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Shelby strengthens strings programs through grant, performances, and early start

posted Jan 6, 2017, 12:46 PM by Greg Shull

Many students in Shelby, North Carolina now have the opportunity to learn and enjoy strings instruments, starting as early as kindergarten. Thanks to the work of Jennie Quinn, orchestra director at Shelby Middle and Shelby Intermediate, the foresight of Morgen Champney, music teacher at Graham Elementary, and the sustained program excellence and performance opportunities provided at the direction of John Champney, orchestra director at Shelby High, students can orchestrate a “string” of opportunities. Yes, all pun intended.

Morgen Champney began teaching this year at Graham Elementary where she has assembled a strings program for kindergarten through fourth-grade students. There, students begin on percussion instruments learning timing and note placement and transition to violins to begin their strings training.

“Since we know that many pathways in the brain are set by age nine, my goal is to catch these children early and help them develop and cultivate additional musical skills,” said Morgen Champney. “Learning violin, along with other aspects of basic music competence, will help these students in so many aspects of their learning career - focus, attention, diligence, patience, enjoyment and more.”

Students then transition to Shelby Intermediate School where they are afforded the opportunity to begin or extend their training, thanks to Mrs. Quinn’s ability to obtain new instruments to the to the “tune” of over $21,000 from The Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation Grant received earlier this year.

“Learning music in school is a way to engage kids and give them something that makes them better students and better people,” said Felice Mancini, President & CEO of The Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation. “They deserve every tool available to help them receive a quality education, and we want to ensure that music is in that toolbox."

“The Shelby Intermediate School Orchestra received 3basses, 5 violas, and 12 violins that are currently being used by students who might otherwise not have the opportunity to take part in the orchestra program,” said Jennifer Quinn. “These students have shown growth on their instruments and are showing a great amount of responsibility by taking good care of these brand new instrument.”

Once through sixth-grade, students go to Shelby Middle where they receive additional training from Mrs. Quinn.

“The orchestra program has greatly benefited from this generous gift because it helps to diversify our program and offers a new opportunity for all our students,” added Quinn.

“We are extremely proud of our strings department at Shelby Middle School,” said Dustin Bridges, principal at Shelby Middle. “Our orchestra of nearly 90 students, is playing the most complex music that our middle school orchestra has ever played--helping set the stage for the great things that await them at Shelby High.”

From there, students grow into various levels of strings programs at Shelby High, where they have performed at world-renowned venues such as Carnegie Hall in New York City, the Strathmore in Washington D.C., and Davies Hall in San Francisco.

“It is so important that in the arts we focus on the big picture of what we do in the classroom each day,” said John Champney. “Providing musical opportunities that are going to help enrich our students from both a music perspective as well as a global perspective is crucial. The reality is most of our students will not go on to pursue music as a career. What we must focus on is how the musical experiences in their lives help to guide students in directions they may have never considered were possible had it not been for the music enrichment in their lives.”

This is just one of many exceptional educational experiences offered to students in Cleveland County Schools,” said Greg Shull, the district arts coordinator and director of communications. “The arts

Champney added, “Performing music helps to create vision and drive in young students to achieve in all areas.”

Now Screening for Preschool

posted Jan 6, 2017, 12:27 PM by Greg Shull

Cleveland County Schools is now scheduling appointments for preschool screenings.  If your child will be 4 years of age by Aug. 31, 2017, please contact the Office of School Readiness at (704) 476-8064 to make a screening appointment.

Employee Spotlight

posted Dec 22, 2016, 7:09 AM by Greg Shull   [ updated Dec 23, 2016, 7:39 PM ]

James Baker – Crest High Math Teacher and Asst. Football Coach

CCS Work History
I worked four years at Shelby Middle and this year came to Crest high. I have always taught mathematics and coached football. I graduated from Crest in 2003.

I graduated from Gardner-Webb University in 2007 with a Bachelor's degree in religious education with a minor in mathematics. I graduated from the Godbold School of Business at Gardner-Webb in 2010 with a Master’s in business administration with a concentration in human information systems. I received my teaching license through a program from the TNTP organization, Teach Charlotte, which allowed me to teach my first year in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools.

My wife, Lindsey, is a certified tutor at Boiling Springs Elementary. We have a 2-year-old daughter, Julia Marie, and a newborn son, AJ.

