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DRIVE stands for ‘Developing a Representative & Inclusive Vision for Education’

Yesterday, Gov. Roy Cooper announced his appointments to North Carolina’s DRIVE Task Force.

Back in December 2019, the governor established by executive order a DRIVE Task Force “to tackle the issue and measure goals to get to the kind of workforce we need for every child to have a chance.”

The goal is for the state to move towards a new landscape in recruiting, developing, supporting, and retaining educators of color across North Carolina.

The Office of Gov. Roy Cooper, The Hunt Institute, and the NC Business Committee for Education held the DRIVE Summit at N.C. State on December 10, 2019. It was the largest, or one of the largest, convenings of educators of color in the history of the state.

In the 2015-16 school year, North Carolina’s public school student population became “majority-minority” for the first time as the number of students of color exceeded the number of white students.

Data from the 2018-19 school year indicate that while 53 percent of students are nonwhite, this is true of only 22 percent of educators.

Two LEAs employ zero educators of color, and 23 LEAs do not employ a principal or assistant principal of color.

— Issue Brief, The DRIVE Summit

According to the press release, “The task force is comprised of parents, educators, administrators, education advocates, representatives of state and local government, representatives from the University of North Carolina system and North Carolina Community College System, and employers with a presence in North Carolina. The Hunt Institute, an affiliate of the Duke University Sanford School of Public Policy, will provide facilitation and research support for the task force.”

Here are the members of the task force appointed by Gov. Cooper:

