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NC Department of Public Instruction announces additions to leadership team

The following is a press release from North Carolina Public Schools

State Superintendent Mark Johnson announced three new additions to the leadership team at the Department of PublicInstruction today. Kathryn Johnston will serve as the newly created deputy superintendent of operations, Michael Wells will be the director of federal programs, and Barbara Roper will be the new chief financial officer.

”I am pleased to be adding such great talent to the Department of Public Instruction’s leadership team,” said Johnson. “All three of these folks have the experience in their fields to allow us to continue to transform public education in North Carolina to benefit every student in our schools.” 

Wells started August 20, while Johnston and Roper will begin on September 4.  

Johnston will lead the department’s procurement, contracts, IT, HR, and other operational functions. She is part of the department’s team of deputy superintendents, which is structured to drive innovation, collaboration, and operational productivity by ensuring DPI operates efficiently and effectively and that staff and leadership can focus on DPI’s core education mission and programs.  

Johnston earned bachelor’s degrees in Economics and Political Science from the University of NorthCarolina at Greensboro and has a master’s degree in Public Administration from N.C. State University. She was appointed as secretary for the Department of Administration by Gov. Pat McCrory in 2016. She worked as deputy secretary for service operations, where she oversaw multiple divisions for the agency. She also served as budget director for the City of Wilmington and has been a city manager in Florida.  

Wells leads the Federal Program Monitoring and Support division, responsible for federal funds deployment and oversight. He holds a doctorate in Counseling and Educational Development and a master’s degree in Applied Behavior Analysis and Psychology and brings 13 years’ experience from the U.S. Department of Education in Washington, D.C. He has provided administrative leadership and supervision in support of school grants to 14 states and territories. He also provided oversight of implementation of programs such as the Every Student Succeeds Act and other federally implemented public education policies and regulations. 

Roper will oversee agency financial operations. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Accounting from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington and brings with her 25 years’ experience in financial leadership. She wore many hats at the N.C. Department of Administration, where she was responsible for special projects including accounts receivable, budgets, and policy reviews. She also served as a member of the state’s Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Steering Committee, which works to standardize and enhance business processes across state government.  


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