What do you like best about your school/work location?
I love teaching at Crest because of a couple of reasons: it is where I graduated from, so there is a sense of pride and tradition; and I get to coach football at the best program in the state of North Carolina. The Crest community invested a lot in me when I played here in the early 2000's, so being able to give back is a pleasure in itself.

If you could give students one piece of advice, what would it be and why?
Being a math teacher, I say it all the time: "Show your work." This piece of advice is useful in all types of educational settings. Showing your work proves that you understand the processes that are needed to find a solution to a problem. Showing your work also allows you to see where flaws might exist when trying to find the solution.

Why is Cleveland County Schools special to you?
Cleveland County Schools is special to me because it has provided jobs for a number of people in my family. My mother taught in the system for 30 plus years; my wife teaches, my mother in law teaches and I teach, so I am very grateful for the opportunity to serve our students and community which make up Cleveland County Schools.

Ashley Gilmore – Second Grade Teacher at Graham Elementary

CCS Work History
I am a product of Cleveland County, and after graduating college, I decided to return home to give back to my community.

I graduated from Kings Mountain High School and am a graduate of Western Carolina University with a major in Elementary Education and minor in sociology.

I have one brother, George, a sister, Havyn. I am the daughter of Henry and Wanda Gilmore.

What do you like best about your school/work location?
I LOVE the staff at Graham Elementary; we are truly a team that has come together to do what's best for our students.

If you could give students one piece of advice, what would it be and why?
Do everything with a sprinkle of love.

Why is Cleveland County Schools special to you?
It raised me and made me who I am. I am glad to say I am from this wonderful county!

Angie Knapp – Title I Administrative Assistant at Central Services

CCS Work History
I have been at Central Services as the Title 1 Administrative Assistant for a little over a year.

I have a Bachelor of Arts in Communications with a concentration in Advertising from Appalachian State University.

My husband, John Knapp, and I have been married for 19 years and have two children, Reagan and John Michael. Our children keep us very busy with their many extracurricular activities. Reagan is in 9th grade at Crest High, and John Michael is in 3rd grade at Boiling Springs Elementary.

What do you like best about your school/work location?
The relationship that has grown between the staff in the Title 1 office is the true meaning of comradery. Tamara Goforth, Laura Beaver, Gina Gold, Lisa Stachowicz, and Cindy Witherspoon are amazing women that give their all every day. I am blessed to work with such a motivated and experienced group of people that I have learned so much from. These ladies are my friends, and it is a pleasure to work with them. Together, we work hard and laugh hard.

If you could give students one piece of advice, what would it be and why?
Be a blessing to others. Be a friend to all. Encourage someone. Take time to care. Let your words heal, and not wound. John and I try to encourage our children to conduct themselves in this manner.

Why is Cleveland County Schools special to you?
CCS is special to me because my son attends Boiling Springs Elementary and my daughter is a student at Crest High School. CCS provides my children and others with a superior education along with making a positive impact on their lives. My kids have received first-rate love and care over the years. CCS has also afforded me with a job I love and a group of women who have become my friends.

Margaret Spangler Thomas – Teacher at Kings Mountain Middle

CCS Work History
I am in my 8th year as a 7th grade Social Studies teacher at Kings Mountain Middle School. I have been a member of the School Improvement Team team, Professional Learning Community leader for my department, and participated in many workshops throughout the county. I am a 2004 graduate of Crest Senior High.

I graduated from North Carolina State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Middle Grades Education with a focus in History and English.

I am newly married to my wonderful husband, Robbie Thomas. He and I grew up together even going to college together, and that friendship grew to love. We have two sweet puppies, Sadie Mae, a toy schnauzer, and Shelby, a German short-haired pointer. My family is from Cleveland County and very active in our community.

What do you like best about your school/work location?
I love my co-workers and the level of love and support at KMMS! We have great support from our parents and community.

If you could give students one piece of advice, what would it be and why?

Be kind! You never know what someone is carrying with them as they walk through the day.

Why is Cleveland County Schools special to you?

This is my home. I have spent my life in Cleveland County Schools and couldn't imagine any other place.

