New Hanover County Schools


Engaging Students, Achieving Excellence


NHCS Selected for National Literacy Improvement Initiative TrueSchool Innovation Fellowship

Four Elementary Schools Receive $15,000 each for literacy programs and support

Four New Hanover County Schools, Winter Park, College Park, Pine Valley and Murrayville Elementary Schools, have been selected to receive the 2018-2019 TrueSchool Innovation Fellowship.  The project, fully funded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, is an intensive, collaborative effort aimed at improving literacy among students, pre-kindergarten to 3rd grade.

“NHCS is excited about the professional development opportunity this affords our teachers at these schools and looks forward to learning and collaborating as a part of this innovative fellowship,” said Dr. LaChawn Smith, NHCS Assistant Superintendent for Instruction and Academic Accountability.

“At Murrayville, we are excited about this Fellowship because it will give us the opportunity to continuously improve as a school.  As a school, we are looking for innovative approaches to learning and teaching so that all students have the opportunity to fulfill their full potential and lead successful lives.  This Fellowship will also provide an opportunity for our teachers to be empowered to lead transformational change and directly target specific issues that stand in the way of student success,” said Tim Dominowski, Principal of Murrayville Elementary School.

The TrueSchool Innovation Fellowship provides a $15,000 scholarship per school to cover the full cost of year-long programmatic and coaching support. Only two states, North Carolina and Nebraska, and 20 schools within each of these two states were selected.

Selected schools will each create teams made up of 3 to 6 members, including the principal and at least two teacher leaders. These teams, with the assistance of TrueSchool’s specialized program and experienced coaches, will “lead a school-wide innovation effort with a focus on equity, academic achievement, social-emotional support, and 21st- century learning” said TrueSchool CEO Amy Vreeland. “Educators working on the ground know their school, student, and community needs best. We provide the time, process, and support to enable their leadership potential to flourish and their bold ideas to come to life.

The chosen participants in North Carolina represent a mixture of suburban, urban and rural school districts from across the state. Of the 10,408 students attending these academic institutions, 5,454 are minority students, while 4,954 are white. A majority of students at all but 4 of the chosen schools receive free or reduced lunch.

The selected schools, all elementary schools, include: Trent Park, Havelock, A.H. Bangert and J.T. Barber in Craven County School District; Coker-Wimberly in Edgecombe County Public Schools; Bessemer City Central and Hawks Nest STEAM Academy in Gaston County Schools; Micro, East Clayton, West Smithfield, Benson and Four Oaks in Johnston County Public Schools; B. H. Tharrington Primary in Mount Airy Public Schools; Winter Park, College Park, Pine Valley and Murrayville in New Hanover County Schools; E.D. Koontz and Overton in Rowan Salisbury School System; and Walnut Creek in the Wake County Public School System.

TrueSchool, based in New Orleans, has worked with over 1,500 educators in 108 schools who are effecting change for more than 200,000 students in cities across the United States, including Chicago, Los Angeles, New Orleans, and Oakland.  For more information on TrueSchool visit their website at

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation, founded in 1930, is one of the world’s largest private foundations. It works with communities around the world to improve conditions for vulnerable children.  For more information on the W.K. Kellogg Foundation visit