Mark Byrd, superintendent of Wilkes County Schools, has been named the Region Seven Superintendent of the Year by the Northwest Regional Educational Service Alliance (NWRESA) for 2021-22.
The Northwest Regional Superintendent of the Year Award winner is chosen by superintendents of 13 school districts in northwestern North Carolina. Byrd is one of eight regional superintendents of the year who will compete for N.C. Superintendent of the Year.
Dr. Stewart Hobbs, NWRESA executive director, presented the award to Byrd during the Wilkes Board of Education’s June 7 meeting. Hobbs said then that the award is based on professionalism, leadership, achievement, participation in organizations “and just being a good guy.”
He said it’s been a long time since a NWRESA superintendent of the year has won the statewide honor, “but I think we’ve got a good one to bring it home.”
Byrd, a Wilkes native, has worked in education for 26 years.
Byrd is a graduate of North Wilkes High School and began his teaching career there. He has served as a coach, assistant principal, principal and central office administration. Byrd became superintendent of the Wilkes County Schools in January 2016.
He has a bachelor’s degree in history and secondary education from Appalachian State University, as well as an education specialist degree from Appalachian. Byrd has a master’s degree in school administration from Gardner Webb University. He was selected as Elkin City School’s Principal of the Year in 2011.
Byrd serves on the board of directors of the N.C. High School Athletic Association and on the Wilkes Medical Center Advisory Board. He is vice president for education on the Wilkes Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and as Chairman of the NWRESA Superintendent’s Council for the 2020-2021 school year.
“This award is not a reflection of me, but of the hard work of the more than 1,500 employees of Wilkes County Schools,” Byrd said in a statement released later.
“They are the ones who deserve the true recognition. Their efforts for our students during a worldwide pandemic have been second to none and my hope is that the people of our county appreciate what they have accomplished. I am proud of what we were able to do for our students as well as what we will do moving forward. The success of anyone in a leadership role is a reflection of the people around them, and this honor is certainly a reflection of the hard work of the students and staff of Wilkes County Schools.”
Hobbs thanked the Wilkes Board of Education for providing it office space in the Wilkes County Schools’ administrative building on Cherry Street, North Wilkesboro.
NWRESA provides professional services, staff development and other support for public schools in northwest North Carolina. It encompasses the Wilkes, Alleghany, Alexander, Ashe, Avery, Burke, Caldwell, Catawba, Watauga, Elkin City, Hickory City and Newton-Conover City school districts, as well as the N.C. School for the Deaf in Morganton.