Crews Inn owner
Ballance grew up on Ocracoke next
door to the inn. His mother and father
were both born and raised on the island,
and his ancestors on both sides of the
family stretch back to the 1700ís. Alton
graduated from Ocracoke School, attended
the University of North Carolina at
Asheville, and then received a degree in
English Education from UNC-Chapel Hill.
After teaching for two years in
Hillsborough, NC, Alton returned home to
teach English and journalism at the
islandís K-12 school, where he also
served as assistant principal.
He served as Ocracokeís
representative on the Hyde County Board
of Commissioners between 1984 and 1992,
and six years on the NC Coastal
Resources Commission between 1996 and
2002. In 1989 he purchased Crews Inn
from his brother Kenny Ballance and
David Murrill and Rodney Smith. Altonís
first book Ocracokers, a
history of the island and its people,
was published by the UNC Press in 1989.
All proceeds from the book are donated
to Ocracoke School to purchase
elementary literature books.
In January, 2003, Alton
stopped teaching at Ocracoke School to
join the staff of the North Carolina
Center for the Advancement of Teaching,
whose mission is to advance teaching as
an art and profession. The Centerís main
focus is a year-round series of seminars
in the arts, humanities, sciences,
technology, communication, and health
and fitness for pre-K to twelfth-grade
North Carolina public school teachers.
In addition to a main campus in the
mountains of North Carolina, NCCAT has
an eastern campus at Ocracoke in the
former Coast Guard Station.