LILLINGTON - Michael Cheek, Central Carolina Community College lead barbering instructor at Harnett Correctional Institution, has been named Educator of the Year by the Greater Crede et Vincent Jaycees Chapter of the North Carolina Junior Chamber of Commerce.
Each year the chapter, located at HCI, presents an award to an instructor at the facility who has excelled beyond expectations. Cheek recently had 19 of his students take the State Board of Barbering licensure exam and all 19 passed. That is the first time students in any barbering program in North Carolina have achieved a 100 percent passing rate on the first attempt. There are currently 34 inmate students enrolled in the barbering program, which is the only one within a North Carolina state correctional facility.
"I was honored by this recognition," said Cheek, who has been teaching at HCI for five years.
Rufus Hayse, Jaycee staff advisor, presented the award to Cheek. Also at the presentation were HCI Superintendent Joseph Hall, Assistant Superintendent for Programs Tresa Brown Tomlinson, 2010 Sandhills Regional Director for the North Carolina Jaycees Dana Kaufman, and 2010 N.C. Jaycee State President Marla Few. Cheek is married to the former Tonita S. Fearrington and the couple has three sons.
The HCI Jaycee chapter welcomes young inmates who work within the organization to provide service to the community and to acquire personal growth, skills and contacts essential for success in society. North Carolina is one of the few states that have active, inmate-led Jaycee chapters in correctional systems
Cheek graduated from Chatham Central High School, attended Central Carolina Community College and graduated from the Sanford Lee School of Barbering. He is a registered Master Barber/Barber Instructor. Before going into education, Cheek worked in Chapel Hill, where he had UNC-Chapel Hill Tarheel basketball players, such as Jimmy Black, Raymond Felton, Danny Green, Will Graves and others, as clients. He remains the barber-of-choice for many team members. Before every game, he's on the road to cut their hair. In appreciation, he received a Championship ring and an NIT watch from the current team members.