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OCS welcomes new leaders to the administrative team

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It is a new era in Orange County Schools. As we emerge from the pandemic, we look forward to the future. We will move fortuitously ahead, keeping equity at the center of all we do while focusing on our students’ and staff’s well-being and our students’ academic achievement.  

With this forward-focused mindset for the 2022-2023 school year, we welcome several new leaders to our district who bring a wealth of experience and expertise to the OCS Team.

Laurie Carr

Laurie Carr - Chief of Schools and Achievement

Orange County Schools welcomes Ms. Laurie Carr to serve as the new Chief of Schools and Achievement.

Ms. Carr most recently served for five years in Guilford County Schools as a School Support Officer (a supervisor of principals, equivalent to an assistant superintendent in other districts) and prior to that, as the Senior Director of Principal Leadership, Development, and Recruitment. She has K-12 teaching experience in urban, rural and international educational settings and 12 years of experience as a school principal. She also served for five years as a District Transformation Coach (leadership coach) for the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction.

Ms. Carr has more than 25 years of experience in education with expertise in leading with values for equity, and cultivating change with a specialty in relationship management.

Ms. Carr holds a Bachelor of Arts in political science from State University of New York at Buffalo. She earned teacher certification from Louisiana State University, and she holds a Master of Education in School Leadership from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Ms. Carr also completed all of the coursework toward a Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership from Gardner-Webb University.

Ms. Carr said, “I am excited about returning to the work of directly coaching and supporting principals in their work. I am passionate about developing the leadership capacity of others and seeing the direct impact it has on students and school communities.”

Ms. Carr said she loves to learn new things. “Whether it’s a new strategy for mathematics instruction or how to change a car battery, I am all in!” she said. She is also an enthusiastic world traveler, with visits to five continents and 31 countries. 

Ms. Carr places a high value on understanding different cultures and getting to know people from diverse backgrounds. “This has made me more compassionate and drives me to improve access and opportunity for all students,” she said. 

Ms. Carr also loves writing and has been published recently in both Education Week and AASA's School Administrator magazine.

Her first day with Orange County Schools will be July 1, 2022.

Please join us in welcoming Ms. Laurie Carr to the Orange County Schools family!

Dr. Jessica Dreher

Dr. Jessica V. Dreher - Director of Student Engagement and Support Services

Dr. Jessica V. Dreher began serving as Director of Student Engagement and Support Services for Orange County Schools on May 23.

Dr. Dreher was an elementary school counselor before becoming the Director of Student Services for Thomasville City Schools. She has expertise in School Counseling, Family and Community Engagement, McKinney-Vento (Homeless) and Foster Care, Attendance and Social and Emotional Learning (SEL).

She holds a B.S. in Human Development and Family Studies from UNC-Greensboro; an M.S. in Counselor Education from North Carolina A&T State University; and a Doctorate's degree in Educational Leadership from High Point University.

Dreher said her favorite thing about working in education is seeing positive impacts upon students and families. “It brings me joy when you are helping a student, family member or other adult with something, and you see their faces light up. I love seeing the fruits of working to help people achieve their goals and attain personal success. I love to see that happen.”

We welcome Dr. Jessica V. Dreher to the Orange County Schools family! 

Dr. Denise Greene

Dr. Denise C. Greene - Chief Academic Officer

Dr. Denise C. Greene began her new role as Chief Academic Officer for Orange County Schools on June 1. She is a graduate of Winston-Salem State University with a BS in Intermediate Education, with a concentration in mathematics. She holds an MA in Educational Administration from Bowie State University and has earned an EdD in Educational Administration, with a focus in reading. 

Dr. Greene has been in education for thirty-seven years, in a variety of positions, including elementary and middle school teacher in both North Carolina and Maryland. She served as an Interdisciplinary Resource Teacher/Math Resource Teacher, an elementary principal, Director of School Support and Improvement, and as an Area Associate Superintendent in the Prince George’s County Public Schools, Maryland.

Dr. Greene is originally from Greensboro. The first job she ever held was serving as a school bus driver while in high school. She has a husband, Fred, and a step-daughter, Shannon. She enjoys boating, walking, reading, and traveling. But above all else, she loves learning new things the most. She is also a member of the National Parliamentarian Association.

“I have always wanted to be in jobs where I can stay connected with schools and to be involved with the people and the energy found there,” said Greene. “If we can’t see and support and influence what goes on there, then why are we here?”

Dr. Greene said in her new role, she is most looking forward to collaborating with Curriculum and Instruction (C&I), Equity, and School Support (departments), and building the instructional capacity of school leaders.

“I have seen the influence principals have upon student performance,” she said. “Principals have a direct impact on student achievement, and I am looking forward to working with C&I to play a part in that work.”

Please join us in welcoming Dr. Greene to the Orange County Schools Team! 

Dr. Anna Hipps

Dr. Anna Hipps - Principal, Cedar Ridge High School

Dr. Anna Hipps comes to us from Chapel Hill High School, where she was assistant principal. She has more than 20 years of high school experience and has served as an interim high school principal, assistant principal, school counselor, and CTE Career and Development Coordinator.

During her time in the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City School system, Dr. Hipps was named the Assistant Principal of the Year in 2019. 

Dr. Hipps considers herself a lifelong learner. She holds a Bachelor of Arts with distinction in Psychology and English from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, a Master's Degree in School Counseling from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the Administrative add-on Licensure from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and most recently a Doctorate of Educational Leadership from Western Carolina University.

Dr. Hipps is excited to be joining the Orange County Schools team. She said, “I am honored to join Orange County Schools as the next principal of Cedar Ridge High School. I look forward to getting to know the school community and preparing for an exciting 2022-2023 school year!”

