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Stegall bids farewell after 45 years of service

UCPS Deputy Superintendent Dr. Bill Stegall bids farewell at a recent principal’s meeting. Also pictured is Assistant Superintendent Dr. David Clarke.

It's a very different school system today than when UCPS Deputy Superintendent Dr. Bill Stegall took a job as an eighth-grade English and Social Studies teacher at Unionville Elementary.

In 1964, when he began his career with the Union County Schools (as it was then called), elementary schools were first through eighth grade. As of yet, the middle school concept had not been created. Stegall, however, would help change that in the not too distant future.

He taught at Unionville for about three years, also coaching boys and girls basketball, and then was offered the principalship at Union Elementary (also a K-8 school).

Because of a teacher shortage, Stegall continued to teach while serving as principal at Union Elementary.
It was during this time that the schools became integrated. There was little impact felt at Stegall's school, he said, noting that, all in all, desegregation in Union County went fairly smoothly.

"It caused reorganization and restructuring of the school system," he said. "For the most part, it was a smooth transition in Union County, compared to some other school systems."

After being a principal at Union Elementary for several years, he once again made a major change in his career, becoming Director of Elementary Education in the late 1970s.

He served in this role for about a decade, and then stepped into the role as Assistant Superintendent of Instruction (K-12) in the early 1980s. Several years later, Stegall was named Associate Superintendent, overseeing Instruction and Auxiliary Services and Finance in the late 1980s.

In 1993, Stegall witnessed the merger of Union County Schools and Monroe City Schools, creating the Union County Public Schools. "Obviously (Union County Schools) was much larger than Monroe City Schools, but as much as possible, it was viewed as a true merger of the two systems; holding on to the positives of both systems," he said. "I think it went much more smoothly than many thought it would."

In the year 2000, Stegall was named Deputy Superintendent of Instruction (K-12), a role he continues today.
During his career, Stegall has been a vital thread in the tapestry that is the Union County Public Schools, one of the most successful school systems in North Carolina. “He has served this school district with pride and distinction,” said UCPS Superintendent Dr. Ed Davis. “A lot of the reasons that we’re the quality district that we are, in a lot of areas, but particularly in curriculum and instruction, are because of his wisdom, his leadership, vision and knowledge.”

When Stegall began his career in the mid 1960s, Union County Schools was a very rural school system of approximately 10,000 students. The county had yet to experience the explosive growth that was to dominate the new millennium. In fact, lack of students forced the closure of a school in Weddington in the mid 1970s, a school that was so small, it only had three teachers.

When the middle school program was initiated in the mid 1970s, creating separate schools for grades six through eight, Stegall’s role was to coordinate the development of educational specifications for the implementation of this new concept.

This was just one of the many contributions that Stegall made during his 45 years of service. Now he begins a new journey.

He started in the classroom and now he will go back to the classroom, but on the university level. Stegall expands his role as an adjunct professor of education at Wingate University, to serve as a full-time professor.
"I do enjoy teaching, there's no doubt about that," he said. "University students are investing their time and money and their professional growth, and it's the obligation of the professors to do the best they can to make sure they get their money's worth."

When looking back on the past 45 years, Stegall said he is very proud to have played a role in helping make Union County Public Schools the great system it is today.

"I am very proud to have been a part of what I think has been a school system that has grown and developed into one of the best school systems in the state. Along with that, is the chance to have helped identify and work with the people who have been so critically important to that process, especially the people who have been responsible for the instructional program from a system level and at the school level."

A complete list of Stegall's accomplishments and recognitions wouldn't fit on the page, but some highlights include being voted Administrator of the Year by the Union County Educational Office Professionals and the NC School Library Media Association, and Administrator of the Year Region VI by the NC Middle School Association.

He also won an award for "Sustained and Significant Contributions to the Southwest by the Education Alliance by the Superintendents’ Council. He has served under six superintendents, Dan Davis, Dr. Paul Hammack, Dr. Nancy Davis, Cliff Dodson, Dr. Jerry Thomas and Dr. Ed Davis.

Stegall said the past 45 years have passed quickly, and retiring is bitter sweet. “I can't stress enough that I've enjoyed the work. I certainly have mixed feelings about retirement. A major portion of that enjoyment is the people I've had the opportunity to work with, now as well as in the past, and the belief that what we've done has made a difference for the students that we've served.”

Written by: Deb Coates Bledsoe, Publications Coordinator
Posted: Jul 01, 2009 by Don Mace

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