Dr. David Walker – Principal at Casar Elementary

CCS Work History
I am a product of Cleveland County Schools. I attended Casar Elementary School, Burns Junior High School, and Burns Senior High School. I began work as a teacher and coach at Burns High School in 1990. I taught math and coached soccer and baseball. In 1994, I switched roles and became a driver education teacher. In 2002, I changed jobs again and became an assistant principal at Burns High School. I was very fortunate to become principal of Casar Elementary School in 2014.

I received a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics/Secondary Education and certification in Driver and Traffic Safety Education from Appalachian State University in 1990. In 1994, I earned a Master of Arts degree in School Administration at Gardner-Webb University. I completed a Doctor of Education degree in Educational Leadership at Gardner-Webb University in 2006.


I am married to Tonya Walker who works as an EC Compliance Manager with Cleveland County Schools. We have two daughters. Morgan is in eighth grade at Burns Middle School, and Jordan is in second grade at Casar Elementary School.

What do you like best about your school/work location?
It is an honor to return to Casar Elementary School as principal since this is where I began my education many years ago. We have wonderful students, a very caring staff, and a supportive community.

If you could give students one piece of advice, what would it be and why?
Always work hard and never give up. I guess that's really two pieces of advice, but they go hand-in-hand. When there are stumbling blocks in the road of life, don't quit. Don't give up. Keep working hard, and you will find ways to overcome the difficulties.

Why is Cleveland County Schools special to you?

Cleveland County Schools provided me with a quality education while I was a student. I've spent my entire career working in this school system, and I've seen the hard work and dedication from employees here. I'm proud to be a part of Cleveland County Schools.

Shelby Civitan Club delivers holiday cheer to students at North Shelby School

posted Dec 21, 2016, 5:39 AM by Greg Shull   [ updated Dec 21, 2016, 5:50 AM ]

The Shelby Civitan Club recently held its annual Christmas party at North Shelby School, a school for special purpose school located in Shelby, North Carolina. Over 100 Junior Civitan students from Crest Middle as well as Burns, Crest, and Shelby high schools, converged at the party again to partner with North Shelby students in relay games, singing holiday songs, enjoying some good eats and treats, but more importantly, uniting in celebration.

Roger Harris, the president of the Shelby Civitan Club, explained, “The event helps form friendships and break down barriers by learning acceptance and toleration of differences.”

Travis Mangum, the vice president of the Shelby Civitan Club, emcees the party annually. As the emcee, Mangum provides direction for the students and volunteers making sure the event goes off without a hitch. He even gets to introduce Santa Claus who brings presents to every North Shelby student, specific to their Christmas wishes.

“This is the big event for our Civitan club, and we try to make it bigger and better each year,” said Mangum. "As the parent of two special needs children, it just warms my heart when kids with special needs are treated as equals. That happens each year at our Christmas party and I hope it continues for years to come."

“The planning for this party begins the afternoon of the previous year’s event,” added Harris. “The fundraisers are ongoing, and collaboration takes place often with North Shelby School staff members to provide unique experiences each year.”

Fully funded for over 40 years by the Shelby Civitan Club, the party provides a warm, heartfelt experience for everyone involved.

Mangum adds, “It is just a quality time and what makes Christmas special and meaningful.”

“We’re fortunate to have such caring and philanthropic partners as the Shelby Civitan Club members,” said Allison Hodges, principal at North Shelby School. This event affords our students the opportunity to enjoy Christmas while interacting with other students – of similar age - from across the county.”

If you are interested in joining the Shelby Civitan Club or wish to donate towards this worthwhile experience, contact Roger Harris at

New champions emerge at annual Math Field Day competition

posted Dec 13, 2016, 1:47 PM by Greg Shull

The Cleveland County Schools Central Services hosted the 24th annual mathematics competition sponsored by the Cleveland County Schools Educational Foundation, PPG Industries, and Laughlin Furniture Outlet. The holiday-themed competition – “It’s Beginning to Look A Lot Like Math Day!” provided the opportunity for students to showcase their minds as they competed for top honors.

Participating students were from Boiling Springs, Casar, Fallston, Springmore, Township Three, Union and Washington elementary schools, and Kings Mountain and Shelby intermediate schools.

The Shelby Intermediate Exponential Elves were the overall problem-solving grand champions for the day, edging out the defending champions, Casar Elementary Number Nutcrackers 2K16, who took second place. Rounding out the top three was KMIS Mathletes #1.

