Local Winston-Salem Difference Makers: Michelle Butt

In addition to celebrating Winston-Salem natives that have moved on to do significant things outside of Winston, this blog will also celebrate local people who make a difference currently in Winston-Salem. 

In early 2015, Michelle Butt was named president and general manager of WXII-TV, the NBC affiliate serving the Greensboro/Winston-Salem/High Point, N.C. television market. She returned to Winston after spending time as the news director at WXII from March of 2000 until September of 2003.

Michelle left Winston with her family (Richard-husband, Jackson-son, Peyton-daughter) to run the newsroom at WBAL-TV in Baltimore, Maryland in September of 2003.  Michelle ran two newsrooms there; the first was the TV newsroom at WBAL-TV and then she added the WBAL-AM (news/talk/sports station) to her duties in 2012. When she left Baltimore, Michelle had nearly the same number of direct reports as she does now at WXII.

Richard continues to work for KCI, a full-service engineering firm he worked for in Baltimore. Peyton (or Peanut as the family still calls her) is a freshman and a new Pi Phi at Auburn in Alabama.

My family has a special relationship with Jackson. My mom was his speech therapist for three years at Jefferson Elementary. I also worked in his classroom for two years just after I graduated college. I spent a lot of time at their house with Peyton and Jackson in the early 2000’s. Even at a young age you could tell that Peyton was going to be an excellent little sister to her very special brother. Jackson is one of the few people in the world that it is impossible for anybody not to like.

This is how I remember Jackson and Peyton, when I worked with them in the early 2000’s.

Winston-Salem Questions:

Which Winston-Salem streets have you lived on?
We first lived on Fox Hall Drive, then we moved just up the street to Green Valley Road, which is right off of Robinhood. This time, we are living on Fox Lake Court in Greenbrier Farms.

What are some of the reasons that you were excited to come back to Winston-Salem for a second time?
It’s a wonderfully easy place to live and at this natural transition time in our lives, it was a good fit. We also love being back at Wake Forest so often;  even though Richard is the only alumnus, it holds a special place in all of our hearts. And finally, good, good folks and a burgeoning and tasty food scene.

What different Winston-Salem schools did Jackson go to?
Jackson attended Old Town Elementary for one semester of Pre-K. He attended Jefferson Elementary starting in kindergarten. He went to Beck’s Baptist Church for after-school and summer care and loved both. He just started at ABC of NC in February and is loving it.


Who were some of Jackson’s favorite teachers in Winston-Salem?
Your mom (Barbara Callahan) was his absolute favorite the first time around.  Barbara was very important to Jackson and remains very special to all of us.  Richard and I always thought a lot of Jefferson principal Nora Baker.  The principal sets tempo for a school and we loved Jefferson. I’m not sure if Jackson has a favorite at ABC yet, but so far, everyone has made him feel welcome.

What are your favorite restaurants in Winston? What about Jackson’s favorites?
We all love The Honey Pot and Mozelle’s, both on 4th for a night out. The bar at River Birch Lodge is a family fave when we want a quick, quality bite. And I can’t forget Little Richards! I love to take job candidates and corporate visitors to Mary’s Diner to show off our quirckiness!
Jackson has a thing for the Fried Chicken and gravy at Mama Zoe Michael’s.  It’s where we head after church on Sundays.

Are you more of a Hanes Mall or Thruway fan?

Thruway.  It has a little of everything.

If you were on a stranded island and could just have one breakfast for the rest of your life, which would you choose: Moravian Sugar Cake, Bojangles Biscuits, or Krispy Kreme Doughnuts?
While all three are heavenly, I’ve been a Krispy Kreme girl my whole life!  Nothing like a hot, glazed. Selling them helped pay for my summer cheerleading camps so KKD has a special place in my heart.

What are some of Jackson’s favorite places to go in Winston-Salem?
Jackson loves Old Salem; he enjoys a Saturday morning at the farmer’s market and a pastry from Camino and then walking around the village and college. And it doesn’t matter if it’s an on-campus game (like Field Hockey) or Grove Stadium or the Joel, Jackson loves Wake Forest athletics and time on campus.

 What is your favorite North Carolina Beach? Does Jackson have a favorite thing to do at the beach?
We are all partial to the Outer Banks; Kitty Hawk is our favorite beach.  It is the family’s “happy place”! Jackson is a big body surfer. He is in the water from the time we get to the beach in the morning until we leave at dinner time.


Where is your favorite place to visit in the mountains of North Carolina?
We’ve not spent as much time in the mountains as we should have; the beach is more of our place. However, Grandfather Mountain is one of my favorites; it was a family destination when I was a kid!

 Who is your favorite ACC Team?
Wake Forest Demon Deacons. Richard is a 1989 grad; I’m class of 1991 (the year we got married). We also pull for NC State, since Richard completed his Engineering degree there in 1996, when Jackson was a year old. I have a great picture of him in red overalls and white shirt at his dad’s graduation.

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