Baldwin County’s Dr. Noris Price Named 2022 Georgia Superintendent of the Year
Baldwin County School District Superintendent Noris Price was named the 2022 Georgia Superintendent of the Year by the Georgia School Superintendents Association (GSSA). Price was also named one of four finalists for National Superintendent of the Year.
Price previously represented GSSA on Get Georgia Reading—Campaign for Grade-Level Reading’s Cabinet and continues to help lead Baldwin County’s efforts as a Campaign community. She continues to apply the four-pillar framework in her role as superintendent while also helping the Campaign reach other leaders and communities throughout the state.
“Get Georgia Reading’s four-pillar framework for action focuses our programs in a way that ensures we’re providing the conditions necessary to support grade-level reading for all our children,” said Price. “I’m incredibly excited about the work we’ve done and will continue to do. This Campaign helps provide us the opportunity to improve the quality of education our students receive—improving the quality of the workforce our community will later inherit.”
According to GSSA, finalists were singled out for their leadership abilities and excellent skillset in working with boards, staff, parents, and communities. They strive to create innovative educational environments for students to be successful—which is precisely what Price does, according to Baldwin County Family Connection Executive Director Cynthia Edwards.
“Dr. Price works closely with Family Connection to make sure there are early childhood health and education opportunities, leading to academic success and healthy outcomes,” said Edwards. “What I love most about Dr. Price is that, for her, there is no ‘I’ in the word ‘team.’ Her vision and transparency have set Baldwin County Schools to a higher standard.”
Price has served as superintendent since 2014. Under her leadership, the Baldwin County School District has implemented initiatives and strategies that have resulted in improved student performance. The high school graduation rate has increased from 66% to 85%.
Price has also been a big proponent of obtaining grant funding in her tenure, having secured millions of dollars to bring innovative programs to Baldwin County Schools.
“Through strong community partnerships, Read Baldwin County and other programs support the Get Georgia Reading Campaign by assisting families, caretakers, and teachers of young children in providing optimal learning experiences for school success and for productive and fulfilling adult lives,” said Price. “The focus of assisting our students to read on grade level by third grade presents an exciting opportunity to change life trajectories improve life futures and provides our students with college and career options.”
- With the assistance of a planning grant from the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement, Baldwin County School District implemented Read Baldwin County.
- Preschool educators and kindergarten teachers observe each other’s classrooms and discuss language programs and learning opportunities to help young children prepare for success when they transition to grade school.
- A reading support program in four elementary schools and three after-school programs at community centers provides direct early reading support for kindergarten through third grade.
- The Read Baldwin County Transition Network offers an open forum for early childhood educators four times a year addressing the topics of language nutrition, positive learning climates, public health needs, and the importance of access to critical resources and social services.
- Literacy in Neighborhood Communities (LINC) includes outreach programs developed by Georgia College and district professionals that extend the four pillars into childcare and preschool programs, community centers, and families of young children. LINC addresses the topics of early language development, social and emotional development, positive learning climates, and access to nutrition, public health, and social services that strengthen families and early learning experiences.
- The Read to Lead program promotes the relationship between reading and successful leadership. Community leaders, such as Price, serve as library storytime readers.
- The Bee Well School-Based Health Clinic, which serves all students and their families as well as employees of the school system, has led to increased successful and timely wellness visits and vaccines required for school enrollment and extracurricular activities.
- The Reaching Rural Communities program supplies each Baldwin County school with telehealth equipment to meet the needs of students who need specialized care—also enabling students to miss less class time and including parents in decision-making.
- A weekly summer enrichment program at three community centers ensures that children who face barriers in getting to the local public libraries have access to learning opportunities throughout the year.
- The FootHills Charter School program is designed for high school students to complete their diploma at their own pace. “This program offers older high school students who may be at risk for dropping out a way to finish their classes at a time more conducive to a student’s needs,” said Edwards. All methods provide self-paced, individualized mastery learning, so students cannot fail a course and there are no deadlines. To better meet different learning styles, Foothills offers a variety of course formats including textbook and web-based instruction.
- Price has made it possible for the Board of Education to pay the salaries for Communities in Schools site coordinators to be inside all Baldwin County schools to provide support for tutoring as well as students’ physical and mental health needs.
Partners also are working together to address mental health needs of the county’s children and their families who often aren’t able to consistently receive help due to lack of reliable transportation, lack of mental health professionals in the area, and financial constraints.
In 2021, Baldwin was one of six counties in Georgia to receive a startup grant from Bright from the Start: Department of Early Care and Learning to help build a trauma-informed school system. Part of upcoming teacher preparation will include trauma-informed training.
“I’m fortunate to be able to get up every day and do what I love—work that is meaningful and serves a purpose. I love making a difference,” said Price. “This award is not about me. I have one amazing team in my corner who is doing great work. This award would not be possible without the entire Baldwin County school community.”