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DPLA Executive Coaches


Dr. Shriley Arrington

Shirley Hart Arrington, Ed.D. earned her undergraduate degree in elementary education from North Carolina Wesleyan College in Rocky Mount and her master’s degree, principal certification, and doctorate from Campbell University. She served as a teacher, assistant principal and principal in the Edgecombe County School System, the Rocky Mount City School system and the Nash Rocky Mount School System. She joined the Principals’ Executive Program in 1993 as an Assistant Director where she directed several programs for school administrators including the Assistant Principals Executive Program, the Developing Future Leaders Program, the Higher School Performance Program, the Instructional Leadership for Reform Program and the Leadership Conference for New Administrators. In April of 2006 she was appointed by the University of North Carolina Board of Governors to the position of Executive Director of the North Carolina Model Teacher Education Consortium. Dr. Arrington retired on September 1, 2011 after over thirty-four years of service to public education in North Carolina. She is currently serving as a professor at Gardner-Webb University, teaching in the Master’s of Elementary Education Program. She also works part time as a program assistant and facilitator for the North Carolina Principals’ and Assistant Principals Association’s Distinguished Leadership in Practice Program. She serves on the board of the Durham Bulls Youth Athletic Association, The Prodigal Son Foundation and the Lincoln Community Hospital Foundation Board. She is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., Girlfriends, Inc., and Charms, Inc.

Dr. Pat Ashley

Pat Ashley, Ed.D has a passion for student success and is committed to ensuring high student achievement by building high-performing schools and districts. Her prior experience leading District and School Transformation for the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction focused on data-documented school and district turnaround. She oversaw the successful implementation of the NC Turnaround Initiative as well as NC’s ambitious Turnaround effort for 12 districts and 123 schools as part of a Race to the Top grant. Before returning to her home state of NC, she was Assistant Superintendent for Instruction of Kentucky’s Owensboro Public Schools— identified by Standard and Poor’s as an “outperforming” Title I district where student achievement far exceeded predictive variables. She began her career as a teacher before becoming a counselor and school psychologist. These experiences solidified her knowledge of how students learn. She was a middle school principal in an inner-city magnet school in Charlotte, NC; principal of a large comprehensive high school in State College, PA; and, after a family relocation to KY, she became the principal of an elementary school in identified as low performing. Following a short period of great collaboration, this school became the highest achieving school in KY for multiple years based on statewide assessment data. Among multiple honors, the school was featured on the Today Show for educational innovation and selected as a National Blue Ribbon School. Considerable years as a principal in diverse settings developed Pat’s deep understanding of the critical role a principal plays in a school success. In 2013, she received the NC Public School Forum Jay Robinson Leadership Award for exemplary leadership with a statewide impact. Her undergraduate degree in history is from Duke and her master’s degree and doctorate are from NC State. She studied in India on a Fulbright and is currently Professor of the Practice in the School of Education at UNC-Chapel Hill as well as teaching for NCSU NELA.

Dr. Ramey Beavers

Dr. Ramey Beavers earned a B.A. in English Literature from William Carey University, Hattiesburg, MS; a Master of Education degree in school administration from the University of Southern Mississippi, and the Ed.D. in Educational Leadership from Mississippi State University where he was a Phil Hardin Scholar. In 1967 with five years of classroom experience, he became principal of a new junior high school in Pascagoula, MS. After 22 years in Mississippi, he moved to North Carolina to become principal of Cary High School. In 1992, he had the opportunity to open his second new school, the first multi-track year round middle school in North Carolina. He retired from WCPSS in 2006 but has worked with school systems in some capacity each year since that time. At the conclusion of the 2016-17 school term he completed 54 years in public education as a teacher, principal, adjunct professor, district level administrator, consultant in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Mississippi, and twelve terms as an interim principal in Wake County Schools at all grade levels. The middle school calendar model he developed is still in use at this time. He met with many groups across the state to share the YR story. As Senior Director for the Office of Growth Management for nine years, he developed assignment plans for the district during one of the periods of greatest growth. He and his wife Karen are celebrating fifty-four years of marriage and currently have all four grandchildren in college.