Problem Solving Tasks and Winners

  • Task 1: It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas – Students applied their knowledge in order of operations to solve numerical expressions. The winning team for this task is: Union Wise Men
  • Task 2: Santa Plans Hawaiian Vacation– Students designed and constructed swimming pool models. The winning team for this task is: Casar Number Nutcrackers 2K16
  • Task 3: Santa’s Christmas Eve Adventure – Students applied their knowledge of fractional concepts to reason about the size of fractions with different denominators and solve tasks requiring various operations. The winning team for this task is: Shelby Intermediate Exponential Elves
  • Task 4: Where Are You Christmas? – Students applied their knowledge of our base-10 system to examine and manipulate other place value systems. The winning team for this task: Casar Number Nutcrackers 2K16

Team Award
Working together, sharing ideas, and communicating while solving math challenges are vital to any team’s success. The following team exhibited outstanding collaboration: KMIS Mathletes Team 3.

One competition titled, Do You Think What I Think?, required students to use their mental math skills to answer a total of 50 questions.  Students were not allowed to solve problems using paper or pencil.  They had to solve all problems mentally. The highest scoring students on each team for the Do You Think What I Think? challenge are as follows:

  • BSE’s Yuletide Chargers: Benjamin Rose
  • Casar’s Number Nutcrackers 2K16: Arlenn Hyland
  • Fallston’s Festive Factors: Tie: Jaden Pierce & Conner Smith
  • KMIS’s Mathletes Team 1: Reed Cooper
  • KMIS’s Mathletes Team 2: Matthew Morrow
  • KMIS’s Mathletes Team 3: Sara Kate Bridges
  • SIS’s Mathematical Elves: Maggie Alexander
  • SIS’s Exponential Elves: Ga’ Laysia McEntire
  • SIS’s Math Reindeer: Samiah Moore
  • Springmore’s Claus Dawgs: Allie Jones
  • Township Three’s Gifted Grinches: Chase Ledbetter
  • Union’s Wise Men: Zachary Currier
  • Washington’s Christmas II (pi): Michael Allen

Click here to watch the Math Field Day awards ceremony that was presented “live” by the CCS Media.

Request for Proposal for Application and Hiring Tracking System

posted Dec 12, 2016, 1:29 PM by Greg Shull

The official Request for Proposal (RFP) for an application and hiring tracking system has now been released.

Qualifying service providers are invited to download the attached information packet (bottom of this article) to review the RFP. 

All RFPs must be mailed to:
Jennifer S. Wampler
400 West Marion Street
Shelby, NC 28150

All bids must be received by 2 p.m. on January 13, 2017.

Proposed District Calendar for 2018-2019 school year

posted Nov 29, 2016, 7:58 AM by Greg Shull

The Cleveland County Schools’ Calendar Committee has developed a calendar for the 2018-2019 school year for consideration. 

We would like for you to take a moment to tell us your thoughts about the proposed calendar. Before doing so, please review the following parameters from North Carolina's calendar law. 

NC Calendar Law requires the following:
  • The school calendar is composed of 215 days, including all planning days, holidays, & annual leave days.
  • The instructional calendar can be either 185 days or 1,025 hours of instruction covering at least 9 months. Our schools have enough instructional hours to allow for a 180-day instructional calendar. 
  • School system employees are entitled to the same number of holidays as are given to other state employees, which is 11 for 2018-19 years. Veterans Day is the only required holiday. 
  • Employees are entitled to a minimum of 10 Annual Leave days. Annual Leave days can be put before, during, or after instructional days. It is not recommended that annual leave days be put at the beginning of school due to issues it creates with beginning teacher and lateral entry programs required by the state. 
  • The total number of workdays for teachers cannot exceed 195, so only 14 planning days can be designated. The first day for students will be the Monday closest to August 26.The last for students can be no later than the Friday closest to June 11.

Mascot ready to lead the charge against bullying

posted Nov 9, 2016, 1:06 PM by Greg Shull

Wooly No Bully is Cleveland County’s newest anti-bullying advocate. Wooly will work alongside school leaders to educate students about the importance of positive behavior and commits all of his time and energy to the prevention of bullying.

