Edgecombe schools implement changes


Staff Writer

Friday, December 28, 2018

Edgecombe County Public Schools Superintendent Valerie Bridges said she is extremely proud of what the school district accomplished in 2018.

“We have the right people in the right places to continue our success. Our focus is always on what is best for our children. We are trying new things, such as the Micro School of Innovation at North Edgecombe,” she said. “Our Opportunity Culture initiative has expanded into the Tarboro area schools this year, with plans to expand to our schools in the west and south areas of our county next year. We've seen great results from our Opportunity Culture work. We have also continued our global focus at Martin Millennium Academy and G.W. Bulluck Elementary School.”

Among the changes to the school district this year, Abbey Futrell began serving as the assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction on Aug. 1 after winning approval from the Edgecombe County Board of Education. Futrell replaced Stacy Stewart, who was hired for the job in November 2017 and served for roughly five months before taking the position of assistant superintendent for school transformation at Durham Public Schools.

Elections for the Edgecombe County Board of Education were held in May. Four board members ran unopposed for re-election, including Chairwoman Evelyn Shaw Wilson, who represents District 1; Vice Chairwoman Ann Kent, who represents District 5; Marva Scott, who represents District 7; and Evelyn Johnson; who represents District 3.

In November, Olga Dickens resigned her post on the board representing District 2 because of long-term health issues that had prevented her from attending board meetings. In December, the school board selected Lillie Worsley to fill that post.

The school district held its first EDGE Awards Ceremony in June to celebrate and recognize outstanding staff members. The event was held in Keihin Auditorium on the campus of Edgecombe Community College in Tarboro. Among others honored, Lee Harrison was named Edgecombe County Teacher of the Year. Harrison, a graduate of SouthWest Edgecombe High School, teaches math at the Edgecombe Early College High School.

Later in the year, Matt Smith, principal of the Edgecombe Early College High School, was named Principal of the Year.

“I am most proud of our teamwork and collaboration across the district,” Bridges said. “As a school system, we celebrate each other.”

Edgecombe County Public Schools also launched a new “micro-school” in August. The new North-Phillips Micro School of Innovation is composed of 30 eighth- and ninth-grade students who are piloting a new school model this year housed at North Edgecombe High School. The new “micro school” will implement and test the new school model of Phillips Middle School and North Edgecombe High School, which was designed during the school district’s recent participation in the Transcend+New Schools Collaborative.

The school district announced in November that it received a $162,989 Distance Learning and Telemedicine Grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The money will be used to provide new distance learning labs at each of the four high schools in the district.

Bridges said she is looking for more changes to the district in the future.

“Our first cohort of Scholar Teachers at Edgecombe Early College High School will graduate in the spring and move on to attend a four-year university. We will continue to support and develop their leadership skills and look forward to those students returning to Edgecombe County to educate our children,” Bridges said. “As I look forward to 2019, I am excited about our new vision — that all our scholars will graduate prepared to design their own futures, navigate change and make the world a better place.”