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 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.
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.