’ Kids are where my heart is.”

Many may remember that when the schools had to go to remote learning during the Covid pandemic, school food trucks continued to deliver meals to children even though they were unable to attend classes in person. Without the dedicated staff of the Child Nutrition Program, many of these young people would have gone without much needed food.

Daniel also has a farm with about 100 cows and 20 sheep. “Farming is my stress relief. There is nothing more relaxing than watching cows eat grass or new baby calves and sheep running around a pasture.” In partnership with some dear friends, he also recently opened a thriving restaurant and butcher shop in downtown Valdese called Highlands Butchery. “We would love to catch up with old classmates and teachers at the bar while enjoying a fresh local hamburger. Many have stopped in to visit, and I am very appreciative of each one of them.”

After graduating from EBHS, Daniel attended Western Piedmont Community College and then transferred to Western Carolina University where he earned a BS in Biology Education. He then attended classes at Lenoir Rhyne University to further his teaching certificate for general science and then went on to earn a Master’s Degree in School Administration from Gardner Webb University.

“Sports was the most influential thing for me while at East Burke. Playing football and tennis helped keep me focused and gave me an outlet to do well in my academics. Coaches who still influence me today are Mike Colbert, Jim McCormick, Wayne Fletcher, Sam Wilkinson, Rob Bliss, Jay Murray, Doug Rhoney, Scott Lambert, and Alan Lowman.

“I also fondly remember classroom teachers who helped me along the way. Chamber singers was a great experience with Jim Williams and Renee Shatley both making an impact on my life. Other teachers who inspired me were Mark Jolly, Horace Brown, Lynda Massengill, Lucille Bond, Ramona Barus, and Freddie Setzer. I am more aware now of the wonderful patience that each of these folks had in dealing with me as a student. They were all so kind, and I am thankful for what they did for me. When I came back to East Burke as a teacher, I had the opportunity to work in the science and math department, and some of those same folks were always willing to help me as well as Jimmy Hipps, Jackie Welch, Jamie Bostain, and Devon Vance. All provided a wealth of knowledge about teaching.

“I can retire from Burke County Public Schools in about five years. I will miss working with students, but I look forward to being with my cattle and spending time at the restaurant.”

Published January 2024

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