Gaston County Schools Superintendent Wins Prestigious Award
Gaston County Schools Superintendent Jeffrey Booker has been named Southwest Region Superintendent of the Year.
Bookers leadership this year has earned him the prestigious award for the second time since 2016-2017.
In addition to Gaston County, the Southwest Region includes Anson, Cabarrus, Cleveland, Iredell, Lincoln, Mecklenburg, Rowan, Stanly and Union counties.
“Since becoming our superintendent of schools in January 2014, Dr. Booker has demonstrated excellent leadership and exemplary vision for Gaston County Schools,” said school board Chairman Jeff Ramsey.
In the fall, Booker will compete against seven other regional winners for the A. Craig Phillips North Carolina Superintendent of the Year title, sponsored by the N.C. School Superintendents Association, N.C. Association of School Administrators and the N.C. School Boards Association.
The current State Superintendent of the Year is Valerie Bridges of Edgecombe County Public Schools.
However, this isn't the first time Gaston County is recognized at the regional and state level for outstanding leadership.
In 2003, Gaston County's former Superintendent Edward D. Sadler Jr., was chosen as the N.C. Superintendent of the Year.
Throughout the year, Booker and Gaston County school board members were faced with many challenges and modifications, as they were coming back from online learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"I think everyone will reflect on the COVID as being a challenge," said Booker.
"But I think beyond that was the challenge of trying to meet the many different needs that have been created by the pandemic, because we have members of our teaching faculty who have had personal loss, but they still have been there supporting students and being the rock for students," he added.
Aside from constantly adjusting to new COVID regulations, Booker and the board have been responsible for providing more technology for students and teachers, supporting employees through professional development opportunities like the Superintendent’s Leadership Academy and expanding school choice options as well as Career and Technical Education programs.
Booker and the board have also increased communication, partnerships for the growth of teach, all while managing various school construction and renovation projects as a result of the 2018 school bonds.
"We just announced and had over 100 teaching assistants apply for teaching slots where they can convert themselves from a two-year degree to a four-year degree. And so there's 40 people that are going to get to do that," said Booker.
Though this award has been given to Booker, he says the accomplishment itself, has been a team effort and a reflection of the districts hard work.
"When you think about programs, it takes directors to lead it and then the administrators implementing it. And then ultimately it's the teachers who deliver and our students perform," said Booker.
Beatriz Guerrero can be reached at 704-869-1828 or on Twitter@BeatrizGue_.