Dr. Ethan Lenker, Superintendent of Pitt County Schools, was awarded the NC Association of School Administrators’ (NCASA) 2023 Raymond Sarbaugh Leadership Award during the NCASA 2023 Conference on Educational Leadership. This award, named in honor of NCASA’s first full-time Executive Director, the late Raymond Sarbaugh, is given annually to an NCASA member who shows outstanding leadership in public school service, as well as a commitment to enhancing and supporting the efforts of fellow school administrators and NCASA. Over his decades of service to North Carolina public schools, Dr. Lenker has distinguished himself as a “leader among leaders” through his tireless dedication to improving public schools and for his support of his school leader colleagues and the thousands of students they serve.
A true servant leader, Dr. Lenker is deeply committed to the success of not only his own students and staff, but to the success of all public schools students in North Carolina. When he is not visiting schools and monitoring achievements in his own district, Dr. Lenker can likely be found uplifting his colleagues through his work on numerous boards and committees, including the Board of Directors for NCASA and the NC School Superintendents’ Association (NCSSA) Board. In these leadership positions, Dr. Lenker routinely commits himself to understanding nuanced situations, encouraging change when necessary, and always providing support to colleagues in need. His ongoing willingness to collaborate with others and tireless advocacy on behalf of our public schools make him truly deserving of this prestigious leadership award.
Dr. Ethan Lenker was selected as Superintendent of Pitt County Schools in 2013, following several years as Superintendent of Sampson County Schools and Jones County Schools. Dr. Lenker was given numerous awards in recognition of his leadership, including but not limited to the NCASA Southeast Superintendent of the Year, the NCSSA Dr. Brad Sneeden Leadership Award, and Superintendent of the Year by three different education regions across our state. In addition to his service as Superintendent, Dr. Lenker has also served as a central office director, principal, assistant principal, and teacher in various NC school systems. Dr. Lenker received his Bachelor’s Degree in Mathematics Education and his Master of Arts in Education from Virginia Tech University, as well as his Doctorate of Education from East Carolina University.
“His commitment to public schools and the students they serve is second to none and it shows in all aspects of his work,” says NCASA Executive Director, Katherine Joyce. “Also as a go-to colleague that North Carolina’s newer — and even the most veteran —superintendents rely on, Dr. Ethan Lenker has distinguished himself as a ‘leader among leaders,’ making him very deserving of this prestigious NCASA award.”