Starting in January, Wayne County Public Schools will have a new District Military Liaison supporting military connected students and their families. Heather Winstead, School Counselor for Greenwood Middle, will replace Jamie Livengood, who served in this role for more than 13 years before transitioning to a new role as the district's Student & Family Support Coordinator this fall.
"Ms. Winstead has a wealth of school counselor experience from across all grade levels, and has a passion for supporting military connected families," states Ken Derksen, Executive Director for Community Engagement and Student & Family Support. “With the strong military presence in Wayne County, Ms. Winstead will work directly with school, district, and Base personnel to help ensure we as a school district are meeting the unique needs of our military connected students. She will also be an important resource for Seymour Johnson Air Force Base families."
As the 4th largest military populated state in the country, North Carolina works to ensure a great quality of life for service members and their families, including the education of military connected children. The “military liaison” position was originally created as part of North Carolina’s focused effort to support military families while working to be the friendliest military state. As part of her role, Ms. Winstead will research, develop, and help implement programs and practices that will best support military connected students enrolled in its schools. The District Military Liaison will also work in partnership with the SJAFB School Liaison, EFMP Coordinator, SJAFB personnel, other state liaisons and area schools to advocate, create and maintain a military friendly culture that actively supports military students, especially during times of transition and deployment.
"Wayne County Public Schools has over 1,900 military connected students enrolled in our schools,” states Dr. Lewis, WCPS Superintendent. “As a North Carolina Purple Star School District, our schools and our district have a demonstrated commitment to ensuring our military connected students have a network of support while they are enrolled in our schools. The District Military Liaison is a critical support role for our students and families.”
Ms. Winstead began her career as a school counselor with Greene Early College High in 2008. Since that time, she has served at Greene Central High, Moss Hill Elementary, and East Carolina University. She has worked as a school counselor at Greenwood Middle since 2015. Ms. Winstead holds a bachelor's degree in family and community services and a master's degree in counselor education. Ms. Winstead is a past president of the Wayne County School Counselors Association and was the Wayne County Public Schools 2019-2020 School Counselor of the Year.
The Wayne County Board of Education approved the position during its December monthly meeting. Ms. Winstead’s official start date is January 1, 2022.