Areas of service outside the classroom have include serving on diversity study teams, coach to beginning teachers, and consultant working with individuals to improve the quality of their teaching.   Guiding teachers and assistant principals to the next level of leadership has been one of his passions.

Freda Cole

Freda Cole retired from the Wake County Public School System after a career that spanned 34 years. She earned her undergraduate degree at Winston Salem State University and her Master’s degree from North Carolina Central University. Ms. Cole started her educational path as an elementary classroom teacher. After eleven years as a classroom teacher she moved into school administration as an assistant principal, a position she held for 4 and a half years before becoming a principal for 18 years. Ms. Cole was a pioneer and advocate for year-round education. In fact, she taught at the first year-round school in the Wake County Public School System; KIngswood Year Round Elementary. She later became principal of the first multi-track year-round school in the system. During Ms. Cole’s administrative years, she was the founding principal of two new elementary schools in Wake County. Ms. Cole has served on numerous committees and tasks forces, such as the State Superintendent’s Principal Advisory Council and treasure of the NC Year-Round Education Association. Since retiring, Ms. Cole has served as an interim assistant principal as well as, principal for Wake County Schools when needed.

Dr. Carl Harris

Carl E. Harris, Ed.D. as a leader of an urban school district, caught the attention of U.S. Education Department for his bold decisions to create small innovative high schools and his ability to garner business and community support for schools. Carl was named Deputy Assistant Secretary of Education, a position responsible for Pre-K-12 initiatives and State Technical Assistance.

Windell Harris

Windell H. Harris, Jr. has been an educator for more than 37 years. Mr. Harris earned a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia and a Masters of School Administration from East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina. He was an elementary teacher for nineteen years and received Teacher of the Year during his tenure at Cooper’s Elementary in Nash County. He began his career in administration at W.L. Greene Middle School in Nashville, NC. He had the privilege of opening a new school, Winstead Avenue Elementary, in Rocky Mount, NC, which was unique because it offered parents a choice of either a traditional or a year-round calendar concurrently. He served as an administrator in Nash-Rocky Mount Public Schools for five years before moving to Wake County. In the Wake County Public School System, Mr. Harris was the assistant principal at Middle Creek Elementary for three years. While at Middle Creek, he attended the Principal’s Executive Program in Chapel Hill, NC. In 2005, he was appointed as the principal of Holly Springs Elementary and served for 10 years before retiring in 2015. Under Mr. Harris’ guidance, the school transitioned from a traditional to a multi-track, year-round calendar. During this time, Holly Springs Elementary grew to be the largest elementary school in the state with over 1,300 students. Mr. Harris was on various WCPSS committees such as Principal/Assistant Principal of the Year and Teacher of the Year. Since retiring, he has served in three interim administration positions in the WCPSS. During his free time, he enjoys traveling, especially to the beach and the mountains, and spending time with his friends and family. He has two children and two grandchildren.

Dr. Kevin Hill

Dr. Kevin L. Hill retired in 2005 from the Wake County Public School System, where he spent his entire career. He taught secondary social studies for 14 years and served as a principal for 14 years. During his career with Wake County, Dr. Hill served as both a teacher mentor and administrative mentor. Dr. Hill was an instructor at the NCSU College of Education for nine years (2006-2015), teaching both undergraduate and graduate courses for social studies methods, and he served as the Interim Social Studies Program Coordinator and later as the Assistant Social Studies Program Coordinator. From 2006-2009, he was on faculty as a program presenter for the Principals’ Executive Program. He also served as a new principal mentor in Edgecombe, Chatham, and Person Counties. Dr. Hill has served two terms on the Wake County Board of Education since 2007, twice as Chairman, and will retire from Board service in December 2016. Most recently, he held interim principal positions at the elementary and high school levels in Orange County, as well as serving as a teacher evaluator administrator conducting classroom observations and evaluations.

Dr. Tom Houlihan

Tom Houlihan, Ed.D. has been a coach with NELA from the beginning of the program.  He has previously served as a teacher, high school principal and superintendent in both Granville and Johnston counties.  In addition Tom served as Executive Director of the Council of Chief State School Officers in Washington, DC.  Recently Tom was elected to the Granville County Board of Education.

