Degrees and Certifications:

Dr. Ruth Steidinger

Olive Chapel Elementary Principal


Ruth Cochrane Steidinger, EdD, is a leader committed to developing and supporting effective teachers and successful students. She began her career in Wake County as a high school math teacher earning honors for her performance during her first year of teaching. She served as assistant principal and principal in two public schools and moved to Central Office in 2003 where she served in various positions. Some of her accomplishments during her tenure include leading the development of the system’s Reading and Writing Model, Mastery Learning Model, Curriculum Design, Effective Teaching Framework, and revised Grading Practices/Policy. In September of 2015, Dr. Steidinger decided it was time to return to where she believed she could make the greatest impact, as a principal. The opportunity to come to Olive Chapel was presented to her and she jumped at the chance.

Dr. Steidinger grew up in Greensboro, NC, and studied at three fine North Carolina institutions—Meredith College (BA, magna cum laude, math and graphic design), NC Central University (MA, summa cum laude, Education Administration and Supervision), and East Carolina University (EdD, summa cum laude, Educational Leadership) where she received the Mack and Margaret Coble Doctoral Fellowship recognizing her leadership within the program.

Dr. Steidinger is also a lifelong learner in the area of work-life balance. Before becoming a teacher, she worked as a pastry chef and graphic designer, and she still loves to cook and to create beauty in her surroundings and capture it in the lens of her camera. Ruth is an avid runner who has logged many miles for worthy causes including cancer research and prevention, literacy, NC Children’s Hospital and Dare Education Foundation. She serves her church (Cary Presbyterian) and her community on numerous committees and boards. Her happy places are the NC coast and around the dinner table with family and friends. Ruth laughs, loves, and lives with passion, intensity, and flair, always.

Educational leadership runs in Ruth’s family. Her husband Kevin Steidinger and sister Laura Cochrane are also career educators in Wake County, where they both have earned National Board certification and been finalists for Teacher of the Year. Ruth and Kevin have twin daughters, students at UNC Chapel Hill (Go Heels!), who make them proud every day. Their family motto is “Believe.”

Dr. Steidinger is driven by her purpose to live intentionally and to work tirelessly every day to serve those she works with: staff, students, parents, and the OCE community. One of her core beliefs is that people deserve the opportunity to become the very best version of them. She is intentional in her efforts to help those she serves along this journey.

“Having served in numerous capacities, there is no greater joy than the role of principal. To be able to see the face of children every day and know the impact we are all having is immeasurable. Thank you for the opportunity”.

With gratitude,

Dr. Steidinger