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Veteran school & district administrator takes on new student support services role

With the school year rapidly coming to a close, families in need of additional district-level supports are finding a new but familiar face in the office of WCPS student services. This spring, the Wayne County Board of Education approved Dr. Marcia Manning to officially handle the duties of the previously vacant Student Services Director position (formerly held by Dr. Cynthia Reynolds) with added responsibilities for Innovative Programs. As the Executive Director of Student Support Services & Innovative Programs, Dr. Manning has spent the closing weeks of school skillfully working within two departments to assist schools in helping meet the social-emotional and academic needs of all students.

“I am excited to take on these new administrative responsibilities,” states Dr. Manning. “This work allows me to continue working closely with principals, students, and their families, and to facilitate and support innovation across the district. Our schools offer wonderful opportunities to Wayne County students. I am looking forward to nurturing new programs, expanding opportunities, and supporting students and families to increase access to excellence across our district.”

District leaders state that Dr. Manning is a highly effective veteran school and district administrator who has proven herself an asset to the district and to the schools she has supported since her start.

“In recent years, many of the duties of the district’s student services office have been handled among my Cabinet members,” states Dr. Michael Dunsmore, WCPS superintendent. “Having someone of Dr. Manning’s caliber to take the lead in this area will help ensure that we as a district can effectively support the needs of all students while also addressing the most critical needs of those students in crisis, and/or at risk of failure, expulsion, or dropping out. As a partner with senior leadership, Dr. Manning will continue serving as a strong voice for our principals and school-based administrators.”

Since being hired by the district in 2016, Dr. Manning has effectively served in various roles, including Innovative Programs Coordinator, Interim Principal of Goldsboro High, and most recently Director of Secondary Education & Innovative Programs. In her new role, Dr. Manning will support schools in student registration and placement; track and advise the district in how to best address trends for dropouts, suspensions, attendance concerns, and discipline incidents; oversee the district’s alternative education program; support school counselors and school social workers; and represent WCPS on applicable community assistance committees and Boards.

In addition to serving in the area of student support services, Dr. Manning will also support the district’s Curriculum & Instruction Department by working directly with C&I leaders to help bring research-based practices and initiatives to school classrooms.

“Through this role, Dr. Manning will be able to lend her considerable expertise in helping our district develop, and implement innovative programs and strategies to move the district forward,” adds Dr. Dunsmore. “We are fortunate to have her in this unique cross-over position, as it will allow Dr. Manning to serve in complimentary roles within two of our most important student-centered departments.”    

Dr. Manning has over three decades of education experience, 13 of which were spent as a principal of Columbia Middle School and Columbia Early/College High School in Columbia, North Carolina. Prior to her start with WCPS, Dr. Manning served at NC New Schools as the Education Innovation Director, training principals across the state in school reform, education leadership, and academic best practices. Dr. Manning holds a bachelor’s degree in Biology, a master’s degree in science education, a master’s degree in school administration, and a doctorate in education leadership.

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