Joe DeVault, former teacher, coach, principal, chairman of the Patrick and Henry Community College Board, and school board chairman for Henry County Public Schools, was belatedly honored with a joint resolution honoring his work upon the occasion of his retirement.
Dels. Les Adams, R-Chatham, and Wren Williams, R-Stuart, attended the Henry County School Board’s July 7 meeting to present DeVault with House Joint Resolution 394, which was approved by the General Assembly in 2020 but, due to the pandemic, had not yet been presented to the long-time educator.
According to the resolution, DeVault began his teaching career in 1965 as a teacher and coach at Drewry Mason High School. Over the course of more than 30 years with the school division, he served as principal of Rich Acres Elementary, Drewry Mason High, and Magna Vista High.
Following a decade as principal of a North Carolina high school, the resolution states that “DeVault returned to Henry County Public Schools as a well-informed and influential voice on the Henry County School Board.”
The division “accomplished significant improvements during (DeVault’s) tenure … moving toward full accreditation, closing the achievement gap, incorporating more equitable curriculum offerings, improving school facilities, and constructing a new elementary school.”
The resolution also credits DeVault with the introduction of the Warrior Tech and Bengal Tech education programs, which were introduced under his stewardship and “were the first programs of their kind in Virginia, earning Henry County Public Schools state and national awards and preparing today’s students for the world of tomorrow.”
The resolution noted that DeVault was presented with the 2019 Jack Dalton Community Service Award, Henry County’s highest citizen honor, in recognition of his tireless efforts.
It concludes, “whereas Joe DeVault’s leadership, determination, and perseverance were invaluable assets to Henry County Public Schools during his 12 years on the Henry County School Board and his decades in the school division as a principal, teacher, and coach; now, therefore, be it resolved by the House of Delegates, the Senate concurring, that the General Assembly hereby commend Joseph DeVault, longtime educator and valued civil servant on the occasion of his retirement from the Henry County School Board.”
DeVault was presented with a copy of the resolution “as an expression of the General Assembly’s profound respect and heartfelt admiration for his contributions to Henry County and the Commonwealth.”
Accepting his resolution from the delegates, DeVault said that “the opportunity and the privilege to be part of the education process, particularly the education process here in Henry County was something I will always be thankful for.”
He recalled “many, many years ago,” when he was considering pursuing a career in education, his father told him that he should strive to reach the end of a career in which he could look back “and say there were a whole lot more ‘I’m glad I did thats’ than there were ‘I wish I’d done that.’”
DeVault said that, with the exception of marrying his wife, “the best decision I ever made would be coming to Henry County and having the opportunity to serve the students and the community and, I hope, serve the profession of education in a way that has been meaningful.”