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Judge: NCCS guilty of excellence

August 19, 2011

Newton-Conover City Schools kicked off the school year a little different this year.

Unlike past years, the Opening Day Celebration for principals, teachers and staff was held in the Old Post Office Playhouse in downtown Newton on Friday – and as the location suggests, there was no lack of drama.

As NCCS Associate Superintendent Dr. David Stegall introduced the Opening Day Celebration’s guest speaker, a wild-eyed and eccentric woman came barging down the OPOP aisle.

“Hold on, hold on,” she interrupted. “I got a problem with this ‘schools of excellence’ phrase you all are always throwing around.”

The upset “parent,” really Newton-Conover High School drama teacher Amy Beane, challenged the statement that NCCS provides excellent learning for its students. Not able to deal with such a claim, Stegall said the matter would be better served by the opening day’s guest speaker and North Carolina District 25 Judge Robert Mullinax, Jr.

A court drama ensued, and after statements delivered by some of NCCS’ finest teachers, Mullinax ruled in favor of the school system.

“I would not be where I am today without the education I received in this school system,” said Mullinax, a graduate of Newton-Conover High School. “I use what I learned in Newton-Conover schools every day on the job.”

Mullinax thanked teachers for their excellence and for ensuring that NCCS workers continue to produce a great school system and great students.

NCCS holds the opening day celebration for its teachers and staff every year, but superintendent Dr. Barry Redmond said he wanted to change things a little bit this year – something that the large crowd seemed to enjoy as they delivered a standing ovation following the performance.

Redmond said Mullinax’s comments are significant because “he is one of us,” and noted that the Honorable Judge changed his whole schedule willingly to attend the opening day performance.

For the upcoming year, Redmond requested the teachers ask themselves two questions: “Would I be found guilty of doing my very best?” and “Will my legacy live on in the students?”

Redmond said NCCS schools are doing very well academically and athletically, noting the different several academic merits as well as state championships that have come to schools within the system.
“No one could love children more than you do,” he told the NCCS teachers.   

Preparing for school

Before Mullinax left the OPOP stage Friday, he told teachers and staff in attendance that no matter what, “those students are going to show up on Thursday,” – an arrival that school officials say they have been preparing for the entire summer.

Redmond said NCCS is “about ready” for school to start and said there are some last minute things that need to be completed.

“There is some furniture to be moved around and things like that,” he said.  

NCCS officials and directors have been in and out of system schools the past several weeks, greeting teachers and making sure everything is in line for the first day of school next week, said Melanie Elrod, NCCS student services director.

Soon, Elrod said NCCS officials will be assigned a different school that they will “take care of” throughout the year.

Before school starts, Elrod said school officials work to make sure learning spaces are safe.

“We work hard to make sure everything is clean, so we clean intensively,” she said, adding that workers make repairs, paint and clean carpets in classrooms. “We want to make it a safe place for kids to come back to.”

For more information on NCCS schools, visit


How much...

August 22, 2011 by Backbone (not verified), 3 years 36 weeks ago
Comment: 636

...did this one cost the TAXPAYERS!?

If you have to motivate the teachers to go to work with this kinda stupid waste of time, than have enough sense not to advertise it!

They should be motivated enough by gettin their paychecks at teh end of the month!

As a former student of the

August 23, 2011 by allisonraea (not verified), 3 years 36 weeks ago
Comment: 641

As a former student of the drama teacher mentioned in this article and a long term member of the performance space used for this presentation, I have to strongly disagree with you. I am personally glad that NCCS are using these methods to motivate teachers and other faculty and staff members for the new year.
Motivation works both ways. If the teachers aren't motivated to work well, then the students won't be motivated to do so either. If there is no motivation, then there is no standard of excellence. If there is no standard of excellence, then even MORE cuts in education will be ensured and all of America, let alone North Carolina, can not afford to loose the standards of Education that we have left.
I, and I am sure others, believe that this is not a "waste of time." If more teachers had this experience, then maybe more students would have a higher success rate. Teachers teach because they love what they do and want to make sure that the people of tomorrow learn correctly today.... they don't do it for the "large" paychecks at the end of the month (obviously). If that's all that teachers cared about then there would be no hope for America's future.

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