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LCPS awarded international District of Distinction honor

Cognia, the international school improvement organization, has named Lenoir County Public Schools a District of Distinction, a designation of excellence granted to only 20 school districts worldwide for 2021 and an honor associated with LCPS’s strong performance in last spring’s accreditation review.

A woman holds a plaque while posing between two men outside a brick building.Lenoir County Public Schools is part of Cognia’s inaugural program that recognizes pre-K-12 education institutions that exemplify excellence in education and service to learners. Cognia selected LCPS as one of the 59 schools and 20 systems out of more than 1,200 institutions that were eligible in 2021.

“I believe this recognition is another indication of the positive things happening in the Lenoir County Public Schools system and is more evidence that we are providing a quality education for our students so they can be successful,” Bruce Hill, chair of the Lenoir County Board of Education, said when the honor was announced at the school board meeting last week.

LCPS earned renewal of its five-year accreditation in 2021 after an intense review by Cognia in which the district and its 17 schools submitted reams of documentation related to policies and practices and Cognia’s education experts spent three days interviewing more than 200 of the district’s stakeholders, from community partners to school board members to teachers, students and parents.

The evaluation covered leadership capacity, learning capacity and resource capacity, as well as a demonstrated commitment to continuous improvement.

Of the 31 standards encompassed in those three areas, LCPS rated the top score of “impacting” on 27. On the other four, it scored “improving,” the next highest rating. Numerically, those results translated into a score of 367. A perfect score is 400. The range of scores for all the school districts evaluated for accreditation by Cognia in the past five years is 278 to 283. 

“Lenoir County Public Schools is to be commended on their award as a District of Distinction,” said Dr. Mark A. Elgart, president and CEO of Cognia. “Cognia Accreditation is already a mark of distinction recognized around the world. Being named a District of Distinction further recognizes the commitment to excellence in education Lenoir County Public Schools has for its learners.”

Cognia offers accreditation and certification, assessment and professional services to some 36,000 public and private institutions from early learning through high school in more than 85 countries. A list of the schools and school districts singled out for distinction by Cognia can be found at

“This is yet another outstanding recognition for this school system – not only for the system but for its teachers, its principals, its students, its parents and all our community stakeholders,” Associate Superintendent Frances Herring said in announcing the award. Herring coordinated the district’s preparation for the accreditation renewal.

Photo caption:

Displaying the Cognia District of Distinction plaque are, from left, Superintendent Brent Williams, Associate Superintendent Frances Herring and Assistant Superintendent Nicholas Harvey II. LCPS’s strong performance in the 2021 accreditation renewal process earned it prize that went to only 20 school district’s worldwide.