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WCPSS leadership form district’s first Equity Leadership Cohort

WCPSS Equity Leadership

May 31, 2024


Ten schools and four district divisions joined The Office of Equity Affairs (OEA) in building a cohort of leaders working towards transformation through our district’s commitment to equity. These leaders, in conjunction with their small teams, took on audacious equity goals focused on improved outcomes for students, specifically as it relates to students’ inclusion and investment in schools, reduction of exclusionary practices, and increase in student performance indicators. OEA provided participating principals and teams with specialized support through a partnership with the Equity Collaborative. 


The cohort launched during the spring of 2023 with specific support for school principals and district leaders.  They engaged in a total of ten sessions, and school and district teams participated in six. Then beginning in the summer of 2023 and continuing through the 2023-24 school year, school and division equity teams were engaged.  


The principal preparation seminars supported each leader in building a team for the cohort, and developing their individual leadership skills for supporting adaptive change over the course of the 2023-24 school year.


All participating schools and district divisions participated in six full-day convenings.  Each session included professional development, data analysis, and facilitated exchanges to support peer learning.


The program’s approach emphasized how classroom structure, school climate, and teaching practices contribute to improving student performance, reducing disproportionate discipline, and increasing student engagement.   


Key questions guiding the cohort’s work include:

  • What are the equity issues in your context and how can you equip yourself, as a leader, to diagnose and address them?
  • How might our (school community, district, school, and individuals) own practice limit opportunities for all students to learn, grow and succeed?
  • What skills and knowledge do you need to lead this work in your role? What skills do you need as a leader to interrupt and diminish predictive associations of identities to student outcomes?


Each school and division identified their equity focused challenge, and constructed audacious goals, and through ongoing critical reflection and examination of processes and structures at the systems and individual level, they worked to redesign the challenge into ways that best serve all students.  Each school and division will present their journey at our district’s Equity Showcase on July 18 from 1-3:30 pm in Crossroads 3 in Cary.  All WCPSS employees are invited to attend.


Participating schools and departments include:

  • Baucom Elementary - Carrie Huffman, Principal
  • Carver Elementary - Wenitra Merritt, Principal
  • Green Magnet Elementary - Leslie Blake, Principal
  • Middle Creek Elementary - Caroline Miller, Principal
  • Northwoods Elementary - Joe Nixon, Principal
  • Olds Elementary - Nikia Glass, Assistant Principal
  • East Cary Magnet Middle - Dr. Nikia Davis, Principal
  • Leesville Road Middle - Chris Cox, Principal
  • Wake Forest Middle - Dr. Chris Bradford, Principal
  • Garner Magnet High - Matt Price, Principal
  • Executive Leadership Coaching - Eric Fitts, lead
  • Human Resources - Deborah Clifton, lead
  • Office of Professional Learning - Dr. Stephanie Smith, Dr. Nichole McCullers, leads
  • Senior Administrators to Area Superintendents - Sarah Stephens, Lauren Curtis, leads