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Edgecombe County Public Schools Superintendent Selected as 2021 NCSSA Brad Sneeden Leadership Award Winner

The North Carolina School Superintendents’ Association (NCSSA) has announced the selection of Dr. Valerie H. Bridges, superintendent of Edgecombe County Public Schools, as the recipient of the Dr. Brad Sneeden Leadership Award. The award is presented in honor and recognition of a superintendent who has demonstrated a strong commitment to life-long learning, unwavering integrity in leadership and transformation of vision into action. 

This annual award is presented to a graduate of the North Carolina School Superintendents’ Association’s Next Generation Superintendent Development Program (NGSDP), a program which is designed to empower transformational education leaders for North Carolina’s public schools. Dr. Bridges was selected by former Brad Sneeden Leadership Award recipients.

The award is named in honor of Dr. Brad Sneeden who was serving as Carteret County Schools’ Superintendent at the time of his death in October, 2008 at the age of 56.  Among the innovative efforts he brought to this district was the establishment of the Marine Science Academy, later renamed as a memorial to him, which exposes students to hands-on marine science activities.

Previously, Dr. Sneeden served as the Associate Vice-President for Leadership Development and Director of the Principals’ Executive Program, the Deputy State Superintendent for the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction and State Board of Education, an adjunct professor with the Department of Educational Leadership and Director of the Office of School Services at East Carolina University, and as the Craven County Schools’ Superintendent. Dr. Sneeden led with innovation and vision in preparing administrators for visionary leadership while never wavering from ethics of the highest order. 

“I am honored to be the recipient of the Dr. Brad Sneeden Leadership Award for the state of North Carolina. He was a stellar leader that modeled love and commitment to students and community. I am committed to providing all students, each and every one, with a quality education full of opportunity and promise. In Edgecombe County Public Schools, we know that our most precious assets are our children and we are dedicated to helping them navigate life and discover their passions,” said Bridges.

In selecting the award winner, the following criteria were considered: 

  • Demonstrates vision and the ability to translate vision into specific goals. The recipient should be a person whose leadership has resulted in his or her district developing and/or implementing innovative programs and projects to benefit students.
  • Demonstrates a strong commitment to life-long learning, focusing on the continuous improvement of his or her leadership skills
  • Demonstrate evidence of setting and achieving high standards of ethical conduct within his or her organization.

“Dr. Bridges exemplifies the traits that guided Dr. Brad Sneeden’s career in educational leadership. Dr. Bridges has demonstrated a vision for Edgecombe County Schools, as an educational innovator and a strong commitment to continuous improvement and the highest standards of ethical conduct.  She is a very deserving recipient of this award,” said Jack Hoke, NCSSA Executive Director.


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