Tom previously served as Senior Education Advisor to Governor James B. Hunt, Jr., Governor of North Carolina.  Dr. Houlihan is the first educator in history to hold Cabinet level status in a North Carolina Governor’s administration. An author and frequent speaker/consultant, Dr. Houlihan was selected “Superintendent of the Year” in North Carolina and was one of four finalists for National “Superintendent of the Year.”  He has also been honored by his alma maters, Indiana University and North Carolina State University, as a distinguished alumni award winner for contributions to education.

Clint Johnson

Clint Johnson served students for thirty-three years in public education in North Carolina. During that time he taught middle school language arts/social studies, taught at Barton College as an adjunct professor, and served as principal of elementary, middle, and high schools for twenty-seven years. During Clint’s tenure as principal at East Wake Middle he was awarded the Order of the Long Leaf Pine, and as principal at Fike Sr. High School in Wilson he was named Wilson County Principal of the Year. After “retiring” from the principalship he served as a Leadership Coach with NC New Schools in schools from Cape Hatteras to Murphy for nine years, and most recently took on a year-long high school interim principalship. Clint received a bachelor’s degree in history from NC State and both master’s and EdS degrees from East Carolina University. He is an avid golfer and he and his family enjoy waking up to the roar of the ocean at their home in Pine Knoll Shores.

Dr. Henry Johnson

Henry Johnson, Ed.D. is a Senior Consultant with Learning Froward, which was formally the National Staff Development Council. Prior to his current position, he was a senior advisor on B&D Consulting’s education team. He offers innovative approaches and strategies to help educational systems achieve and sustain improvements in student and school performances. Henry also has expertise in No Child Left Behind, teacher quality and other growing education issues. Before joining B&D Consulting, Henry was U.S. Assistant Secretary of Education for Elementary and Secondary Education after being nominated by President Bush and confirmed by the U.S. Senate. He has developed a wealth of experiences from more than 30 years of service as a classroom teacher, local administrator, state superintendent of education and national assistant secretary of education. Henry also served as State Superintendent of Education in Mississippi and Associate State Superintendent for the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction. Dr. Johnson is a member of the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) where he has served as a member of their Executive Board of Directors. SREB is a leader in education and economic development for the South. Johnson also serves on various other boards and commissions. Just prior to joining the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction in 1992, he served as Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction for Johnston County Schools. In his 30 plus years of experience as a professional educator, Johnson served as Assistant Superintendent of Schools for the Pleasantville Public Schools in Pleasantville, New Jersey, where he established their Education Foundation. He was a public school teacher for seven years, a principal for three years, and the middle school director for two years for the Wake County Schools in North Carolina. For five years, he worked as Director of Policy Development and Research for the North Carolina School Boards Association. In the mid-1970’s, he worked with the Department of Public Instruction as coordinator of staff development and as a consultant on programs for academically gifted students. Dr. Johnson is married and has two sons and a daughter.

Jim Key

Jim Key has over thirty years experience in public education as a teacher, coach, principal and area superintendent for high schools. He spent his entire career in Durham Public Schools after graduating from UNC-Chapel Hill where he earned both his B.A. and M.S.A. degrees. He was honored as the Teacher of the Year for two different schools and the North Carolina High School “Mat News” Wrestling Coach of the Year in 1994.

Key served as a principal for fourteen years leading schools at the elementary, middle and high school levels. He is proud that ten of his former assistant principals later became principals in Wake, Durham, Chapel-Hill/Carrboro and Granville counties and for his work with numerous principal interns from UNC-Chapel Hill, NCSU and NCCU during his time as a principal. Key was recognized as the Durham Public Schools Principal of the Year in 2009.

Key served as Durham Public School’s area superintendent for high schools from 2011-2014. Upon retirement, Key was awarded the Order of the Long Leaf Pine for his life-long dedication and commitment to North Carolina’s students, teachers and schools. He currently serves on the board of directors for CIS-Durham.

Jim is married to Ruth, a long-time high school media specialist and the proud father of two adult children, one of whom is a psychotherapist and the other a high school science teacher. During his spare time he enjoys walking his dog, Roman.

