The North Carolina School Boards Association (NCSBA) Board of Directors has named its office the Dr. Edwin Dunlap Jr. Building in honor of its long-time executive director. Dunlap, who has served in the position since 1994, announced his retirement in March effective January 2021.
Portrait of Ed Dunlap unveiled during the 2020 Annual Conference.
“Given all of Dr. Dunlap’s significant achievements, the board of directors believed that a parting plaque on the wall would not fully express our gratitude for his vision and leadership of this outstanding, thriving association,” said NCSBA Immediate Past President Brenda Stephens during a presentation at the virtual NCSBA Annual Conference on November 6. Stephens also announced that the board granted Dunlap the honorary title of executive director emeritus at its March meeting.
When Dunlap joined the association in 1979 at the age of 29, he was the third employee. NCSBA now has a team of more than 30 staff members who work out of the newly dedicated 45,000-square-foot office building, which was built in 2000 on Falls of Neuse Road in Raleigh. With the help of Dunlap’s visionary leadership, the North Carolina School Boards Trust was established in 1982 and has since become one of the most successful risk management programs in the National School Boards Association (NSBA) federation. NCSBA formed the North Carolina Academy of School Boardsmanship in 1985 to help train and develop school board members. The North Carolina School Boards Action Center was created in 2013 to enhance the association’s advocacy efforts. Dunlap has also overseen the growth of NCSBA’s various policy and superintendent search services.
Artists rendition of landmark signage.
“I’ve had an absolutely wonderful career here. I don’t know anything that I had rather have done,” said Dunlap, who is the longest serving executive director in the NSBA federation. Leanne Winner, the association’s director of governmental relations since 1998, will move into the executive director position upon Dunlap’s retirement.
Ramona PowersNCSBA Building Named for Long-Time Executive Director
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.”
Ramona PowersLeanne E. Winner Selected as Executive Director for the North Carolina School Boards Association
Across our nation, school communities are facing the most unprecedented time in the 21st Century. There are no district policies or even state statutes that can provide all the answers that are being asked. While there are numerous factors that currently lie beyond our control, there is one element boards can control, and that is how they lead.
Our key work has always been student achievement and community engagement that supports student achievement. This focus is more important than ever before as we work with our families who are feeling anxious, scared, and unsure of what to do. During these times of such uncertainty, our communities need and deserve a high-functioning, high-performing school board team that is operating with a laser-sharp focus on the needs of all learners.
Get back to the basics
Trust one another — This isn’t a time to doubt the decisions of your fellow board members, your superintendent, or staff. You hire good people, and you don’t take on the position of school board member for fun (or the money!), but for the students and your community.
Put away the baggage — We all have times of disagreement. Let’s set it aside and work towards what’s best for all. You don’t have to hold hands and sing songs around the campfire, but decide what is most important right now and focus.
Communicate, communicate, communicate — Keep one another informed and, along with your superintendent, move forward with a consistent message. These times are confusing and uncertain for everyone. Clarity builds trust with your team, staff, and community.
Now is the time for all school board members to work with their superintendents in the most collaborative, supportive, and positive way possible. Let’s be intentional with our work and do the very best for our children.
Last month, NCSBA gave its 2019 Award for Excellence in Educational Programs to the Cabarrus County Schools (CCS) Board of Education. The district’s forward-thinking approach to student safety and well-being was celebrated during the Association’s annual awards ceremony.
With the help of a $4 million grant, CCS has spent the last five years developing a multi-tiered system of support that includes a focus on the social-emotional and physical safety needs of students. In 2016 the school system adopted the National Association of School Psychologists’ PREPaRE curriculum, which consists of evidence-based resources and consultation related to school crisis prevention, intervention, response, and recovery. This led to a districtwide shift in its approach to student safety.
CCS restructured its service framework and invested in training and development for its mental health professionals on PREPaRE, Mental Health First Aid, QPR Suicide Prevention training, Resources for Resilience, and Trauma Toolkit, to name a few. The result is a highly skilled and collaborative multi-disciplinary mental health team at every school, comprised of counselors, social workers, psychologists, nurses, and resource officers. These teams assist administrators with conducting threat assessments for students; performing universal screening, providing direct and indirect interventions and progress monitoring to support identified areas of need; and providing training to staff, students, and the community on prevention and intervention around mental health needs.
In addition, the board added a director of student safety and well-being to its leadership team who is responsible for collaborating across departments to ensure the success of this work. CCS board members participate in safety audits, are trained in the PREPaRE curriculum, participate on the CCS Safety Committee, and continuously advocate for the safety of students. The governance team has always emphasized safety as a top priority. When the community and students feel safe in their learning environment, students are able to focus on their studies and excel.
The CCS Safety Committee developed a back-to-school safety video titled, See You Tomorrow, as a helpful tool to spread their message of and interest in creating a positive educational environment for each student.
Monte Herring of the Columbus County Board of Education is the 2019 recipient of the Raleigh Dingman Award for Outstanding Boardsmanship. To receive this esteemed award, which is given annually by the North Carolina School Boards Association (NCSBA), a board member must be peer-nominated by their local school board.
“The winner of this year’s Raleigh Dingman Award has been instrumental in strengthening accountability measures in his school system, which have resulted in high student achievement despite being a low-wealth district and having been devastated by two hurricanes in the last three years,” said NCSBA Executive Director Ed Dunlap during the announcement. Herring promotes professional learning communities, leading to more open, honest communication among stakeholders, and he challenges all instructional leaders to continuously strive toward innovation. His support has been crucial in securing funds for two new schools, as well as a one-to-one Chromebook initiative for middle school students, and he is dedicated to helping students along their journeys to becoming leaders in a global society.
