Dr. Cindy Bennett Next Vance County Schools Superintendent

At the regular meeting of the Vance County Board of Education Monday evening, the board voted unanimously to select Dr. Cindy Bennett as the next superintendent of Vance County Schools.

Presently Bennett serves as Assistant Superintendent for Student Services and Strategic Planning.

Effective July 1, she will replace Dr. Anthony Jackson who is leaving in early July to become superintendent in Chatham County, NC.  Jackson was superintendent for six years.

Board member Ruth Hartness made a motion that “the Vance County Board of Education offer the position of superintendent to Dr. Cindy Bennett.”

On the Zoom meeting it was difficult to hear exactly who seconded the motion, but there was an apparent zeal on the part of many members to do so.

Congratulations were offered and board members clapped.

Bennett said, “Thank you so much.  Madam chair, to all the board members, Dr. Jackson, I can’t thank you enough for this honor.  I love this community.  This community is my home, and I will do everything within my power to serve the children in this community and to give them all that they deserve.  Thank you again.  I am humbled.”

Board members clapped a second time after Bennett spoke.

In a press release from Vance County Schools, Board Chair Linda Cobb said, “Dr. Bennett is dedicated to our community, our schools and most importantly our students. We have been impressed with her work in Vance County Schools over the last six years. Her qualifications and experience beyond Vance County will allow her to boldly lead our district. We look forward to supporting her, working together towards
ongoing excellence.”

Bennett, who has worked for the North Carolina Department of Public instruction said in the Vance County Schools press release, “I am excited to lead an innovative, educational organization, that will expand educational opportunities for all learners.  Henderson has been my home now for over eleven years. I am honored to serve this community.”

Vance County Schools Center For Innovation

Vance Schools Superintendent Dr. Anthony Jackson shared his vision for the former Henderson Middle School campus recently with Vance County commissioners. The plan includes housing Vance Innovative Schools, as well as spaces for professional development and community use.

“We are excited about the impact this center will have for our staff, our students and in our community,” Jackson said in a written statement to WIZS. Originally unveiled to the school board in December 2020, Jackson shared the plan with commissioners at their Feb. 1 meeting.

Jackson predicts it will take $200,000 to replace the boiler in the main building and to make some cosmetic upgrades to other areas. That cost has been included in the district’s capital improvement budget; at this time, however, “we are not requesting any funding for the project from the county commissioners.”

The school opened in 1936; its last day as a middle school was in 2018, when the county’s two middle schools and two high schools were consolidated into one campus each. Vance County Middle School is located in the former Northern Vance High School. Since it ceased being a middle school, the former Henderson High School campus has housed several other school programs, but the new plan calls for a more comprehensive use of the space.

The building was in very good shape when the two middle schools consolidated, Jackson said, adding that the district had done a good job maintaining the building since then. Originally, the building was offered for sale, but with no immediate offers, Jackson said “instead of allowing it to fall into disrepair, we are using the space to meet district needs.”

Following is a list of specific programs and spaces that will be located in the building: (See map below)

  • STEM Early High School– providing a permanent home for the STEM School.  STEM is currently occupying space at Vance County High School serving 350 students.
  • Vance Virtual Village Academy–  office space and classroom space for testing and face-to-face meetings. V3A is currently serving more than 200 students.
  • Vance County Professional Practice Center– space for district professional development and training.
  • Wayne Adcock Community Auditorium– the auditorium will be used for our district fine arts programs and available to the community.
  • Advance Academy High School– currently located at the Charles Street location.
  • Vance County Empowerment Academy– currently located at the Charles Street location.
  • Vance County Evening Academy– currently located at the Charles Street location.
  • District TV Recording Studio– a new resource that is being fully funded by an anonymous gift to VCS.
  • Technology Assistance Center– currently located at the Charles Street location.

This slide prepared by Vance County Schools shows a mapped overview of the Center for Innovation as presently planned. It was presented to Vance County Commissioners at a regular meeting by Superintendent Dr. Anthony Jackson on February 1, 2021.