David Malechek

David Malechek is a career educator of 39 years who earned his Undergraduate Degree in History from Duke University and his Masters Degree in Education from UNC-Chapel Hill.   David taught Social Studies for sixteen years in the Durham Public Schools at Northern High School and Riverside High School. At Northern and Riverside, David served as a mentor in the Duke MAT Program and was named Northern’s Teacher of the Year in 1989.   David began his career in educational administration as an Assistant Principal at Northern High School where he worked for five years before accepting the position of Principal at Mathews High School in Virginia. David returned to North Carolina where he worked as a Principal in both Wake and Lee Counties. David returned to Mathews High School in 2006 where he again served as Principal until his “retirement” in 2011.

Since returning to North Carolina, David has served as an Interim Principal, Assistant Principal, and Teacher at fourteen different schools. He is currently working as an Interim Assistant Principal at Green Hope High School in Cary, NC.

David is married and his wife Kathi is a retired Special Education Teacher and Administrator. They live in Chapel Hill with their 10-year old Weimaraner, Merry, where they enjoy gardening, walking, hiking, and keeping busy. David and Kathi have two daughters and five grandchildren.

Dr. Marvin “Steve” McCoy

Dr. Marvin S. McCoy is a native Virginian and retired US Army Officer. He has a BA in Business Administration from Methodist University and a MSA in School Administration from Fayetteville State University where he also completed his Educational Doctoral degree. Dr. McCoy served in the North Carolina school system as a JROTC Senior Army Instructor, a middle grades math teacher, an Assistant Principal, Principal and an Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources. He is a K-12 educational consultant, author of the book “Teaching Is Not Just What You See.”, A Customer Retention Trainer, Workforce Synergy Specialist, and Motivational Speaker. Currently, he is an adjunct professor at the University of Mount Olive. His philosophy on teaching and leadership is: “I see teaching as a twofold opportunity; first, to help lead students in the direction of their chosen vocation, with the proper leadership and guidance; secondly, to make deposits in today’s students and future leaders that will pay lifetime dividends to them and society.”

Bill McNeal

Bill McNeal grew up in Durham County and is a product of Durham Public Schools (Merrick-Moore High School). He completed his Bachelors and Masters Degrees from North Carolina Central University in Social Studies and Political Science. He served two years in the Army, and began his teaching career in Danbury, Connecticut. After three years, he took a teaching job in the Wake County Public School System at Carroll Junior High.

Impressed by the number of highly qualified African-American leaders in Wake County, and inspired by role models such as his first Wake County Principal, Bill became a school leader himself. He was promoted to assistant principal at Carroll Junior High and then served as Principal at East Garner Middle and Martin Middle Schools.

Bill focused his career on serving the entire Wake County Public School System in 1985, when he became an assistant superintendent for administration, followed by the position of associate superintendent for auxiliary services. In 1992, he became associate superintendent for instructional services.

In 2000, the Wake County Board of Education called upon Bill to lead the school system as its chief executive officer. After becoming superintendent, he focused all of the school system’s energies on meeting the goal of having 95 percent of third- and eighth-grade students at or above grade level.

Bill has received many awards and honors for his public school service. He was named the North Carolina Superintendent of the Year in 2004 by the North Carolina Association of School Administrators (NCASA) and the North Carolina School Boards Association. That same year, the American Association of School Administrators named him National Superintendent of the Year. On July 1, 2005, he was appointed the Superintendent Advisor to the North Carolina State Board of Education.

Bill has focused his energy on providing services that assist other educators in their role as school administrators in North Carolina. He implemented NCASA’s Leadership Institute Series which offers powerful training and leadership seminars that focus on developing skill sets that help participants become stronger, more confident leaders and managers. In 2009, he co-authored A School District’s Journey to Excellence: Lessons from Business and Education with Tom Oxholm, which included a foreword written by Governor Jim Hunt.

