Dr. David Stegall announces departure from N-CCS N-CCS Superintendent will plant schools in underprivileged communities internationally

Staff Writer

NEWTON- Following an eleven-year tenure, Dr. David Stegall has announced his departure from Newton-Conover City Schools effective August 17, 2018.

Stegall shared his letter of resignation with the School Board on Monday evening, detailing his family’s careful thought prior to making this decision.

“Trust me, my family and I have prayed continuously over the last 4 1/2 months. I’m doing this for the same reason I came to Newton-Conover from a district that I had been in for 10 years and was very happy serving: God has made it clear where he needs and wants me to be. I had previously never heard of the company I’ll be joining nor ever considered leaving North Carolina, but God has different plans.”

Stegall will be transitioning to a role of Vice President for Global Education Management Systems (GEMS) in the MENASA (Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia) region of the world. GEMS is an independent education provider that focuses on areas of the world where there are not universal public school systems for all students. Additionally, through their philanthropic arm, hundreds of thousands of underprivileged students across several continents are receiving free education for the first time.

School Board Chair Mark Pennell reflected on the inspiration that he has drawn from Stegall.

“I think it’s a wonderful opportunity for David, it’s just another step for him in his growth and in life. He’s a great man. I’m sad personally because one of the reasons I decided to run was because of his leadership, I’ve learned a lot from David. I’m still in shock. He’s a wonderful person,” Pennell said.

Stegall has spent the past eleven years serving the Newton-Conover community, beginning as the Director of Curriculum, AIG and ESL in 2007.

“I came on an act of faith after prayerfully seeking counsel from God. It was the best decision I could have made in my career. I found my ‘home,’” Stegall said.

Following Stegall’s tenure as Director, he was selected to move into the Associate Superintendent of Curriculum role. In this role, he led 100% of schools to an overall performance composite increase, meeting 109 out of 110 Adequate Yearly Progress goals in 2009-10.

In 2013, Stegall was selected to lead the district from a large pool of candidates as the Superintendent, a role that he has held since July of 2013. As Superintendent, Stegall was named the Northwest North Carolina Superintendent of the Year in 2017, an NSPRA Superintendent to Watch in 2016, and an ASCD National Outstanding Young Educator of the Year National Exemplar Candidate in 2013. N-CCS was also awarded the District Administration National District of Distinction recognition in 2016, the Benjamin B. Tregoe Award for Strategic Leadership in Education in 2015, and the NC Governor’s Award for Innovative Partnerships in 2016.

“Dr. Stegall has been a true leader and visionary for Newton-Conover City Schools. He has propelled the district further than it’s ever been, he’s grown it, he’s made it a destination for teachers and students alike. His leadership, his vision is definitely going to be missed,” Robbie Gonzales, Board Member, said.

In just five years, Stegall’s leadership has guided the school district to many successes.

For the first time in district history in 2016-17, all schools in N-CCS either met or exceeded expected academic growth. Additionally, no schools in N-CCS received a NC School Performance Grade below a C, one of just six districts statewide to achieve this designation.

Additionally, N-CCS is one of the only three districts in the state with graduation rates of greater than 95%, and is the largest district in the top three. Notably, for each year of Stegall’s tenure, N-CCS has been ranked in the state’s top five since the 2013-14 academic year, breaking the record for highest graduation rate in state history in 2015 at 97.1%.

During Stegall’s tenure, magnet programs were also established at each site, from STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) at Newton-Conover Middle School, to Leader in Me at South Newton Elementary School.

Board Member Tim Hayes shared the bittersweet nature of Stegall’s resignation.

“There’s very little jocularity in this moment, but I wish him the best. He’s done a tremendous job for the district and for the students, which has always been his first priority, and I’m very proud of the work that he has accomplished here,” Hayes said.

With Stegall’s departure, N-CCS is poised to continue graduating more students than nearly any other district in North Carolina, who are also graduating prepared, according to their academic proficiency and growth indicators. Teachers and staff are performing better than they have ever performed in district history, and teacher recruitment and retention rates are some of the best in the state.

“It’s been a true blessing to serve this community, and I plan to continue to have my permanent residence here. As my son transitions to college this fall, my daughter plans to continue her wonderful high school education at Discovery High School for the time being. It says a lot for a school district that my family and I are willing to experience time apart in the short term so that our child can receive the quality educational opportunities that this district provides her. We understand that these formative years will impact the rest of her life,” Stegall said.

More than anything, Stegall’s heart is and will always remain in Newton-Conover.

“I’m sure that many of you may be having a first reaction of, ‘Why in the world are you going there? It’s so far away!’ As scared as I am, I know I’m not alone. If I fail, I know I’ll be failing while being faithful. Your prayers and support have always been coveted and will be appreciated going forward as well,” Stegall said.

Jeanne Jarrett, long-time N-CCS Board Member and former Board Chair, shared her excitement for the greatness that lies ahead for Stegall, despite her sadness over his departure.

“We wish him the best, we’re going to miss him. He’s done an awful lot for the district. We’re going to hate to see him leave, but it is a great opportunity for him. We’re very supportive of this good opportunity for him, but it will definitely be a void in the system,” Jarrett said.