New Hanover County Schools


Engaging Students, Achieving Excellence


New Hanover County Schools Board Chair Lisa Estep Steps Down Board of Education Elects Stefanie Adams as New Chair


At the September 1, 2020 Regular Board Meeting, Board of Education Chair Lisa Estep announced that she was stepping down as Board Chair. The Board elected current Board member Stefanie Adams to fill the position. Chair Adams will hold the position until the Board of Education holds elections to fill the Chair and Vice Chair positions at the December 1, 2020 Regular meeting.
“Electing a new Chair at this time, coinciding with the arrival of the district’s new superintendent, will facilitate continuity of communication between the new superintendent and the new Chair in advance of the election and the change of three, and perhaps four, Board positions,” says Mrs. Estep. “It has been an honor to serve as Chair and I look forward to advising and supporting Dr. Foust and Chair Adams in my role as a Board member.” 
As Board Chair, Mrs. Estep has been instrumental in leading many key district initiatives. One of her goals coming into office was to establish a career and technical education high school within the district, which was achieved with the opening of Southeast Area Technical High School (SEA Tech) in 2017. Mrs. Estep led the district, in partnership with former Board of Education member Bruce Shell, Representative Ted Davis, Jr., and Cape Fear Community College, in creating the first CTE high school in New Hanover County.
Mrs. Estep was a leading advocate for a Board-level Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Committee and worked to establish a Board-level Title IX Committee. The Title IX Committee was the first Board-level committee to include wide-ranging representation from the community, state university and community college systems, and law enforcement. She was also instrumental in the district’s hiring of a dedicated Title IX director and investigator staff. Mrs. Estep also served as Board liaison to the Advisory Council for Exceptional Students (ACES) for five years as the group worked to grow the advocacy voice for students with disabilities.
The NHCS partnership with NC DHHS Vocational Rehabilitation Services and NC Works to increase disability hiring within the school district is particularly meaningful to Mrs. Estep. “The goal of this collaboration was to increase our hiring pool and provide support to staff, but it became much more than that,” she says. “The Windmills training program that was offered to hiring managers was designed to support individuals with disabilities, but it had much broader applications for anyone overseeing staff.” The training was expanded in the first year and NHCS was recognized as Employer of the Year by the NC Rehabilitation Association.
Mrs. Estep leads several current Board initiatives, including the ongoing NCSBA policy manual conversion and the renaming of Parsley Elementary School. She considers the recent hiring of an interim superintendent and the process of hiring the new superintendent to be two of her most significant contributions to the district. “Dr. Charles Foust’s arrival as Superintendent of the New Hanover County School System is the beginning of a new direction for our district,” says Mrs. Estep. “The past six months have been a time of tremendous transition and progress. I look forward to supporting Dr. Foust as he carries this momentum forward.”
“I feel blessed to be able to participate in the education of our children with a broader perspective than I had as a parent,” says Mrs. Estep. “As Board Chair, my focus shifted to the needs of all schools and issues across the district. I’ve met so many wonderful people and plan to continue those relationships. It’s most meaningful to me to be in our schools, doing math problems and reading to students. I love volunteering my time and plan to continue that work.”