Last item for navigation
Educators Honored by Gardner-Webb University
Educators Honored by Gardner-Webb University
Posted on 11/14/2018
Joseph Hough and Debbie Presnell were inducted into the GWU Gallery of Distinguished Alumni.By: Benjamin Rickert, Communications Dept.

Two members of the Buncombe County Schools community were proudly inducted into Gardner-Webb University’s Gallery of Distinguished Alumni this fall. According to the university, the award annually “recognizes achievements in one or more of the following areas: career distinction, community service, involvement and support for Gardner-Webb’s advancement, and integrity and character.”

This year, Mr. Joseph Hough, BCS Assistant Superintendent and 30-year National Guardsman, and Ms. Deborah Presnell, A.C. Reynolds High Class of 1980, author, and educator for more than two decades, joined the ranks of the Gardner-Webb’s Distinguished Alumni.

“I’m immensely humbled to receive this award from Gardner-Webb University,” Mr. Hough said. “A lot of what a person meaningfully accomplishes in his or her life is rooted in the enjoyment of serving a community of people. That’s what I have aimed to do, and I hope I can be an inspiration for others to follow, in my community and in my family.”

Hough and Presnell stand together at Gardner-Webb University.Mr. Hough was pleased to speak with Ms. Presnell at the awards ceremony about their mutual investment into local education. In addition to her myriad pursuits, Debbie also serves as a BCS substitute teacher in Black Mountain.

“I have served joyfully, and continue to do so, because I am passionate about my field and people,” said Ms. Presnell. “All I've ever wanted was to be an inspiration and a source of encouragement to others. To be honored at GWU in this way means that I've done this, and this is my greatest achievement and reward. I am so grateful to God who gave me this passion and strengthens me to do His purpose each day.”

Congratulations to these distinguished educators!


Joseph Hough: Mr. Joseph Hough is a 1991 alumnus of Gardner-Webb and the assistant superintendent of Buncombe County Schools. A 30-year National Guardsman and lieutenant colonel, he serves as the Deputy Brigade Commander for the 130th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade in Charlotte. To this end, he recently served during the fall 2018 hurricane relief efforts in the coastal areas of North Carolina. Mr. Hough has earned numerous awards for his civilian and military careers, including the Don Chalker Award for Excellence in Educational Leadership from Western Carolina University (2005), and both the Bronze Star and DeFluery Medal for his military leadership in Afghanistan (2010). Joe Hough lives in Hendersonville, North Carolina with his wife, Karen, and two sons, Daniel and Andrew.

Deborah Presnell: Ms. Debbie Presnell is a 1984 alumna of Gardner-Webb, a published author, national speaker, and Bible study teacher. She currently serves as a Buncombe County Schools substitute teacher, after spending more than two decades teaching in local Asheville area schools and in higher education. Ms. Presnell has authored numerous books for teens and women and spoken at teacher conferences and and universities about “The inspirational classroom: A guide for teachers in all school environments.” She also serves a spokesperson for Mukti Mission where she aims to bring hope, healing and life to Indian women and children. Debbie Presnell is married to Alan Presnell, and together they have three adult children and one granddaughter.

Learn more in Gardner-Webb University's official release.

Buncombe County Schools is in the process of reviewing its website to ensure compliance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Buncombe County Schools does not discriminate on the basis of sex in its education programs or activities and is required by Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972 and federal regulations to not discriminate in such a manner. This requirement extends to admission and employment. Inquiries about the application of Title IX and its implementing federal regulations may be referred to the Title IX Coordinator and/or the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights in the Office for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Education. The Title IX Coordinator's contact information is: Shanon Martin,, 828-255-5918, 175 Bingham Road, Asheville, NC 28806.

Website by SchoolMessenger Presence. © 2022 Intrado Corporation.
All rights reserved. Privacy Statement