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Iredell-Statesville schools Superintendent Brady Johnson, left, was named the North Carolina Healthy Schools Superintendent of the Year. Ellen Essick, section chief for N.C.

Healthy Schools, presented the honor.

At a reception Monday in Winston-Salem, Iredell-Statesville Superintendent Brady Johnson was named the 2019 North Carolina Healthy Schools Superintendent of the Year.

Presented by Ellen Essick on behalf of State Superintendent Mark Johnson and the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, Johnson earned the accolade as a result of his leadership in improving the health and well-being of students and staff of the Iredell-Statesville Schools.

His vision and support of the Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child Model has been a priority for the superintendent.

“We applaud Mr. Johnson’s efforts to ensure that health and academics are considered equally important components to student success,” said Section Chief for North Carolina Healthy Schools Ellen Essick.

Johnson has served the schools of Iredell County for more than 40 years, having served as superintendent since 2009.

“If a child is cold, hungry, fearful or conflicted with social or emotional issues, they can not learn,” Johnson said. “For this reason we must focus on the whole child — mind, body, and spirit — in order to effectively educate our children.”

He also made mention of the importance of community partnerships to the success of students.

“I-SS is blessed to have more than 150 community-based partners that help us address the needs of our students. This involves many of our churches which provide school supplies, food, clothing, mentors, and they lift us up in prayer,” he said. “There is no better reflection of the communities soul than the way it addresses the needs of children. Here in Iredell County we are grateful for a community that shows its’ love for children”

During Johnson’s tenure, I-SS has successfully received more than $50 million in federal grant funding for its leadership and innovation in education reform, efforts to close academic achievement gaps, and implementation of a one-to-one technology initiative that changed the way curriculum was delivered to middle and high school students.

I-SS was recently awarded a $12.8 million federal grant that will allow 21 schools to have access to mental health resources that were otherwise not available. In addition to expanded school-based therapy programs and crisis response services through the Children’s Hope Alliance, the grant funds will help secure additional positions, including behavior specialists and behavior technicians.

Johnson also lead an initiative to train all 2,700 Iredell-Statesville Schools employees in suicide prevention and mental health awareness. Through a partnership with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, the I-SS is one of the first school districts in North Carolina to elevate the importance of mental health awareness to this level of priority.

In 2014, Johnson was named the A. Craig Phillips North Carolina Superintendent of the Year by the North Carolina School Boards Association and the Association of School Administrators. He was appointed as superintendent advisor to the State Board of Education the following year and served as President of the N.C. School Superintendents’ Association.

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