In her free time, Dr. Hipps enjoys cheering for the Tar Heels, traveling—especially to National Parks—and spending time outdoors. She said the best aspects of working in education are the people she gets to meet and the relationships that are built along the way.

Dr. Hipps will be working with the school-based administrative team and district staff over the next few weeks to ensure a smooth transition into leadership. Her first official day on the job will be July 11, 2022.

Please join us in welcoming Dr. Anna Hipps to the Orange County Schools and Cedar Ridge High School families!

Kevin Smith

Mr. Kevin B. Smith - Chief Public Information Officer

Mr. Kevin B. Smith comes to us from the North Carolina Education Corps of Raleigh where he served as the Director of Marketing and Communications. There, his focus was on brand management, media relations, and coordinating partnerships for recruitment, providing professional development, and developing and communicating strategies to market the non-profit in print and in the digital realm.

Smith also served for seven years as the School-Community Relations Coordinator for the Transylvania County School System in Brevard, NC. He developed and deployed communications plans around crisis management, district strategic goals, and even a bond referendum. He regularly contributed to the independent media platform, The Daily Waterfall, and he was a guest columnist for local print publications in Brevard. Mr. Smith co-created the award-winning “School PR Drive Time” podcast for North Carolina School Public Relations Association, which amplified voices and provided valuable support to school PR professionals across the state and nationwide. And he has a knack for networking with state and local government, institutions of higher education, nonprofits and philanthropic organizations.

Mr. Smith holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in French Language and Literature from the University of South Carolina in Columbia, a Master’s degree in Liturgical Music and Master’s degree in pastoral practice from St. Vladimir’s Seminary in Crestwood, NY, and a Master of Music in Choral Conducting from Mannes College of Music in New York, NY.

Mr. Smith said that equity is a verb—not a noun. And he believes in the power of storytelling and teambuilding.

He said, “I am excited to learn about the many students and educators who make OCS an engaging and innovative place to learn, work, and grow. We are surrounded by examples of students who imagine and achieve excellence thanks to support from dedicated educators, families, and community partners. My goal is to showcase OCS success stories each day and encourage community members to join in supporting students every step of the way.”

He also had this to say about why he chose the field of education:

None of us is as smart as all of us. (In school, we are challenged to think beyond our limitations, dream together, and collaborate for a future brighter than we can imagine in isolation.) For a brief time, our children are promised a safe, welcoming place to come together and examine their ideas, explore the history we share, and envision the world they will inherit. Our sacred task is to honor this short window, let children give shape to their dreams, and watch them walk forward after graduation as successful adults.  

Mr. Smith has two sons, two daughters, and two grandchildren in Brevard, where he most recently lived. He enjoys reading, streaming podcasts and audiobooks, hiking, and cycling or mountain biking. Radio and podcasting are special passions, and he also enjoys making choral music.

His first day on the job is June 27, 2022.

Please join us in welcoming Mr. Kevin B. Smith to the Orange County Schools family!

Lee Williams II

Lee Williams II - Chief Equity Officer

Orange County Schools welcomes Mr. Lee Williams II to serve as the new Chief Equity Officer for Orange County Schools.

Mr. Williams comes to us from Guilford County Schools, where he served most recently as a middle-grades principal. He currently provides contracted services for MILO as a curriculum designer and instructor, and he spent two years in Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools as the Executive Director of Equity and Inclusion. He has additional experience as a principal and assistant principal in the Alamance-Burlington School System and has a reputation for “turning around” school climate and impacting culture in educational settings. 

Mr. Williams holds a Bachelor of Arts speech and communications from Clemson University and a Master of Arts in Educational Administration from Grand Canyon University. He has expertise in community outreach, leading with equity, values and vision, teambuilding, and community outreach.

Mr. Williams is thrilled to be joining the OCS Team! He lives by Malcom X’s quote, “I’m for truth no matter who tells it. I’m for justice no matter who it's for or against.” 

Mr. Williams will begin his new role as Chief Equity Officer for Orange County Schools on July 1, 2022.

Please join us in welcoming Mr. Lee Williams II to the Orange County Schools family!

Andrew Poole

Mr. Andrew Poole - Director of Security

Mr. Andrew Poole is the new Director of Security for Orange County Schools. His service began May 26. Mr. Poole has eight years of experience in safety and security and prior law enforcement. He served on the Hillsborough Police Department before taking on the new role in OCS. Mr. Poole holds a B.S. in Justice Studies from Methodist University, with a concentration in forensic science.

He said he is looking forward to learning every detail about school system operations so he can help to make Orange County Schools an even safer school district for staff and families.

“I want to have a lasting impact on the students and staff here,” he said.

Originally from Durham, he now resides in Snow Camp with his wife and two children. He enjoys spending time with family and friends, grilling, hiking and exploring new places.

Mr. Poole is an asset because he is already familiar with our community, and has experience in law enforcement and security measures. The Director of Security will continue to update and ensure best practices in school security and safety protocols are implemented to protect our staff and children.

Just a few of Mr. Poole’s responsibilities include: 

  • Working directly with law enforcement to ensure our campuses are safe
  • Creating district-wide emergency response plans
  • Partnering with every one of our schools individually on their school-specific safety plans
  • Coordinating with our school resource officers (SROs) and administrators to monitor and coordinate safety protocols, drills and initiatives
  • Leading safety trainings in each of our schools
  • Working with our special events teams, such as sports, to ensure all events are safe 
  • Monitoring our district security, including emergency communication systems, camera security systems, surveillance and access control

We welcome Mr. Poole and we are glad he is  part of the OCS team!