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Three ed leaders who made a difference during the pandemic

The North Carolina Association of School Administrators recently presented leadership awards to three educators: Dr. David Stegall, Deputy State Superintendent for Innovation at the NC Department of Public Instruction; Dr. Beverly Emory, Executive Director for Leandro Implementation at the NC State Board of Education; and the State Superintendent’s Special Advisor for Administrator Engagement (former principal of West Craven High School), Tabari Wallace.

2021 Champion for Children Award

Stegall and Emory were co-awarded the 2021 Champion for Children Award during the NC Association of School Administrators’ (NCASA) 2021 Virtual Conference on Educational Leadership. The award, an honor given annually by NCASA to those demonstrating leadership in supporting and enhancing public education, was awarded this year to a dynamic duo whose guidance has been critical in helping North Carolina public schools overcome the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Stegall and Emory’s collaboration and partnership has not only guided NCDPI in providing key support throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, but has also become a beacon of hope and reassurance for education leaders across the state, strengthened by their unique understanding of the issues and concerns facing them. Their efforts to ensure timely and effective communications to help inform local district decisions regarding school closure, re-entry, testing and accountability, remote instruction, and a myriad of other challenges during this pandemic have been exemplary.

Stegall joined NCDPI in June 2019 and has since been named by NC Governor Roy Cooper as co-chair of the statewide COVID-19 Education and Nutrition Response Work Group. In June 2020, Stegall co-led the development of the statewide school re-opening guidebook and support documents for K-12 public schools. Prior to working at NCDPI, Stegall served as the Superintendent for Newton-Conover Schools, where 100 percent of schools met or exceeded growth in his final two years.

Emory joined NCDPI in May 2019 as the Deputy State Superintendent for District and Regional Support after 25 years of service as a superintendent, most recently in Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools. In her new role as Executive Director of Leandro Support, Emory has continued to support districts alongside the State Superintendent and NC DPI leadership team, with a focus on providing equitable learning opportunities across the state.

2021 Raymond Sarbaugh Leadership Award

Tabari Wallace, former North Carolina Principal of the Year, has been awarded the North Carolina Association of School Administrators (NCASA) 2021 Raymond Sarbaugh Leadership Award. While Wallace was recently selected to serve as the State Superintendent’s Special Advisor for Administrator Engagement, his exceptional leadership throughout the COVID-19 pandemic as principal of West Craven High School earned him both local and national acclaim.

Going the extra mile for these students and others has become a hallmark of Wallace’s leadership that continues to earn him respect from school leaders across the state.


EdNC staff reporting relies on staff, interns, and columnists.