• Gaston County Board of Education appoints new superintendent

    Dr. Morgen Houchard to become superintendent of Gaston County Schools

    Gastonia, N.C. – The Gaston County Board of Education has approved the appointment of a new superintendent for Gaston County Schools.  Morgen A. Houchard, Ed.D., will become superintendent of schools, effective February 19, 2024.  The Board approved the appointment of Houchard during a special meeting on January 8, 2024.

    Houchard currently serves as Gaston County Schools’ executive director for auxiliary services and interim executive director for human resources.  He joined Gaston County Schools in April 2016 after serving as assistant superintendent for Mitchell County Schools.

    Board of Education chairman Jeffrey K. Ramsey stated, “We are pleased to have Dr. Morgen Houchard as the next leader of Gaston County Schools.  During his successful career in public education, Dr. Houchard has proven time and time again that he possesses the knowledge, skills, and expertise to serve as our superintendent.  We are extremely confident that he will be able to take us in a new direction.”

    Houchard appointmentRamsey added, “Dr. Houchard is the ideal person to serve as our superintendent.  He has been a classroom teacher, school administrator, and central office administrator with experience in curriculum, personnel, accountability, federal programs, public information, bus transportation, child nutrition, technology, facilities and maintenance, school safety, career and technical education, student services, and new school construction.  Having experience in all of these areas makes him well-rounded in school district operations, and he already has significant knowledge of Gaston County Schools.  Without question, Dr. Houchard will be able to begin moving us forward right away.”

    Houchard grew up in Florida and moved to North Carolina to attend UNC-Asheville where he earned a bachelor’s degree in history with social sciences teacher certification for grades 6-12.  He obtained a master’s degree in school administration from Western Carolina University and a doctorate degree in educational leadership and policy analysis from East Tennessee State University.

    He joined Mitchell County Schools in 1994 as a social studies/language arts teacher at Bowman Middle School in Bakersville.  He later served as an assistant principal and a principal in Mitchell County before moving to the central office where he held director, executive director, and assistant superintendent positions.  Additionally, he has worked as an adjunct professor for Lees-McRae College and Gardner-Webb University.

    Houchard stated, “I would like to express my gratitude and appreciation to the Board of Education for giving me this opportunity and believing in my ability to serve as the superintendent for Gaston County Schools.  I look forward to working with the Board, and I am committed to doing everything I can to make our school system even stronger because I believe that strong schools have a direct connection to the strength of our community.”

    Houchard added, “When I first arrived in Gaston County Schools, it did not take long for me to realize and understand that this school system is a family.  The sense of togetherness here is incredible, and it is what makes working in Gaston County special.”

    Houchard believes quality academics; safe, secure, and inviting school campuses; parental and community involvement; and innovative practices that are a direct benefit for the school district’s students, employees, and families contribute to Gaston County having stronger, better schools.
    Houchard concluded, “I am so grateful for the opportunity to serve as the next superintendent of Gaston County Schools.  We have so many possibilities ahead of us, and it will take all of us working together as a school family and as a community to realize the possibilities and take advantage of all of them.”

    The Board of Education’s appointment of Houchard concludes the Board’s search for a new superintendent, which begin this past summer.  The N.C. School Boards Association facilitated the superintendent search process for the Board.

    Houchard’s annual salary will be $210,000 ($17,500 per month).  He will be Gaston County Schools’ eighth superintendent since the school district was formed in 1968 when the county schools and city schools in Gastonia and Cherryville merged.  Currently, Stephen C. Laws, Ed.D., is serving as interim superintendent and will continue to do so until Houchard’s appointment takes effect on February 19.

    Ramsey added, “In the weeks ahead, Dr. Houchard plans to work with Dr. Laws to ensure a smooth transition in leadership, and they will focus on filling several key leadership positions that are currently open.  On behalf of the Board, I am proud to pledge our support of Dr. Houchard as he takes the reins as our new superintendent.”