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Dr. Marvin Connelly, Jr. of Cumberland County Schools named 2024 NC Superintendent of the Year

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Dr. Marvin Connelly, Jr., superintendent of Cumberland County Schools, was named the 2024 A. Craig Phillips North Carolina Superintendent of the Year at an awards presentation and reception held this week, according to this press release.

The award is jointly presented annually by the North Carolina Association of School Administrators (NCASA), the North Carolina School Superintendents’ Association (NCSSA) and the North Carolina School Boards Association (NCSBA). Scholastic Education Solutions sponsored this year’s awards program.

Connelly has enjoyed a successful career in public education spanning over 31 years in North Carolina, according to the press release. He began his career in public education as a special education teacher assistant and teacher after serving as an officer in the U.S. Army, including time in the 82nd Airborne Division, where he also deployed for combat in Operation Desert Storm.

After serving as the chief of staff for the Wake County Public School System from 2012-18, Connelly was appointed to the position as superintendent of Cumberland County Schools in 2018.

“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. “This award reflects our collective commitment to the success of every student. I am immensely proud of our achievements and look forward to continuing our journey toward educational excellence for all.”

Jack Hoke, executive director of the NCSSA, praised Connelly’s outstanding reputation with his peers and his leadership — both of which led to him winning the top honor for local superintendents in the state.

“Dr. Marvin Connelly is well-known amongst all superintendents in our state,” Hoke said. “He has proudly served our nation and then went on to serve his state and community by being a leader in public education. This award highlights his long-time commitment and dedication to meeting the needs of all students.”

As a military veteran, Connelly is well suited to meet the unique needs of the military culture of Cumberland County. He initially saw a need to improve overall communications in his district and took proactive steps by actively engaging with the leaders in the community to develop strong bonds to foster an environment of inclusivity and transparency.

Those efforts garnered significant recognition with state and national awards from the North Carolina School Public Relations Association and the National School Public Relations Association, highlighting the district’s creation of an inclusive and supportive communication environment. 

Connelly has been the driving force in developing measures to ensure every student in his district feels valued and supported and that they receive a high-quality education, according to the press release. By seeking continuous improvement in his district through decisions and policies on equity and diversity, and relying on feedback from students, parents, educators, and the community, Connelly ensures a high-quality education for all students and helps to prepare them for success in an increasingly diverse and interconnected world.

As the 2024 A. Craig Phillips North Carolina Superintendent of the Year, Connelly will compete for the National Superintendent of the Year honor at the American Association of School Administrators’ National Conference on Education in San Diego in February 2024.


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