He is married to Faye McNeal, a retired guidance counselor, and they have two married daughters; Tiffany Fox (Moses), Crystal Utley (Stacy) and four grandchildren (Tiffany Alexandria Utley, James Christopher Utley, Yahzmin Marie Fox and Moses Fox, IV

Marguerite Peebles

Marguerite D. Peebles has over thirty years of service as an educator, working at the state, local and national levels. Her most recent experience was with the U.S. Department of Education, where she served as a Project Manager for two projects, traveling to various states across the country providing training, monitoring Federal Programs, facilitating statewide contractual obligation meetings, developing strategic plans for school improvement, and reviewing Performance Work Statements. For over ten years, she was employed by the North Carolina Department of Education in various capacities. As a State Assistance Team Leader, she traveled to low-performing schools throughout the state developing strategies for moving schools forward. As Section Chief, she was responsible for Safe Schools and Instructional Support, which included: Safe and Drug Free Schools and Communities (Title IV, Part A), 21st Century Community Learning Center (Title IV, Part B) and numerous state initiatives such as, Alternative Learning Programs (ALPs), safe schools planning, character education, and required statewide reports. Prior to joining the Department of Education, she served as a principal, assistant principal, co-principal and counselor in the Chapel Hill and Durham School Systems. After her retirement, she was selected by North Carolina Central University’s Criminal Justice Department to lead a Governor’s Crime Commission Grant Project, collaborating with school systems and meeting with superintendents across the state addressing issues related to criminal justice, at-risk populations, dropout prevention, disproportionate minority contact (DMC), as well as other relevant topics.   Marguerite Peebles earned her undergraduate degree from North Carolina Central University, her graduate degree from Syracuse, University, completed her principal’s certification at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and attended Vanderbilt’s Principal’s Institute. Mrs. Peebles is a recipient of North Carolina’s Order of the Long Leaf Pine.

Dr. Joe Peel

Following his graduation from Davidson College, Joe Peel began his career as a German and Spanish teacher and football and wrestling coach at Myers Park High School in Charlotte. Seven years later he became assistant principal there and in 1980 became a junior high principal. After only one year in that position he was sent to Harding High as principal where he stayed for 4 years and then was sent back to Myers Park High as principal. Joe was named an area superintendent of 22 schools in 1988 and was the interim Deputy Superintendent in 1990-91. In July 1992 Joe was named superintendent of Elizabeth City Pasquotank Schools, a position he held until his retirement in June 2000. During his tenure as superintendent student test scores improved dramatically, the district was recognized not only for this achievement but also for its entreprenurialship by the governor and public confidence was restored in the public schools. The district was a statewide leader in the development of the ABCs Program and performance based assessment portfolios through the Outcome Based Education Initiative. Following his retirement Joe and his wife Carolyn moved to Raleigh where he started a leadership consulting business working with the five large districts in the Research Triangle Area. He provided training and development for teacher leaders, principals and worked with the district and schools to improve their strategic planning initiatives. This work was so successful that Joe has been frequently hired to consult with other states and large school districts who want to create leadership initiatives. In 2008 Joe retired again and they moved back to Elizabeth City. Since returning to the Northeast Joe has worked part time with the Department of Public Instruction as a District Transformation Coach and NC State University’s NELA. Perhaps the most important thing to know about Dr. Peel is that he is a family man. Carolyn, his wife of 45 years, and he have raised two sons both of whom are married and are public school educators. They enjoy their six grandchildren, three of whom reside in Elizabeth City.

Teresa Pierrie

Teresa Pierrie is the Director of Programs for WakeEd Partnership, an education non-profit supporting the mission of Wake County Public School System, where she designs and implements professional development in STEM and teacher leadership and manages programs supporting early childhood literacy. She serves in this role following a 30 year career in public education that included experience as a secondary English teacher, various roles as a central services administrator, and two principalships. Her specific passion and expertise are in the area of professional development, instructional innovation, and school culture and team development.

Teresa was the founding principal of Wake Young Women’s Leadership Academy, an innovative early college model merging middle school and high school education with leadership, single gender advocacy,  and college preparatory academics. Her work in innovative school models earned her recognition as a News and Observer “Tarheel of the Week” in August 2012. She also served as the principal of Wake Early College of Health Sciences.  Teresa has served on the boards of Wake County PTA Council and Partners Against Trafficking Humans in North Carolina.

A two-time North Carolina State University graduate, Teresa holds Masters’ degrees in Adult Education and School Administration. She and her husband Richard are the proud parents of three Wake County Public School System graduates, one of whom is currently pursuing a doctorate in school leadership from North Carolina State University. Teresa believes in the “work hard, play hard” philosophy, enjoying theater, traveling – especially camping, and bowling in her spare time.

