Stokes County Board of Education Names New Superintendent
May 25, 2016
The Stokes County Board of Education announces the election of Dr. Phillip Bradley ("Brad") Rice as Superintendent effective July 1. Rice will receive a contract through June 30, 2020. He is currently serving as Assistant Superintendent with Asheboro City Schools, a post he has held since June 2013.
Dr. Phillip Bradley ("Brad") Rice
Rice brings to the position 21 years of experience in the public schools as a teacher, coach and administrator. He previously served as Director of Support Services from April 2006 until June 2013. Rice was Assistant Principal at South Asheboro Middle School from July 2002 until June 2006; Behavior Management Specialist at Jackson Middle School from January 2002 until June 2002; a teacher at Jackson Middle School from August 1999 until June 2002; a teacher at Scott High School in Huntsville, TN from August 1998 until June 1999 and a teacher at Jefferson Middle School from August 1995 until August 1998.
Rice earned many of his degrees from UNC-Greensboro including a Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership and Cultural Foundations in 2009; his Specialist in Education, Educational Leadership and Cultural Foundations in 2008 and Master of School Administration in 2003; he earned his Bachelor of Science in Education from Carson-Newman University in 1995 and his high school diploma from Jefferson County High School in Tennessee.
Rice is presently involved in many community and civic organizations. He serves as Vice Chair of the Randolph County Juvenile Crime Prevention Council, Co-Chair of Leadership Randolph, and a member of the Randolph Community College Adult Literacy and Human Resources Development Advisory Committee, the Randolph County Board of Health, the Randolph County Community Wellness Assessment Team, the Randolph Sports Council, North Ridge Church and Rotary International.
Rice is excited about the appointment and getting to know all stakeholders. Some of Rice's goals in his first 180-days in no particular order include: begin to establish a culture of collaboration and trust internally and externally; commence a smooth and orderly transition of leadership; develop a plan to learn about the unique needs/concerns of the Stokes County School System and community; begin to establish a strong working relationship with all departments, school leadership, and community leadership; learn the current strategic plan and strategies and begin to execute a plan of continuous improvement in order to address identified needs of the district; and begin building the capacity of school and district leadership for maximizing effective and efficient support to each student.
"Done effectively, public education is the great equalizer. It has the power to level the playing field for all students and give each student the opportunity to reach his or her dreams. Students need to acquire knowledge, but they also must acquire the ability to think and reason, to be able to communicate, and to have healthy relationships. They must have these skills in order to be successful in life", Rice stated.
Rice believes school systems must have a clear direction, a clear mission, vision, and strategic plan to shape the direction of education. The school district vision and mission should include high expectations for each student. School systems need to have a strategic plan that prioritizes the needs of the district. There has to be a laser like focus on what students need to learn. The district has to embrace data and use it to drive instruction. There has to be teacher collaboration around students, data, and instruction. There has to be a positive culture embracing all stakeholders with dignity and respect. The foundational characteristics are evident in successful school districts and absent in districts that need improvement.
Rice desires to embed himself in the county and in the community to raise his family here and to be here for a very long time. Rice will tell you his greatest accomplishment is his family. His wife, Keasha, is currently an elementary teacher in Randolph County. This June he and his wife will have been married 18 years. They have three children who will be attending Stokes County Schools this fall. Kari will be a sophomore, Sarah will be a freshman, and Joshua will be a fifth grader.
Sonya Cox, Board Chairperson, noted 21 applicants applied for the job. The Board narrowed down the pool to interview six applicants. "The Board took very seriously the job of hiring the next educational leader. We listened intently to the principals as we visited each school and took to heart all of the survey responses from employees, parents and the community."
Cox stated, "The Board believes Rice embodies the characteristics and attributes deemed to be most critical to all of our stakeholders. Just to name a few of those: integrity, approachability, friendly and enthusiastic, great communicator and listener, credibility, intelligence and common sense. Another attribute that is very important is authenticity and Rice is the real deal," stated Cox. "He is authentic and once you have time to meet him and get to know him, you'll see what I mean."
"Rice has demonstrated he can be a catalyst for moving our district forward as we not only strive to prepare students to be college or career ready, but ready for life in general. The thing that impressed the Board was his mantra, and it's part of his vision for our school district."
"Each kid, each day!"
"It's not enough to say we teach our kids, but we have to teach each kid each day".
Cox said the Board will be announcing times this summer for additional opportunities for the community and our employees to meet Rice and his family. Cox said the Board faces many challenges with the budget and a fresh perspective will be welcomed. Rice wants to raise his family here and be here for a very long time. It was important to the Board of Education that the top job of Superintendent not be viewed as a stepping stone and we believe Rice will prove to be an invaluable part of our team.
Dr. Stewart Hobbs, interim Superintendent, will assist the Board in the transition of bringing Rice on by July 1. Hobbs replaced former Superintendent Ronnie Mendenhall, who retired February 1 of this year after 36 years of service to the county's educational system.
Parents: Dr. and Mrs. Brad Rice; Children: Kari, Sarah and Joshua
Dr. Brad Rice and his wife Keasha
Left: Sonya Cox, Board Chairperson; Center: Dr. Brad Rice; Right: Pat Messick, Board Vice-Chairperson
Announcement meeting held at West Stokes High School