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Cumberland’s Connelly named N.C. Superintendent of the year


Cumberland County Schools’ Marvin Connelly Jr.'s selection as the 2024 A. Craig Phillips North Carolina Superintendent of the Year on Monday came in recognition of his transformative leadership of the state's fifth-largest school district.

The award was presented by the North Carolina Association of School Administrators (NCASA), in collaboration with the North Carolina School Superintendents’ Association (NCSSA) and the North Carolina School Boards Association (NCSBA). 

Connelly, who’s been superintendent of CCS since 2018, was selected to represent the Sandhills region of the state as one of eight nominees for the award. He will represent N.C. at the American Association of School Administrators’ National Conference on Education in February as a candidate for the 2024 National Superintendent of the Year Award. 

“I am deeply honored and humbled by this recognition, which is a testament to the unwavering dedication of the entire Cumberland County Schools family,” Connelly said upon receiving the award

Prior to coming to Cumberland County, Connelly was the chief of staff and strategic planner for the Wake County Public School System. His education career spans over 30 years. 

Connelly’s award marks the first ”Superintendent of the Year” title to be given to Cumberland County since the awards first began in 1988.

“As long as I am superintendent of the year, I promise to champion our cause of equitable education for brown and Black children that look like me,” Connelly said. 

Since becoming superintendent, Connelly has implemented new programs for CCS like the PASE (Performance, Accountability, Support, and Empowerment), which categorizes schools based on performance and provides targeted support and intervention to schools that need it.

“I am committed to being a voice for children who are less fortunate,” he said. 

Under his leadership, he also guided CCS through the Covid-19 pandemic and is working to bring scores and learning goals back to pre-pandemic levels. During the first year of the pandemic, overall district proficiency decreased by 17.9%. The current rate of proficiency for 2022-23 school year is 5.4% below the pre-pandemic level of 54.7%.  

CCS’s graduation rate, at 86.6%, is at its highest rate ever. Overall district learning proficiency measures increased by 2% within the district over the last year as well, according to the N.C. Dept. of Public Instruction. He's also worked to implement the "Cumberland Commitment: Strategic Plan."

“I accept this award this afternoon on behalf of all the teachers, the administrators and staff members who worked together to shape public education,” Connelly said. “Thank you for your unwavering belief in the transformative power of public education.” 

For more information on Cumberland County Schools and the award, visit their website

Contact Char Morrison at cmorrison@cityviewnc.com.

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