Brenda Stephens of the Orange County Board of Education is the 2020 recipient of the Raleigh Dingman Award for Outstanding Boardsmanship. Given by the North Carolina School Boards Association (NCSBA), this is the highest honor bestowed on a North Carolina school board member.
The Raleigh Dingman Award is named in honor of Dr. Raleigh Dingman, NCSBA’s first full-time executive director, and was first presented at the association’s 1981 annual conference.
“This year’s Raleigh Dingman winner has the characteristics that Dr. Dingman respected immensely — and that’s fortitude, dedication, willingness to do hard work and to be someone that you can count on to conduct the business at hand,” said NCSBA Executive Director Dr. Ed Dunlap during the awards ceremony at the virtual NCSBA Annual Conference for Board Member Development on November 6. Stephens, who is NCSBA’s immediate past president, has been on the Orange County board since 1998 and is the current vice chair. In addition to navigating the COVID-19 pandemic with her local board during 2020, she also led the NCSBA Board of Directors through the search for a new executive director after Dunlap announced his retirement from the association in March. “She has been extremely helpful. She has been extremely dedicated, and she has done a terrific job,” said Dunlap.
In 2002 the North Carolina General Assembly passed legislation that provides for the Raleigh Dingman Award winner to serve as an ex officio advisor to the state board of education and to attend meetings and participate in deliberations of the state board. Stephens will serve in this capacity.