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Cumberland County school board approves new principal, 5 district-level appointments

Lawrence Smalls named principal at Ramsey Street High School


On the recommendation of Cumberland County Schools Superintendent Marvin Connelly Jr., the Board of Education approved five district-level appointments and one principal appointment at a meeting Wednesday morning.

The special meeting was held largely in closed session and focused on the personnel changes.

Lawrence Smalls was approved as principal of Ramsey Street High School. After joining the system as an administrative intern in 2011, Smalls was an assistant principal and athletic director at both E.E. Smith High School and, most recently, Pine Forest High School.

In 2007, Smalls earned his master’s degree in teaching and a special education general curriculum license from Fayetteville State. Smalls earned a principal certification from Sandhills Regional Education Consortium in 2012 and completed the local school district’s Aspiring Principals Program in 2016.

The new district-level appointments follow the naming of four new associate superintendents and two other district administrators in June. Five former associate superintendents retired over the summer.

New associate superintendents named for Cumberland County Schools

The appointments approved Wednesday include:

  • Christine Catalano, assistant superintendent for K-12 curriculum and instruction. Catalano is new to the district and most recently worked for Durham Public Schools as executive director of K-12 curriculum and instruction, CCS said in a news release. She began her career as an exceptional children and regular education teacher in Halifax County. She held multiple jobs as she advanced to leadership roles with Nash-Rocky Mount Public Schools. After obtaining her master’s degree in education administration from East Carolina University, Catalano earned a doctorate in education leadership in 2018 from ECU.
  • Donell Underdue, assistant superintendent for district transformation and strategic initiatives. He joined CCS in 2018 and most recently was principal of E.E. Smith High School. Underdue began his career in education as a teacher in 1993 after serving in the Marine Corps Reserve. He has certifications and licenses in Florida, Illinois, Georgia and North Carolina. Underdue obtained his master’s degree in school administration from ECU in 1998.
  • Christopher Young, executive director of technology. Young's career with the school system started in 2002. While working as a network systems administrator, he obtained his bachelor’s degree in business education with a focus on information technology from ECU in 2012. The release said Young is a member of several professional organizations and technology committees, including the N.C. K-12 Cybersecurity Advisory Council.
  • John A. McMillan, director of exceptional children's services. McMillan joined the district in 1998 as a teacher's assistant and bus driver at Howard Hall Elementary School. He has been in numerous jobs, including special education teacher, assistant principal, athletic director and principal. Most recently, McMillan was the district’s exceptional children's programs coordinator. After earning a master's degree in school administration from Fayetteville State University in 2009, he earned his education specialist degree from Wingate University in 2015.
  • Ann-Marie Palmer, Title I coordinator. Palmer joined the school district in 1995 and most recently was principal of Massey Hill Classical High School. She obtained her master’s degree in school administration from Fayetteville State in 2004. In addition to arts education, Palmer has served the district as an exceptional children’s resource teacher and case manager. She has been a school administrator in multiple CCS elementary and high schools since 2002.
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