Local News Audio

Noon News 10-22-20 Vance County Schools; Domestic Violence Awareness

– Vance County Schools Attendance Matters Campaign
– Domestic Violence Awareness “Think Community” Saturday at Clearview Church, 3pm

Click Play for WIZS Noon News Audio and Full Details…


Local News Audio

Local News Audio 8-18-20 Noon WIZS

  • Latest Vance county COVID-19 numbers
  • Lt. Gov. candidate Mark Robinson to speak locally Wednesday
  • Vance Co. Schools internet hot spot locations needed
  • Vance-Granville Community College recognized as a top 10 school

Click Play to Listen…

WIZS – Your Community Voice…Noon Local News 08-18-20

Mobile Dairy Classroom visits Southern Vance

The Mobile Dairy Classroom from the Southland Dairy Farmers association, based in Texas, visited with Career and Technical Education students at Southern Vance High School during three class periods on September 20.


Courtney Bumgarner of the association, led each of the presentations to students. Her mobile classroom included a trailer, which is the “on the road” home for Clarice the Holstein cow, who is part of the presentations.


Bumgarner talked about the process of milking a cow, noting that most cows now are milked by machines with the process taking about eight minutes as opposed to 30 minutes when a person milks by hand.


She also shared with students the details of dairy production and the importance of dairy products and milk to our diet.


The mobile classroom is one of several across the United States provided through the farmers’ association. Bumgarner, who is based in Greensboro, visits schools across North Carolina. The Mobile Dairy Classroom makes presentations to students free of charge.


Dr. Laike Green, agriculture teacher at Southern Vance High School, arranged for the Mobile Dairy Classroom to visit at the school.

Dabney Elementary collects donations for Hurricane Harvey Relief

Students, parents and staff members at Dabney Elementary School collected over 1,800 basic personal items for donations to needy families affected by Hurricane Harvey in southeastern Texas.

The donations will be transported to Texas through the Salvation Army with local chapters of the organization ensuring that families who need the items the most will receive them.

All classrooms in pre-kindergarten through fifth grade donated items for the hurricane relief project. Donations included personal hygiene items, washcloths, towels, toilet tissue, paper towels, facial tissues, baby diapers, bottled water and much more.

Scarlett Ellis, who works in Exceptional Children’s classrooms at Dabney Elementary, coordinated the effort at the school. She was assisted by teachers and students in collecting and counting the items.

Vance County Board of Education presented Gold Bell Award

The Vance County Board of Education was presented with the Gold Bell Award from the N.C. School Boards Association (NCSBA) during the District 3 meeting for the organization in Chapel Hill on September 13.

The Gold Bell Award is a prestigious award presented by the NCSBA to boards after all of their members have successfully completed extensive training.

The local Board of Education members earned the award after each of the seven members completed 12 hours of training from July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2017.

The Gold Bell Award was presented during the district session held at Smith Middle School in Chapel Hill, and attended by representatives of 16 public school systems in the North Central Region of the state.

Members of the Vance County Board of Education who earned the award are Chairwoman Gloria J. White, Vice Chairwoman Darlynn Oxendine, Margaret Ellis, Dorothy Gooche, Ruth Hartness, Clementine Hunter and Edward Wilson.

Vance County Schools closes Western Vance High School Building

Vance County Schools has officially closed the Western Vance High School building on Poplar Creek Road near Henderson.

The facility will no longer be used to house instructional programs by the school system. Superintendent Anthony Jackson recommended relocating the programs currently housed at the Western facility to available unused space on the campus of Henderson Middle School. This recommendation was approved by the Vance County Board of Education at its meeting on June 12.

With the board’s action, the AdVance Academy formerly housed at Western Vance was relocated to a two-story building on the campus of Henderson Middle School (HMS) on Charles Street in Henderson. The school system’s Youth Empowerment Academy also has been moved to the same location and will use a portion of the first-floor area of the building. The Youth Empowerment Academy, a successful middle school intervention program, had been located in a portion of the old two-story building across from Eaton-Johnson Middle School on Beckford Drive in Henderson.

