The Board of Directors of the NC School Boards Association (NCSBA) has selected Leanne E. Winner as the next Executive Director, effective January 5, 2021. Ms. Winner will be the organization’s fourth Executive Director and the first woman to hold the position. She succeeds Dr. Edwin (Ed) Dunlap, Jr., who will be retiring after 41 years of service to NCSBA, including 27 years as Executive Director.
A search committee carried out a nationwide search over 7 months using the law firm of Tharrington Smith, LLC, to find the most capable candidate to carry forward the organization’s work on behalf of school boards across the state.
“On behalf of the Board of Directors, I congratulate Ms. Winner on her selection after an exhaustive and rigorous search process,” said President Brenda Stephens. “We considered many qualified candidates and deliberated carefully. Out of a national pool of over 200 candidates, we found the best qualified candidate close to home. We look forward to working with Leanne in her new role.”
“I am honored and humbled to be entrusted by the Board of Directors to carry forward the crucial work of the Association,“ Winner said. “I look forward to working with all who support public education to improve education for all students across our state. There is nothing more important to improving economic opportunities and having a well-functioning society than an educated citizenry.”
Ms. Winner has worked for NCSBA as its Director of Governmental Relations since 1998. Throughout her tenure at NCSBA, she has advocated effectively on behalf of school boards at the General Assembly and throughout state government agencies. Prior to that she worked for the law firm of Everett, Gaskins, Hancock and Stevens as a lobbyist, and in Governor Hunt’s Policy Office as the Assistant Director for the Strategic Economic Development Plan. A native of Asheville, NC, she received her B.A. from The Colorado College and her M.A. in Economics from the University of Iowa.
Outgoing Executive Director Ed Dunlap had nothing but praise for his successor. “Leanne will do a terrific job,” he said. “She has the vision and skills necessary to lead NCSBA effectively. I know I am leaving the organization in good hands.”