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McNeal Named State Superintendent Of Year

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RALEIGH, N.C. — William R. McNeal, Jr., superintendent of

Wake County Public Schools,

has been named the 2004

North Carolina Association of School Administrators

North Carolina Superintendent of the Year.

Katherine Joyce, interim executive director of NCASA, made the announcement.

"We are delighted to bestow this honor on Bill McNeal," Joyce said. "He is very deserving of this recognition, not only because of the outstanding achievements he has facilitated in his school system but also because of his sincere dedication to educational excellence in North Carolina."

The award will be given on Dec. 9, 2003, during the NCASA Superintendent Retreat to be held at Pine Needles Lodge in Southern Pines.

McNeal also will be recognized during the North Carolina Breakfast at the

American Association of School Administrators

national conference in San Francisco, Calif., Feb. 21, 2004.

McNeal automatically will be nominated for the national Superintendent of the Year award sponsored by ARAMARK ServiceMaster Facility Services and the American Association of School Administrators.

"Any recognition that Bill McNeal receives is only recognition of our quality principals, teachers and a forward-thinking Board of Education and central staff," McNeal said. "And the most important aspect of this honor is that it is only possible because we have intellectually astute students who are supported by their parents, as well as our business and faith communities."

A 29-year veteran educator, McNeal has spent his entire educational career with the Wake County Public School System. During that time, he served as a teacher, assistant principal, principal and associate superintendent. He was named superintendent of Wake County Public Schools in 2000.

McNeal holds bachelor's and master's degrees from North Carolina Central University and completed his doctoral studies at North Carolina State University.

Dr. Lawrence Walker, Director of the Central Carolina Regional Education Service Alliance, spoke highly of McNeal in his nomination letter, writing: "In the three years since becoming Wake County's superintendent, Bill McNeal hasn't simply made his mark -- he's embellished a mark that he has been making in the county since he arrived as a social studies teacher in 1974."

McNeal has made progress in narrowing the achievement gap in Wake County. While he agrees there's much work to do, the performance gap between students on free/reduced lunch in math has shrunk from 35 percentage points in 1998 to 16 points in 2003, and in reading from 35 points in 1998 to 21 points in 2003 -- while performance has continued to increase at all levels.

There has been similar progress among ethnic groups, with black and Hispanic/Latino students' performance continuing to draw closer to that of their white and Asian counterparts.

A member of numerous boards and associations, McNeal serves on the Governor's Education First Task Force, and the Board of Directors for SmartStart, Communities In Schools, the Wake Education Partnership, Exploris, John Rex Endowment Foundation and the Southern Regional Educational Board.

McNeal's wife, Faye, is guidance counselor at Enloe High School in Wake County. They have two daughters, Tiffany and Crystal.

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