The decision to close the Western Vance facility was made to save operational costs for the school system and to utilize available space on the HMS campus. 

“As the board of education continues to look at strategies to improve the efficient use of resources, we will intentionally look internally for opportunities to maximize the use of all available tools as we continue working to improve student achievement,” Jackson said.

The two-story building, located to the right of the main entrance to HMS, has been updated to accommodate the academies. New flooring and painting were completed throughout the building. Improved lighting and new ceiling tiles also have been installed as part of our district-wide energy improvement project. Furniture and equipment from the AdVance Academy, Youth Empowerment Academy and Evening Academy were moved to the new location, as well. Art panels designed by students from Southern Vance High School will be placed on the entrance wall facing the street and will provide just a glimpse of the modern feel of the facility. This site will focus not only on strong academics, but on social and emotional development for students. It will provide clubs, workplace experiences and visits to universities and colleges to ensure students understand the opportunities available to them upon graduation.

Principal Stephanie Ayscue is leading a staff of core teachers at AdVance Academy, where approximately 90 high school students complete much of their course work using a blended learning model of both face-to-face and online instruction in a technology-infused environment where students and staff are consistently encouraged to be innovative. Dr. Ralphel Holloman continues as the coordinator for the Youth Empowerment Academy, which serves middle school students with a team of instructors and community volunteers who provide a multitude of experiential opportunities for the middle school students as a means of helping them choose a career pathway. The Evening Academy, coordinated by Kerry Morrison, will continue to provide another option for middle and high school students who need an alternative pathway to complete their high school experience. All of the programs at AdVance Academy are presented using blended learning models in collaborative environments where students are given opportunities to choose their pathways to graduation.

The academies operate separately from Henderson Middle School. The main entrance to the academies is located on the front of the building facing Charles Street. Signs have been erected at the entrance to direct visitors.

Vance County Schools celebrates Day 1 of 2017-2018 School Year

Approximately 5,400 students reported today for their first day of classes for the 2017-2018 at 15 Vance County Schools with all indications that the day ran very smoothly at all school sites.

They join the approximately 600 students already in school since early August at E.M. Rollins Elementary School and Early College High School. After the Labor Day holiday, over 300 pre-kindergarten students also will be attending classes in our 10 elementary schools.

Students arrived at elementary, middle and high schools with their book bags and other school supplies, ready to begin work for the new school year. School administrators and educators greeted them prepared for the new year as well, since they had started work for the year on August 17 and had their classrooms ready to go.

Superintendent Anthony Jackson continued his tradition of riding the bus with a kindergarten student for the first morning. Today, he accompanied Za’Khiyah Durham, who attends Aycock Elementary School, on her first bus ride to school.

At Aycock Elementary School, administrators, teachers, counselors and others greeted the students outside the school’s main entrance with lively music playing and waving purple-and-gold pom poms. School staff members later led all of the students in a “Pep Rally” held in the school’s multipurpose room as a way to get the school off to an energetic start.

The AdVance Academy opened to about 80 students in its new location on the campus of Henderson Middle School. The school system’s Youth Empowerment Academy also occupies a portion of the same building.

The STEM Early High School also opened in a new location, along the 600 Hall area at Southern Vance High School.

Both new locations provide the schools with additional space that is more convenient for students, parents and staff members.

No real issues or problems were reported at any schools. Several schools also had new students to enroll today for the school year.

Vance County Schools host successful Open House Sessions

Students and their parents crowded into schools during the late afternoon and early evening on August 24, as the schools hosted their annual Open House sessions prior to classes beginning for the new school year.


Classes begin for students at 15 of our 17 schools on Monday, August 28.


School already has been in session for several weeks at the STEAM Academy, at E.M. Rollins Elementary School and the Vance County Early College High School.


Principals, teachers and other staff members welcomed families into their schools during Open House, which was held from 3 to 7 p.m. Students and parents took advantage of the sessions to meet their teachers for the new year, receive important information, get those school supply lists and tour the buildings.