  • Dr. Anthony Graham of Greensboro as Chair and as a UNC System representative. Graham is the provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs at Winston-Salem State University. Dr. Graham has collaborated with educators to create initiatives and programs that increase the number of classroom teachers, especially ethnic and racial minority teachers, who enter the teaching profession in under-resourced and hard-to-staff rural and urban schools. These programs include the North Carolina A&T Rural Teaching Fellows Program, the North Carolina A&Teach STEM Scholars Program, and the North Carolina A&T Teacher Residency Program.
  • Dr. Lisa Mabe Eads of King as a North Carolina Community College System representative. Eads is the Director of Academic Programs for the North Carolina Community College System. She also teaches as an online adjunct in the Human Development and Family Studies Department and the Specialized Education Services/School of Education Department at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. 
  • N. King Prather of Cary as a member at-large. Prather previously served as senior vice president and General Counsel & Corporate Secretary for Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina. He serves on the Board of Directors for Higher Education Works and was awarded The Order of the Long Leaf Pine for Leadership and Service to the State of North Carolina.
  • J. Wendell Hall of Ahoskie as a member At-Large. Hall serves on the North Carolina State Board of Education. Hall served as the Interim Superintendent for Northampton County Schools, Warren County Schools, and Weldon City Schools. He also served as President of the NC School Boards and Association and the NC Association of School Administrators.
  • Aliyah Abdur-Rahman of Durham as a parent or guardian of North Carolina elementary, middle, or high school aged students. Abdur-Rahman is a senior fellow for diversity, equity, and inclusion at the Center for the Advancement of Social Entrepreneurship at Duke University. Abdur-Rahman also serves on the board of Maureen Joy Charter School. 
  • Dr. Claudia Sandoval of Waxhaw as a parent or guardian of North Carolina elementary, middle, or high school aged students. Dr. Sandoval works for Sandy Hook Promise as a Training & Project Coordinator. She also serves as a parent member of the Union County Public School Safety Committee and on the Board of the Faith & Hope Community Center serving low-income Latino communities in Monroe. 
  • Dr. Anita W. Alpenfels of Pinehurst as educators, principals, superintendents, or other school or school district administration staff. Alpenfels is the executive officer for human resources with Moore County Schools. She also serves on North Carolina State Board of Education Advisory Board on Requests for Exception from Teacher Licensing Requirements as well as North Carolina State Superintendent’s Advisory Committee on Professional Ethics.
  • Sabrina Marie Peacock of Greensboro as educators, principals, superintendents, or other school or school district administration staff. Ms. Peacock has over 27 years of experience as an educator and has been a proud member of North Carolina Association of Educators since her first year of teaching. She also has received the 2020 NEA/NCAE Teaching in Excellence Award and has been a finalist for Guilford County Schools Teacher of the Year twice.
  • Guy Ymir Hill of Coats as educators, principals, superintendents, or other school or school district administration staff. Hill has taught 9th and 10th grade English at Triton high school since 1999. He is also a member of the UNC & Duke Area Studies Teacher Advisory Council and was awarded Marvin R. Pittman Champion of Education Award from the NC Department of Public Instruction in 2018. 
  • Ricky Hurtado of Mebane as educators, principals, superintendents, or other school or school district administration staff. Hurtado is co-founder and co-executive Director of LatinxEd where he seeks to build pathways to educational, professional, and civic engagement opportunities for a new generation of Latinx leaders in North Carolina. Hurtado is a member of the United Way of North Carolina, MyFutureNC, NC Child Board of Directors, and the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation Community Leadership Council. 
  • Alexandra-Emmanuelle Zagbayou of Durham as a nonprofit education advocacy organization representative. Zagbayou currently serves as executive director of Student U in Durham. She serves on the boards of United Way of the Greater Triangle, DataWorks, the Beautiful Project, and Made in Durham. 
  • Ashley Mone’ Kazouh of Raleigh as a nonprofit education advocacy organization representative. Kazouh is a policy analyst at the Public School Forum of North Carolina. Prior to joining the Public School Forum, she facilitated social justice workshops for students as an Americorps member in Memphis, Tennessee and was a Program Coordinator at Big Brothers Big Sisters. 
  • Kristy Denise Moore of Durham as a nonprofit education advocacy organization representative. Moore has been an educator in Durham for over 16 years as a preschool and first grade teacher. Moore served as president of the Durham Association of Educators for four years, then transitioned into the role of district mentor for new teachers. She now serves as the State Vice President of the North Carolina Association of Educators since 2016.
  • Matthew Ellinwood of Chapel Hill as a nonprofit education advocacy organization representative. Ellinwood currently is the director of the education and law project at the North Carolina Justice Center. Since 2010 he has led education policy-related government relations efforts at the North Carolina General Assembly that promote opportunity, equity, learning, and college and career readiness for at risk students in North Carolina. Ellinwood also serves on the Legal Aid Education Task Force, the Legislative Section of Juvenile Justice and Children’s Rights North Carolina Bar Committee.
  • Zack Hawkins of Durham as a representative from within state and local government. Hawkins currently represents Durham in North Carolina House District 31. He serves on the Full Appropriations, Appropriations, Capital, Redistricting, Energy, and Public Utilities committees and co-chairs the House Broadband working group in the House. Hawkins has served his community as a science teacher in the Durham Public School system and as a nonprofit and higher education leader.
  • Deanna Townsend-Smith of Raleigh as a member at-large. Townsend-Smith is the director of board operations and policy for the State Board of Education. She has served as a Teacher Development Specialist, a New Teacher Coach, and an Assistant Principal. She has also been a member of Skill Path Total Access and the National Staff Development Council. 
