Gaston County Board of Education Gaston County Schools
The Gaston County Board of Education is seeking a qualified individual to serve as Superintendent of Schools. The N.C. School Boards Association (NCSBA) is assisting the Board of Education with a national search to find the next dynamic leader for Gaston County Schools.
The deadline to submit an application to NCSBA was August 7, 2023.
Inquiries about our superintendent search process should be directed to Mr. Sam Thorp with the N.C. School Boards Association.
Sam Thorp, assistant legal counsel for superintendent searches
Phone: (919) 747-6706
ABOUT US: Gaston County Schools and Gaston County, North Carolina
Gaston County Schools is the tenth largest public school district in North Carolina with 56 neighborhood schools (30 elementary schools, 11 middle schools, 12 high schools, one virtual school, one special needs school, and one alternative school) and approximately 30,000 students in pre-kindergarten through high school. The school district is Gaston County’s second largest employer with more than 3,800 employees, which includes 1,950 classroom teachers. Gaston County Schools is fully accredited by AdvancED (now Cognia) as a quality school system; each school also is fully accredited.
Gaston County Schools serves a community of 230,000 citizens. Gaston County is a mix of suburban and rural areas and is considered a “bedroom community” in the thriving Charlotte region. Thanks to its proximity to Charlotte, the population growth in Gaston County has increased by 12 percent in the past decade, outpacing the state rate for growth. Once the center of the booming textile manufacturing industry, officials in Gaston County have worked to transition from a “mill village” to a diversified economic, civic, and destination leader that has significant influence in the Charlotte metropolitan area.
All of our schools have a comprehensive instructional program with opportunities for every student at every ability level. The district offers Advanced Placement (AP) and honors courses, Career and Technical Education programs, the Career and College Promise partnership with Gaston College, services for exceptional children, and many other academic, extracurricular, and student support programs.
The student ethnic distribution for Gaston County Schools is approximately 49 percent Caucasian, 24 percent African American, 19 percent Hispanic, and eight percent Asian, Hawaiian/Pacific Islander, American Indian, and multiracial. Over the past five years, the number of Hispanic students has increased significantly. More than 60 percent of students qualify for free or reduced-price meals, and free meals are provided to all students at 40 schools through the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) program sponsored by the USDA Food and Nutrition Service. The district has 30 schools that receive federal funding through Title I.
Gaston County students continue to excel in every arena: in the classroom, on the athletic field, in the performing arts, and through extracurricular activities. A few of our most significant accolades in recent years include students receiving an appointment to the United States Air Force Academy and the United States Military Academy at West Point; a student being chosen as one of five Career and Technical Education Scholars in North Carolina; students earning state sports championships in wrestling, cheerleading, cross country, and track and field and a state runner-up finish in girls soccer and baseball; a student being recruited to play football at the University of Notre Dame; students earning Blumey Awards nominations for excellence in theater arts; and students earning the distinction of Morehead-Cain Scholar, Levine Scholar, QuestBridge Scholar, and North Carolina Teaching Fellow. Additionally, the Class of 2023 earned $41 million in scholarships and grants to attend the most prestigious colleges and universities in our state and across the nation.
Gaston County Schools is proud to offer 22 school choice programs, including Academy programs that focus on seven areas: careers, collegiate prep, health sciences, leadership, performing arts, public service, and technology/engineering. Since 2016, the number of school choice/magnet school programs has increased from two to 22, which is an impressive accomplishment that was done in response to the community’s request for more options for students and families.
In the area of Career and Technical Education (CTE), Gaston County continues to rank among the best in the state for the number of industry-recognized job credentials that are earned by students. The job credentials give our students an advantage when seeking employment and additional education/training. CTE courses are offered in areas such as business, healthcare, public safety, culinary arts, automotive, manufacturing, trades, technology, engineering, and other areas. CTE programs are available at all high schools and middle schools, and in 2021-2022, CTE expanded to the elementary school level with fifth grade students being introduced to healthcare and electrical technology.
Gaston County Schools is home to a North Carolina STEM School of Distinction (Hawks Nest STEAM Academy), two National Blue Ribbon Schools (Highland School of Technology, 2017, and W.A. Bess Elementary, 2006 and 2022), and three North Carolina A+ Schools (W.A. Bess Elementary, Pinewood Elementary, and Rankin Elementary). Additionally, Gaston County has two cooperative innovative high schools on the Gaston College campus: the Gaston Early College High School and the Gaston Early College of Medical Sciences. The Early College programs provide students with an opportunity to complete the requirements for a high school diploma while also taking college classes in pursuit of an associate degree.
In May 2018, voters approved a $250 million bond referendum; the funds are intended for new school construction ($110 million), school additions and expansion of media centers and cafeterias ($25 million), and repairs and renovations ($115 million). The first allocation of bond funds were used to build a new middle school in Belmont and address critical renovation projects at schools across the county. With the second allocation of funds, the plan is to build a new middle school to replace the aging Grier Middle School in Gastonia while continuing to address repair and renovation needs. In the past 10 years, Gaston County Schools has completed the construction of four new campuses: Stuart W. Cramer High School in 2013, Pleasant Ridge Elementary School in 2017, Stanley Middle School in 2018, and Belmont Middle School in 2021 – it has been nearly 50 years since the school district experienced a similar “building boom” for new school campuses.
From classroom teaching and learning and serving cafeteria meals to transporting children to and from school and capturing the spotlight in athletics and extracurricular activities, all that takes place each day in Gaston County Schools is done with our vision in mind: “To inspire success and a lifetime of learning.”
"About Us" profile compiled by the Gaston County Schools Communications Department