Longtime Dare schools facilities director steps down

By on October 10, 2017

Former Dare County School’s Director of Facilities Jim Winebarger (right) shakes hands with his replacement, Russ Gurganus. (Dare County Schools)

After spending almost two decades heading up construction projects for Dare County Schools, Facilities Director Jim Winebarger is stepping down.

Winebarger was hired for the position in 1998, when eliminating asbestos and improving air quality were key issues that he and his team faced. His concern for the environment wasn’t limited to indoor air quality and similar issues at the county’s public schools, however.

As a member of the Albemarle Resource Conservation and Development Council, Winebarger was committed to developing renewable energy in northeastern North Carolina and promoted the benefits of wind and solar energy to students in kindergarten through the 12th grade.

Those efforts earned him the title of 2014 Member of the Year for the nine-state Southeast Region of the Resource Conservation and Development Council.

In addition, Winebarger, along with Manteo High School Principal John Luciano and science teacher Pat Holland, received the Albemarle council’s award for Outstanding Commitment to Environmental Stewardship and Education.

That award was based on their wetland and outdoor education classroom outreach program, known as the Doughs Creek project — a collaboration that produced a constructed wetland and multi-faceted outdoor environmental education area.

In addition to his legacy of concern for the environment, Winebarger leaves Dare County schools with abundant good will.

“I always enjoyed working with Jim,” said Board of Education vice-chair Margaret Lawler. “He was very knowledgeable, thorough and prepared with his presentations to the Board of Education. He was known for his subtle humor and calm demeanor.”

Dr. John Donlan, Dare Schools director of human resources, also praised Winebarger and his work.

“Jim has accomplished a great deal in the construction and maintenance of our excellent schools,” Dolan said. “His organizational abilities, attention to detail and overall professionalism have been appreciated through the years. He has been a pleasure to work with.”

Educated at Pacific Lutheran University in Seattle and Olympic College in Bremerton, Wash., Winebarger embarked on a career that included service in the U.S. Navy and vice-president positions at Hay Systems in Washington, D.C. and the Tuckerman Group in Springfield, Va.

Before arriving on the Outer Banks as president of Weathertite Construction in Kitty Hawk, Winebarger worked with CEL Aerospace Test Equipment, Ltd. in Quebec. His community service includes membership in the Civil Air Patrol.

Russ Gurganus has been hired as Winebarger’s replacement. Gurganus comes to Dare County from Beaufort County Schools.

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