For Dr. Eric Bracy, becoming a school district leader and supporting education is his calling in life.
Bracy, superintendent of Sampson County Schools (SCS), was recently recognized as North Carolina Association of Educators (NCAE) 2017 Superintendent of the Year. The organization is the state’s largest education advocacy organization for public school employees. It represents active and retired educators. Students members are also included.
“As a lifelong educator, I am honored to receive this award from the NCAE Division of Principals/Administrators,” Bracy said.
The NCAE Superintendent of the Year Award is presented each year and recognizes the outstanding contributions to staff, students, and public education as a whole by members in the same position. According from a news release from the organization, nominees are judged on professional practice, advocacy for the profession, community engagement, and leadership skills. Any public school superintendent who is a member of NCAE is eligible for nominations.
“I hope that my passion for the profession inspires others to increase their support for our students and for staff members who work so hard to graduate students who are prepared for college and careers,” Bracy said.
A main focus of Bracy’s leadership is to ensure that SCS become goal-oriented.
“It is my responsibility to set and keep our school system focused on teaching and learning goals,” he stated. “My staff and I have made sure that the joint goal-setting procedure has resulted in student achievement and classroom instruction.”
It was also noted that he’s committed to excellence and sets rigorous goals for the SCS Board of Education, the executive leadership team and principals in the district. District officials believe they’ve done a good job understanding academic strengths and deficiencies. With this knowledge, tools such as quarterly benchmark assessments and teacher made assessments are being used to monitor student progress.
Bracy said he prides himself for being an advocate for public schools and the education profession. He has been the superintendent for the district since February 2014. Before SCS, he served Northampton County Schools, as a superintendent for more than five years. Bracy began his education career as a fourth-grade teacher and later became an assistant principal. Next, he became principal of elementary and middle schools. He was also administrator for Durham Public Schools.
He’s now leading one of lowest funded school systems in the state. SCS ranks 108 out 115 when it comes to per-pupil spending. Bracy believes that the school systems needs to be funded at a higher level to continue success in the future. This has been expressed many times to the Sampson County Board of Commissioners and to the community as a whole. Through work with local leaders, he formed relationships and partnerships to improve schools.
Emphasis is placed on family engagement by asking teachers and staff members to make per-arranged visits to students’ homes. Bracy said it helps them “learn about the hopes and dreams parents have for their children and opens the door for opportunities to work together to make those dreams a reality.”
“It takes a communal effort to educate children today,” Bracy said. “These partnerships are essential to a quality school system. Sampson County draws from the strength from the families, businesses and community members that value a quality public education.”
Bracy earned a doctorate in education leadership from Nova Southeastern University and a master’s in education administration and supervision from Virginia State University. Before these educational accomplishments, he earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from North Carolina Central University.
He’s married to Janelle Bracy, a teacher. They have three daughters.
The SCS Board of Education was to honor Bracy with the award during its monthly meeting Monday night.