Roy Teel

Roy Teel worked for Wake County Public schools for over 40 years, retiring for a second time in 2009.  He began his career as a social studies teacher in a junior high school and then a high school.  After serving as a high school assistant principal, he served as a principal in a middle school and 3 high schools. In addition to working in schools, Roy has worked in the Office of Student Assignment, coordinating magnet and year-round admissions and helping develop student reassignment plans. Also, he was a teacher recruiter for several years. While retired, Roy has served as an interim principal or assistant principal in approximately 20 schools (elementary, middle and high) in Wake County.


Wiladean Thomas

 Wiladean Thomas is a lifelong educator whose career spans 34 years in various public school settings. She began here educational career as a teacher assistant and has held numerous positions throughout her career, including that of assistant principal and principal. She was a principal for 14 years in the Wake County Public school system where she led two schools: Rand Road Elementary and Holly Grove Year round Elementary. One of the schools was deemed a low performing school as it was second from the bottom in terms of test scores in the district when she became principal. During her six year tenure at that location, test scores rose more than 20 percentage points. One of her career goals prior to retirement was to open a new school and she was given that opportunity in 2006. She opened Holly Grove Elementary in a wing of Holly Springs High School, while the school was being built. Initially, there was huge community concern regarding elementary and high school children being housed in the same building; however that concern quickly dissipated after many discussions and a few weeks in the building with no incidents. She had a very successful first year and continued the school’s tradition of creating an environment where children thrived when they moved in their new building. She was principal at Holly Grove for eight years prior to her retirement in 2014. Her undergraduate degree was earned from Fayetteville State University in Intermediate Education with a concentration in History. She also holds certifications in Mathematics and Reading. She was a member of the first cohort of NC Principal Fellows, where she attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and obtained her Masters of School Administration degree. Since her retirement, she has continued to work in interim positions in Wake County as assistant principal and principal at a number of schools over the past two years. She has a strong commitment and desire to work with children and educators. Her goal has always focused on creating learning environments that fostered teacher leaders who were committed to the success of all children, was student centered, and whose processes and procedures were clear. She considered these elements as the cornerstone in ensuring that her school community were well informed partners in their child’s education and thereby supported the schools’ effort to help every child reach his/her highest potential.

Dr. Mike Ward

Mike Ward. Ed.D. is an educational leader with over 37 years of public education service. He is president of The MEWs Educational Consulting, Inc. and serves as a consultant to state and local education leaders on matters related to leadership, school improvement, strategic planning, and assessment. From 1997 to 2004, Mike served two terms as State Superintendent of Public Instruction of North Carolina. Dr. Ward is past President of the Council of Chief State School Officers, whose members include state superintendents and education commissioners from across the country. He is also a past member of the National Assessment Governing Board, which oversees the administration of the National Assessment of Education Progress. His past experience includes service as a local superintendent of schools. He has also been a teacher, coach, and high school principal. Mike is a past recipient of North Carolina’s Superintendent of the Year award. A three-time graduate of North Carolina State University, he received the University’s Distinguished Alumnus Award. As a faculty member in the Department of Educational Leadership at The University of Southern Mississippi, he received the university’s Hero of Katrina Award and the College of Education and Psychology’s Excellence in Teaching Award. Mike is an active volunteer. He volunteers in the international relief work of Stop Hunger Now and is engaged in community development in South Sudan. He serves on the Advisory Board of the College of Education at North Carolina State University and on the board of the North Carolina Foundation for Public School Children.

Dr. Cathy Williams

Dr. Cathy Williams was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois. She began her teaching career in North Carolina in 1990. She retired in 2014 after spending nine years as a classroom teacher, three years as a Central Office administrator, and twelve years as a school administrator. Currently, she is employed as an interim school administrator throughout the Wake County Public School System. She is also an adjunct professor in the North Carolina State University’s Northeast Leadership Academy, teaching classes on leadership and school culture. Dr. Williams earned her Master’s Degree in 2002 and her Ed.D. in 2011, both in school leadership, from North Carolina State University. She is the mother of four adult daughters and has six grandchildren.