The Raleigh Dingman Award is the highest honor bestowed on a North Carolina school board member. The award is named in honor of Dr. Raleigh Dingman, the Association’s first full-time executive director, and was first presented at the 1981 annual conference. In 2002 legislation was passed by the North Carolina General Assembly 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. Scott will serve in this capacity.
Dr. Anthony D. Jackson, Superintendent of Vance County Schools, was named the 2020 A. Craig Phillips North Carolina Superintendent of the Year at an awards presentation and reception held Tuesday, Nov. 19 at the Joseph S. Koury Convention Center in Greensboro. The award was given jointly by the North Carolina Association of School Administrators (NCASA), the North Carolina School Superintendents’ Association (NCSSA) and the North Carolina School Boards Association (NCSBA).
Scholastic sponsored the event and provided $5,000 in recognition of Dr. Jackson’s achievements. He was nominated for the state honor after being named the 2020 North Carolina Regional Superintendent of the Year by the Central Carolina Regional Education Service Alliance.
Dr. Jackson has worked in education for more than 30 years and has served as Superintendent of Vance County Schools (VCS) since 2015. Under his leadership, the district is implementing the Welnspire Digital Transformation initiative, funded by a $200,000 Golden Leaf Grant and the Vance County Board of Commissioners. Several innovative instructional programs have been developed including the Youth Empowerment Academy for at-risk middle school students, the AdVance Academy that provides both credit recovery and credit acceleration opportunities for high school students, and the Vance Evening Academy for at-risk high school students that serves as an alternative to long-term suspension. The graduation rate has increased dramatically, and the dropout rate has fallen to 2.02% from a five-year high of 5.25%. Student achievement has significantly improved, and the district is no longer designated as low-performing.
Dorothy “Dot” Guthrie of the Gaston County Board of Education is the 2019 recipient of the School Board Member Leadership Award. To receive this esteemed award, which is given by the North Carolina School Boards Association (NCSBA), a board member must be peer-nominated by their local school board.
“This year’s School Board Member Leadership Award goes to a board member whose leadership has helped strengthen accountability measures, increase the graduation rate, and enrich the district’s technology curriculum,” said NCSBA Board of Directors member Ed Dennison from Moore County. “She has been on her local board for eight years, has served on the NCSBA Board of Directors. She committed a lot time to deliver supplies to support Hurricane Florence victims in her community.”
The School Board Member Leadership Award honors a school board member for exemplary leadership during the previous school year.
Ramona Powers2019 School Board Member Leadership Award
The Edenton-Chowan Board of Education is the 2019 recipient of the School Board Leadership Award. This award honors a school board for extraordinary leadership during the 2018-2019 fiscal year. To receive this esteemed award, which is given by the North Carolina School Boards Association (NCSBA), a board must demonstrate excellent governance skills through commitment to the role of the school board.
The board was recognized during the awards ceremony of the Association’s Annual Conference for Board Member Development in Greensboro on November 19. During comments to ceremony attendees, presenters remarked that the board is known in the community for its servant leadership. Their achievement of Master Board status shows their commitment to professional growth for the betterment of students. Under their leadership, the high-poverty district saw historic student achievement last school year, including increased proficiency, zero low-performing schools, and a 91.6 percent graduation rate.
In addition, NCSBA proudly recognized the Edenton-Chowan Board of Education as a Level I Master Board. “Master Board is a knowledge- and skills-based training program that provides school boards with the opportunity to develop governance skills as a full board,” according to Ed Dunlap, executive director of NCSBA. What makes Master Board unique from the Association’s other training programs is that all board members and the superintendent commit to the training. School boards can earn two different levels of Master Board status – Master Board Level I requires 20 hours of training and Master Board Level II requires 40 hours of training. Some course topics include Understanding School Boards in a Democracy, Solving Problems and Making Decisions, and Analyzing Ethical Challenges.
The members of the Edenton-Chowan Board of Education are: Board Chair Gene Jordan, Vice Chair Jean Bunch, Debra Brodie, Ricky Browder, Gil Burroughs, Paul Clifton, Maxine Mason, and Joan White. The superintendent is Dr. Rob Jackson, and the Master Board trainer for Edenton-Chowan is Ralph Warren.
The North Carolina School Boards Association (NCSBA) presented its prestigious County Commissioners of the Year Award to the Franklin Board of County Commissioners.
The board was recognized during the awards ceremony of the Association’s 2019 Annual Conference for Board Member Development in Greensboro on November 19. The Franklin County Board of Education nominated their commissioners for the award and described them as a board that always makes public education a priority. In addition to volunteering in classrooms and attending school events, these county commissioners further demonstrated their commitment to education this year by fully funding the school board’s budget request, which reflected a $3.4 million increase and provided a pay raise for more than 400 classified employees.
The County Commissioners of the Year Award is given to a board of county commissioners that is nominated by the local board of education in recognition of their extraordinary efforts.
Ramona Powers2019 County Commissioners of the Year
The North Carolina School Boards Association (NCSBA) announced the winners of three statewide student contests held in conjunction with the NCSBA Annual Conference for Board Member Development: an elementary school poster contest, middle school video contest, and high school video contest. Students were asked to create posters and 45- to 60-second videos around the theme, What’s Super about Public Schools? The conference was held in Greensboro November 18-20.
The high school video contest teams placing first, second, and third attended the awards ceremony held in November 19 at the Koury Convention Center in Greensboro. Cash prizes were sponsored by LS3P and Fairbanks.
First Place and $3,000 – Vance County High School, Vance County
Second Place and $2,000 – Caldwell Early College High School, Caldwell County
Third Place and $1,000 – James Kenan High School, Duplin County
In addition, judges identified 10 additional videos to receive honorable mention. All finalist and honorable mention videos are available for viewing here.