HILLSBOROUGH, NC 4 JUNE 2019- Beginning on July 1st, Orange County Schools will welcome its first Chief Equity Officer. The Board of Education voted to approve Dr. Dena Keeling as the Chief Equity Officer of Orange County Schools (OCS). The position is new to the district, and the creation of the position is another milestone in the district’s efforts in embrace equity.
Along with being new to Orange County Schools, Dr. Keeling acknowledges the challenges of bringing a new department to the district that will usher in change. “There’s always pushback when you’re changing systems that have been comfortable historically,” offered Dr. Keeling. “My hope is that we come together and collaborate on defining what equity looks like for us and for our students,” said Dr. Keeling.
Dr. Keeling comes to the district from Guilford County Schools where she has worked as a guidance counselor for 14 years. Her professional experience in direct service to students and families is rooted in a career focused on engaging diverse groups of learners, both adult and school-age. Additionally, Dr. Keeling has served as an adjunct professor at Davidson County Community College, and she was an access therapist with Davidson County Mental Health.
Helping the OCS community understand what the role of the Chief Equity Officer is will be a component of the initial work Dr. Keeling will undertake. “My job is to make sure that all students get what they need so that they can be successful academically, socially, and in their future career endeavors,” remarked Dr. Keeling. “This work will be about helping families and students who are overcoming barriers to accomplish their goals,” continued Dr. Keeling.
Dr. Keeling’s educational background and attainment has been part of a consistent effort to advance a career of service. She earned her Doctor of Education (Educational Leadership) from the University of North Carolina- Chapel Hill, where she had previously completed her Bachelor of Arts (Psychology). Dr. Keeling holds a Master of Science (Counselor Education) from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, and she holds another Master of Arts (Forensic Psychology) from John Jay College of Criminal Justice. Dr. Keeling is a past-Vice President of the North Carolina School Counselor Association (NCSCA) and past-State Middle School Chair for the NCSCA.