A high level of engagement by the Lenoir County Board of Education in a long list of successful improvement efforts for public schools in Lenoir County has earned the board a singular honor from the North Carolina School Boards Association.
The School Board Leadership Award is presented annually to one school board in the state that has exhibited “extraordinary leadership during the previous school year.” The Lenoir County Board of Education was presented the award – also known as School Board of the Year – during the NCSBA’s fall conference in Greensboro earlier this month.
“We truly do have an outstanding board of education,” LCPS Superintendent Brent Williams said. “All of our board members are dedicated fully to the mission of making educational excellence a reality for every student and staff member. I am very pleased that the NCSBA selected the Lenoir County Board of Education for the statewide School Board Leadership Award for 2017 in recognition of our board’s leadership in making such strong and comprehensive school system improvement gains a reality.”
The award credited the school board for its strong leadership in several areas of academic improvement and innovation that marked the past year as one of progress for the district. Among the achievements were:
- Dramatic improvements in student proficiency as determined by state standardized tests, demonstrated by improved letter-grade designations for schools and the number of schools where students met or exceeded academic growth standards, including all nine elementary schools.
- A 43 percent reduction in the dropout rate over two years and a four-year graduation rate that was the highest in the district’s history.
- Continued investment in the district’s digital learning initiative and a strong partnership with the Lenoir County Board of Commissioners, marked by the renewal of a multi-million-dollar lease-purchase agreement with Apple that puts iPads and other digital devices in the hands of all K-12 students and teachers.
- A record number of grants awarded to the district – $3.1 million in funding in 2016-2017 – and a record number of grants awarded to individual LCPS teachers in regional and state competitions.
- Development of the Career Pathways initiative that provides students at all LCPS high schools the opportunity to earn college credits and a two-year college degree while still in high school, a program that illustrates the strong partnership the board and district administrators have forged with Lenoir Community College.
“I am honored that the Lenoir County Board of Education was recognized by the North Carolina School Boards Association with the 2017 School Board Leadership Award,” board chair Jon Sargeant said. “This award is recognition of the dramatic improvements that Lenoir School Public Schools has seen over the last 12 months. While it is directed toward the board’s leadership in the last 12 months, our improvements have been a team effort with much of the credit going to our new central office leadership team led by our superintendent, Brent Williams.
“His leadership team has worked countless hours to help the board focus on improving teaching, classroom instruction and professional development. Further credit goes to our principals, teachers and staff for supporting this new vision of instruction in our county and putting in the time and effort required to make this plan successful.”
For his part, Williams cited the dedication board members brought to their roles as elected leaders of the school district. “I want to thank our board members for their hard work and visionary leadership in service to our school system and to our overall community,” he said.
In addition to monthly public meetings, board members are engaged in regular committee work and in the past year have revived the long-dormant practice of convening work sessions, also open to the public, and participating in planning retreats with the district’s senior staff.
“In the future,” Sargeant said, “we plan to continue and expand upon this new vision for our schools to continue to provide our students with the outstanding educational experience that they deserve.”