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About Us

The Foundation has raised more than a million dollars to directly impact the future of Lee County

The Lee County Education Foundation (LCEF) was organized in June 2003 by a group of dedicated local citizens. The Foundation, a 501 (c) 3 non-profit corporation, came about after years of community wide discussion regarding the need for funds to support innovative, research based educational programs in the Lee County, NC schools. The vision is to create an excellent public school system that graduates students well prepared for the 21st century workplace.

The Foundation is managed by a president who reports to a 16 member board of directors. Foundation offices are located in Sanford, NC.

The mission of the Foundation is to mobilize financial resources and fund programs that are highly likely to improve Lee County student achievement. Additionally, funding an endowment to insure the long-term growth and development of the organization remains a goal.

Since its inception the LCEF has funded more than $200,000 of programs at the elementary, middle and high school levels. Lee County public school teachers and students in grades K-12 have benefited from reading, math, social studies, science and career related programs as a direct result of LCEF disbursements. Additionally, the Head of Class Project which was unveiled on August 26, 2010, has funded awards totaling another $300,000.

Achieving academic goals. Enhancing student performance.

On August 26, 2010, The Lee County Education Foundation unveiled its non-profit initiative supporting incentive-based school achievement. The Head of Class Project, its flagship public-private partnership, awards $50,000 annually to the faculty and staff of the best performing elementary school in Lee County. The incentive-based model is the first of its kind in North Carolina. Each employee of the winning school – principal, teachers, teacher assistants, librarians, custodians, etc. – will receive a portion of the award.

The Lee County Education Foundation raised a $1 million endowment supported by non-tax dollars – individual donors and corporations big and small have played a part – to fund The Head of Class Project award and continues its fundraising efforts. The award, which will be named through a student contest this fall, will reinforce the hard work necessary to improve the academic performance of Lee County students as measured by the annual testing by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction.


Read more:

Lee County Education Foundation’s “Head of Class” Project Formally Introduced at Deep River Elementary School

Press Release :: The Head of Class Project

Head of Class Point System

Head of Class Description

Head of Class Award 2011 – Program

Board Members

Chairman, Bill Horner III
Treasurer, Charlie Welborn
President, Vicki Haislip
Karen Foushee
George Perkins

Kel Normann
Dennis Wicker
Sam Wornom
Rex Scott
Temple Sloan

Chet Mann
Kirk Bradley
Susan Keller
James Kelly
Dr. Andy Bryan, Superintendent, Lee County Schools (ex officio)

Bob Joyce, Economic Development Executive Director, Sanford Area Growth Alliance (ex officio)
Dr. Carol Chappell, Executive Director of Instruction for Performance, Lee County Schools (ex officio)

Local leaders will be the drivers of change and improvement in North Carolina schools. This Lee County effort is a remarkable reflection of the community’s willingness to create excellence in education.

James E. Holshouser, Jr.

Having observed public education on a national basis, I know first-hand the importance of creating novel recognition and reward systems to model the excellence that will help us drive positive, permanent change. Lee County’s efforts also demonstrate that the most creative solutions originate at the local level.

Richard W. Riley

Innovation is at the heart of education improvement and the work of Dennis Wicker and the Lee County leaders reflect this drive to create new incentives and new models for high achievement. North Carolina will be enjoying the rewards of this effort for many years to come.

James B. Hunt, Jr.
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