  • Lorena R. Gonzalez of Durham as a North Carolina Health and Human Services representative. Gonzalez is a senior manager at the early education branch of the Department of Health and Human Services. She is also a member of the North Carolina Association for the Education of Young Children, National Association for the Education of Young Children, and the National Head Start Association.
  • Rebecca A. Planchard of Durham as a North Carolina Health and Human Services representative. Planchard is the Senior Early Childhood Policy Advisor for the Department of Health and Human Services. She also advises the Office of the Secretary for early childhood health, child welfare, and early education. Planchard is the lead on the state’s Early Childhood Action Plan, and also directs the state’s Early Childhood Integrated Data System (ECIDS).
  • Dr. Van O’Dell Dempsey III of Wilmington as a UNC System representative. Dr. Dempsey currently serves as the dean of the Watson College of Education at UNC-Wilmington. He previously served as vice president for institutional assessment and effectiveness at Fairmont State University.
  • Dr. Debra Stewart of Raleigh as a member at-large. Stewart currently serves as a Senior Fellow at National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago and as President Emerita of the Council of Graduate Schools. She serves on several boards, including the Educational Testing Service Board; the International Advisory Board of the Freie Universitat Berlin; the International Board of the ITMO University in St. Petersburg, Russia; NASFA; and the Association of International Educators.
  • Dr. Cherrel Miller Dyce of Elon as a member at-large. Dyce is an associate professor and director of intercultural education in the School of Education at Elon University. With twenty years of experience in social justice work, she is a fierce social justice advocate and K-20 researcher, mentor, and social theorist.
  • Dr. Leslie Anne Locklear of Red Springs as a member at-large. Leslie currently serves as the Program Coordinator for the First Americans Teacher Education program and First Americans Educational Leadership program at UNC-Pembroke. She also serves as the Co-Chair of the North Carolina Native American Youth Organization Adult Advisory Committee.
  • Dr. Kimberly Anne Evans of Raleigh as a North Carolina Department of Public Instruction representative. Dr. Evans currently serves as a program coordinator for the Professional Educator Preparation and Standards Commission at the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction. She is a veteran educator with over 15 years’ experience in instructing and teaching students from diverse backgrounds and communities. 
  • Pastor James D. Gailliard of Rocky Mount as a representative from within state and local government. Pastor Gailliard serves at the Word Tabernacle Church in Rocky Mount. He also currently serves in the North Carolina General Assembly as a Representative from House District 25. He is a participating member on the Appropriations, Appropriations-Education, Education K-12, Health and the House Select Committee on School Safety House committees.
  • Dr. Chance W. Lewis of Concord as a UNC System representative. Lewis is a Carol Grotnes Belk Distinguished Professor of Urban Education at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. He is also the Executive Director of the UNCC Urban Education Collaborative which is publishing a new generation of research on improving urban schools.
  • Alfred Mays of Apex as an at-large representative. Mays is the program officer for Science Education and Diversity at Burroughs Welcome Fund. He also has served as regional director for the North Carolina Model Teacher Education Consortium, and State Program Director within the North Carolina State Department of Public Instruction.
  • Princess Brown of Raleigh as a nonprofit education advocacy organization representative. Brown currently serves as the communications and engagement coordinator at Best NC. As part of her role, Brown manages TeachNC, which employs both a broad media campaign and a robust web platform to support teacher candidates in their quest to become a teacher.
  • Dr. Leroy L. Wray, Jr. of Charlotte as a UNC system representative. Wray is the Teacher Recruitment and Retention liaison for the University of North Carolina at Asheville and a Lecture Professor at several universities in North Carolina. He is the president and founder of the Prodigal Son Foundation and serves on the North Carolina PTA board as committee chair of male engagement. 
  • Todd Johnson of Wadesboro as a representative from within state and local government. Johnson currently serves in the North Carolina Senate from District 35. He serves on the Appropriations on Education/Higher Education, Education/Higher Education, Commerce and Insurance and Pensions and Retirement and Aging Committees. He also serves on the NC Child Fatality Task Force. 
  • Dr. Eric C. Bracy of Dunn as educators, principals, superintendents, or other school or school district administration staff. Bracy has been the Superintendent of Sampson County Schools since February 2014. Previously, he had been superintendent for five and a half years at Northampton County Schools in Jackson. He began his career in education there as a fourth-grade teacher, later becoming an assistant principal and then a principal of elementary and middle schools. He also served as an administrator for Durham Public Schools.
  • Creighton P. Blackwell of Morrisville as an employer with a presence in North Carolina. Blackwell currently serves as the Vice President of Corporate Affairs and Community Engagement at Coastal Federal Credit Union. Creighton serves on the Carolina For the Kids Foundation, the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce, Wake Technical College Foundation and serves as the Executive Board Chairperson for the NC Council on Economic Education. He has also been awarded the Triangle Business Journal’s inaugural Corporate Philanthropy Award for his outstanding community and philanthropic work.
  • Eric E. Sanchez of Youngsville as educators, principals, superintendents, or other school or school district administration staff. Sanchez is the co-founder and Executive Director of Henderson Collegiate. He is a fellow and advisor for Relay Graduate School of Education and a portfolio member for the Emerging Charter Management Organization Fund.

For more information on DRIVE, here is the program, here is the issue brief, here is the website for the Drive Summit, and here is the governor’s executive order. Check out #DRIVESummit on Twitter, and you can find the livestream of the event here.

Mebane Rash

Mebane Rash is the CEO and editor-in-chief of EducationNC and the N.C. Center for Public Policy Research.