Former Superintendent to Lead Wake Education Partnership

RALEIGH, N.C. – Wake Education Partnership has named former Durham Public Schools Superintendent Ann Denlinger as the organization’s new president. A former classroom teacher, principal and superintendent who has worked in Wake, Wilson and Durham counties, Denlinger will take over the leadership role at Wake Ed on May 1.

“Ann is well-qualified to lead Wake Education Partnership by virtue of her demonstrated experience as a powerful leader in education,” said John McKinney, chair of the Partnership’s Board of Directors. “But what makes Ann such a great fit for Wake Ed is her dedication to improving our community and the lives of our students through excellent public education.”

Denlinger most recently worked as a senior associate at the Schlechty Center for Leadership and School Reform helping teachers, administrators, superintendents, school board members and community leaders improve public schools throughout the United States. Previously, she served as superintendent of Durham Public Schools from 1997 to 2006, making her one of the longest-serving superintendents in North Carolina. During her tenure, student achievement increased substantially on measures including end-of-grade tests, SAT scores and dropout rates.

“Throughout my 40-year career, my only purpose, whether as a teacher or a superintendent, was to provide all students with a top-quality education. I believe the experience and insights I bring from my 15 years as a superintendent will be a great benefit to Wake Ed and to the community,” said Dr. Denlinger. “This organization is more important now than ever, as the Wake County Public School System is at critical junction in its history. I am excited about the opportunity to lead Wake Education Partnership as we work with business, school and community leaders to make world-class public schools a reality in Wake County.”

Denlinger was the first woman to be named the N.C. Superintendent of the Year in 2000 and was the first superintendent to receive the prestigious Durham Chamber of Commerce Civic Honor Award in 2003. She became the sixth recipient of the Jay Robinson Leadership Award in 2006, given by the Public School Forum of North Carolina in recognition of her deep commitment to helping all children achieve higher levels of performance.

“Ann is a highly effective educator with a long record of leadership and management experience. She has a very solid understanding of the fundamental ingredients of the education process, and she is able to pursue those principles and make them work,” said Bob Bridges, former Wake County schools superintendent. “With her attention to detail, organization and planning, she’ll do extremely well getting the job done at Wake Ed.”

Bridges was a principal in southeast Raleigh when he hired Denlinger in the late 1960s as the district began integrating faculties despite the fact that students were still segregated. The two continued to work together as their careers progressed in the Wake County Public School System. Bridges describes her work as “superb.”

Before coming to Durham, Denlinger served as superintendent of Wilson County Schools. She previously served as assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction in the Wake County Public School System, after working as a principal and teacher in the former Raleigh City Schools for more than 20 years. She earned an associate of arts degree from Peace College and holds both a doctorate and a master’s degree in education administration from Campbell University. Denlinger grew up in Fuquay-Varina and attended public schools there.

About Wake Education Partnership

Wake Ed is an advocacy organization dedicated to making world-class schools possible in Wake County through business and community involvement. We play a critical role in bringing people together, raising the level of discussion through capacity building, and brokering information and relationships around key issues in public education. Programs for 2006-07 focus on retaining effective teachers, developing effective education leaders, and ensuring healthy schools for all students. For more information, please visit

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