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Franklin County Schools Superintendent selected as 2020 NCSSA Brad Sneeden Leadership Award winner

The following is a press release from the North Carolina School Superintendents’ Association

The North Carolina School Superintendents’ Association (NCSSA) has announced the selection of Dr. Rhonda Schuhler, Superintendent of Franklin County 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. 

Thisannual 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. Schuhlerwas selected by former Brad Sneeden Leadership Award recipients.

The award is named in honor ofDr. Brad Sneedenwho 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 very appreciative of this honor. I believe in the importance of modeling expectations, and the commitment to lifelong learning and continuous improvement are important tenets of our work in educating students for future success. Dr. Brad Sneeden exemplified this commitment, and I am humbled to be recognized with an award that honors his legacy,” said Dr. Schuhler.

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.

Commenting on Dr. Schuhler, NCSSA Executive Director Jack Hoke said, “Dr. Schuhler exemplifies the traits that guided Dr. Brad Sneeden’s career in educational leadership. Dr. Schuhler has demonstrated a vision for Franklin 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.”

During her tenure as the Superintendent of Franklin County Schools, student performance has increased, moving from 7 low performing schools four years earlier to zero based upon 2018-19 data.Under Dr. Schuhler’s leadership, the district received full funding from the Board of County Commissioners, providing salary increases to 430 classified employees for the first time since 2008. The district has moved to 1:1 technology access at the middle and high school levels, with plans to expand to all grade levels for the 2020-21 school year. Franklin County Schools recently announced plans to move the existing Early College High School from a mobile facility into a brick-and-mortar building on the Vance-Granville Community College Campus, allowing for expansion of this thriving program. During the 2019-20 school year, Dr. Schuhler has led her district through the Strategic Planning process, successfully developing Blueprint 2025, a plan for the future of Franklin County Schools. 

Congratulations Dr. Schuhler on this wonderful and well-deserved recognition!


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