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N-CCS Receives Benjamin B. Tregoe Award for Strategic Leadership in Education


Photo Credit: Jamie Frye

HICKORY – Newton-Conover City Schools was recognized Monday with TregoED’s Benjamin B. Tregoe Award for Strategic Leadership in Education for excellence in collaborative decision-making.

The award comes after two big decisions the district made: upping the dropout age from 16 to 18 last year and hiring a new principal at Newton-Conover High School after the death of Kevin Campbell in May.

The award doesn’t recognize the outcomes of the decisions themselves, but rather, the way the district arrived at those outcomes. The processes were analytical, popular in business and military hiring practices, but less so among school districts, N-CCS superintendent David Stegall said.

“You create your questions around what your community values and what your students value before you even advertise the job and look at who the candidates are.DSC_0385

“You determine, before anybody applies, what you’re looking for,” Stegall said. “And it worked really well.”

The strategy helps prevent disagreement among decision-makers who might favor one candidate over another, but for different reasons. It offers an agreed upon metric for gauging the best course of action, helpful during a crisis, like Campbell’s death.

“Going through that transition, replacing a principal who was really a legend in our district and who had been there for eight years at the high school, that could’ve been a tough time for our district as far as the culture of our district and the culture of our school,” Stegall said.

But their use of the analytical model and allowing input from students helped smooth the decision-making process.

DSC_0391“The students were very involved, the parents were very involved, and we had 100 percent buy in on the decision because of it,” Stegall said.

TregoED executive director Kathryn Blackburn presented the award to the district in a Monday afternoon ceremony at the N-CCS administrative building.

“The Newton-Conover City School District has demonstrated their commitment to clear-sighted and courageous decision-making and problem-solving,” Blackburn said in a press release. “They understand the value of collaboration and believe in what people can accomplish when given the tools and opportunity.”

Stegall said the process also allows for transparency and inclusion among those whom the decisions will affect most.

“For our community and for our students and staff, it has really validated for them that there are no behind-the-scenes decisions being made,” he said. “We’re all in this together.”

Reposted with permission from Hickory Daily Record. 

About James Frye

James Frye (@mrjamesfrye) serves as Instructional Technology Facilitator and Public Information Officer for Newton-Conover City Schools. Formerly, he was an English and Journalism Teacher at Newton-Conover High School and a Blended/Virtual English Teacher. He is a NC Teaching Fellow and studied education abroad at the Hochschule Magdeburg-Stendal in Germany. James holds a Post-Masters Certificate in Educational Leadership & Cultural Foundations from The University of North Carolina at Greensboro, a M.A. in Curriculum & Instruction with a Graduate Certificate in Educational Technology from Michigan State University, and a B.A. in English/Education from Lenoir-Rhyne University, where he serves as an Adjunct Professor. He is currently pursuing his Ph.D. in Educational Leadership, Policy, and Law with The University of Kentucky. In addition to modeling technological and leadership innovation and leading various professional learning, Jamie also serves statewide on the NC Digital Learning Initiative Advisory Board/Home Base Design Team, the NC Association of Supervision and Curriculum Development’s Board of Directors, the #NCed Leadership Team, and is co-founder of Edcamp WNC. He is a member of the NC Digital Leadership Coaches’ Network, and was named an international Emerging Leader by ASCD in 2015. He resides in Hickory with his wife and their baby girl.

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