Through a hooves on the ground, grassroots effort, Wooly plans to have face-to-snout interaction with students. He will visit schools to introduce himself and his bully prevention program. Wooly also hopes to provide new children’s literature about his adventures and encounters.

“Wooly No Bully is a handful, but wholeheartedly cares about the well-being of every student,” said Greg Shull, Wooly’s current handler. “He has already visited with principals and Central Services and is almost ready to make his debut in our schools.”

For more information about Wooly or how to schedule Wooly for a visit, you can contact Wooly’s handler, Greg Shull, by phone at (704) 476-8030 or via email at

“Wooly has a ton of energy and is certain to make an enormous impact,” said Ronny Funderburke, director of administrative services for Cleveland County Schools. “All pun intended, he plans to grab bullying by the horns and show it to the door as it is not welcomed in our schools or our community.”

If you wish to report bullying, call the Bullying Tip Line at (704) 476-8169 or report it anonymously by visiting the CCS website and clicking the “Report Bullying or Cyberbullying” link under the Students tab located in the top navigation menu.


Students get involved in bully prevention

posted Nov 8, 2016, 1:38 PM by Greg Shull

Although October is recognized as National Bully Prevention Month, the local prevention efforts are ongoing.

Students of Cleveland County recently participated in a districtwide contest in which they could either create signage or submit a digital project. Boiling Springs Elementary won the elementary poster contest; Kings Mountain High took top honors in the secondary poster contest, and Cleveland Early College excelled as the digital media winner.

“I believe our students have some of the most creative minds in the world,” said Ronny Funderburke, director of administrative services for Cleveland County Schools. "I am not only amazed by their creativity, but their commitment to their peers in eradicating bullying.”

Boiling Springs Elementary 

Kings Mountain High 

Cleveland Early College

Students Revered for Courage and Strength of Character

posted Nov 3, 2016, 8:17 AM by Greg Shull

Elementary and intermediate schools honored student Heroes at the annual Carl DeBrew Heroes Program at the LeGrand Center. The Heroes were selected by their school for being successful while coping with learning disorders, physical handicaps or other circumstances.

Annually, the CCS Educational Foundation teams with Laughlin Furniture Outlet to recognize inspirational students in Cleveland County Schools. Each Hero is presented to the audience as their inspirational stories are shared and applauded.

“As their stories of courage, character, kindness and perseverance are shared by the caring educators, we are humbled in our efforts to give recognition,” said Tammy Scruggs, vice president of Fifth Third Bank and a member of the CCS Educational Foundation Board of Directors. “One can clearly see that the true gifts are the ones these children give daily with the loving smiles, hugs, care and concern they show for others’ in spite of their own adversities.”

Our Heroes did not leave empty-handed as they received personalized medallions, certificates, t-shirts, and backpacks filled with goodies.

“What an uplifting night,” said Jamey Davis, vice president of the CCS Educational Foundation. “To be reminded that many more people have overcome great adversities is humbling and it is an honor to be part of the Carl DeBrew Heroes experience.”

“I am grateful to Cleveland County Educational Foundation and Mr. Carl DeBrew for creating this opportunity for us to be blessed as we honor these TRUE HEROES who are such a blessing to others,” Scruggs added.

The program will air in coming weeks on Cleveland Community College’s Channel 19 on the local Time-Warner Cable network and will be shared via social media through the CCS Facebook Page.

Heroes honored are as follows:
  • Amber Duncan of Bethware Elementary
  • Kalen Williams of Boiling Springs Elementary
  • Sofia Janohy Escalona-Montes of Casar Elementary
  • Cody Bull of East Elementary
  • Zachary Minowicz of Fallston Elementary
  • Gwendelyn Hopper of Graham Elementary
  • Justen Brackett of Grover Elementary
  • Madisonne "Bella" Ferro of James Love Elementary
  • Sydney Meeks of Jefferson Elementary
  • Noah Funderburk of Kings Mountain Intermediate
  • Kadence Preston of Marion Elementary
  • Sila Murdan of North Elementary
  • Carson Parker of North Shelby School
  • Brykeem Bess of Shelby Intermediate
  • Kaliyah Allen of Springmore Elementary
  • Jayleen Ussery of Township Three Elementary
  • Andrew Marcum of Union Elementary
  • Kevonte Degree of Washington Elementary
  • Hayden Huss of West Elementary

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