Don Phipps is Superintendent of the Year

At a ceremony in Greensboro Tuesday, Caldwell County Schools Superintendent Don Phipps was named North Carolina’s 2023 Superintendent of the Year by A. Craig Phillips.

Phipps was one of eight superintendents running for honors from the North Carolina Association of School Administrators (NCASA), the North Carolina Superintendents’ Association (NCSSA), and the North Carolina School Boards Association (NCSBA).

“It is overwhelming and a real honor for me to represent the North Carolina superintendents with their work and to call them all my colleagues,” Phipps said in a press release. “Gratitude is not a strong word. I look forward to serving and representing them.”

Phipps became Superintendent of Caldwell County Schools in 2018 and accepted the challenge of leading the district through the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the press release, the school system, under Phipp’s leadership, sent out buses with Wi-Fi to solve broadband connection problems. And when the students returned, he worked with community mental health providers to ensure the students got the help they needed.

“This work is, I believe, critically important,” Phipps said in the press release. “This work has significantly and positively impacted the gap that existed where our students’ mental health needs were identified and not met.”

Jack Hoke, Executive Director of NCSSA, called Phipps a “leader among leaders”.

“His focus on serving the critical needs of students and families in his community, and his efforts to provide a strong voice for his colleagues in state and federal education policy work makes him a model district leader who supports the Superintendent of the Year well deserved honor,” Hoke said in a press release.

The press release also talked about Phipps’ work to create the Caldwell County Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance to spread the word about important programs like free school lunches, the school system’s efforts to engage the community with college application and scholarship meetings, and even computer boot camps for grandparents

“We must address the needs in our community, but we only know what those needs are when we are part of the community,” Phipps said in the release. “We must be perceived as trustworthy and genuine in our work.”

Phipps teaches courses in early childhood care, teacher preparation and child counseling at Caldwell Community College & Technical Institute.

NC Superintendent of the Year competes for the national title to be announced in February. The Regional Superintendents of the Year, who also ran for State Superintendents of the Year, are:

Area 1 | Northeast | dr Ethan Lenker, Pitt County Schools

Area 2 | Southeast | dr Jerry L. Oates, Brunswick County Schools

Area 3 | Central | Mrs. Catty Q. Moore, Wake County Schools

Area 4 | sand hill | dr Aaron Fleming, Harnett County Schools

Area 5 | Piedmont/Triad | dr Todd Martin, Yadkin County Schools

Area 6 | Southwest | dr Jeff Booker, Gaston County Schools

Area 8 | West | Mrs. Angela Knight, Graham County Schools


EdNC’s staff reporting draws on staff, interns, and columnists.