Cabarrus Schools Superintendent Dr. Chris Lowder announces resignation, retirement

Following the resignation of Dr. Lowder, the Board unanimously approved the appointment of...
Following the resignation of Dr. Lowder, the Board unanimously approved the appointment of Deputy Superintendent Brian Schultz to serve as Acting Superintendent effective immediately.(WBTV File)
Updated: Feb. 24, 2021 at 1:53 PM EST
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CABARRUS COUNTY, N.C. (WBTV) - The Cabarrus County Board of Education and Dr. Chris Lowder jointly announce that Dr. Lowder has resigned his position as Superintendent of Cabarrus County Schools for purposes of retirement. The resignation was announced at a Cabarrus County Board of Education special called meeting on February 23, 2021.

Following the resignation, the Board unanimously approved the appointment of Deputy Superintendent Brian Schultz to serve as Acting Superintendent effective immediately.

Dr. Lowder was appointed Superintendent of Cabarrus County Schools on December 7, 2015. In the subsequent 5 years Dr. Lowder oversaw operations of the 8th largest school system in North Carolina. Dr. Lowder was named Regional Superintendent of the Year for 2018-19. Through March 31 Dr. Lowder will consult with and provide assistance to Acting Superintendent Schultz to facilitate the transition.

Brian Schultz was named an Assistant Superintendent for the Cabarrus County Schools on July 1, 2019. He was promoted to Deputy Superintendent on March 1, 2020, and has been recognized for his contributions in many areas. Mr. Schultz previously served as chief academic officer for the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools and the Guilford County Schools, as well as a teacher and principal in the Cabarrus County Schools.

The Cabarrus County Board of Education thanks Dr. Chris Lowder for his years of service as Superintendent and is confident the school system is in good hands under the leadership of Acting Superintendent Brian Schultz.

Dr. Lowder has served as CCS superintendent since 2015 when he was appointed interim superintendent in March; the Board of Education appointed him superintendent in December.

Under his leadership, the district made tremendous strides in student academic growth and proficiency. Dr. Lowder challenged us all to #RaiseTheBar to ensure the academic success of every child. Due to the pandemic, the last time North Carolina reported student achievement accountability results was 2018-2019.

That year, CCS had the highest student performance in the history of Cabarrus County Schools. Our district’s 2018-2019 School Accountability results indicated 94% of all CCS traditional schools either Met or Exceeded academic growth for students and 63.9% of schools exceeded state expectations. CCS also experienced its highest percentage of students meeting grade level standards under Dr. Lowder’s leadership.

From Day 1 of his superintendency, Dr. Lowder has led Cabarrus County Schools with a focus on building relationships one-on-one, one-by-one – all while keeping student success and supporting employees among his top priorities. During his tenure, Dr. Lowder was instrumental in working with the Board of Education and Cabarrus County Board of Commissioners to nearly double the teacher supplement – raising it from 5.81 %  during the 2013-2014 school year to 10% for this school year. He also is responsible for hiring three Cabinet members, all of whom are highly regarded in their fields of expertise throughout the state, and he either hired or placed 35 of the 43 principals in the district into their current roles.

Dr. Lowder also oversaw the district’s construction and/or opening of eight new or replacement schools, including Royal Oaks Elementary, Mount Pleasant Middle and West Cabarrus High Schools. Most recently, he has been adeptly leading our district during the COVID-19 pandemic – working to ensure the health and safety of staff and students alike and reaffirming our long-standing partnership with Cabarrus Health Alliance.  Dr. Lowder’s roots and connections to Cabarrus County and Cabarrus County Schools run deep. He is a native of Cabarrus County and attended Cabarrus County Schools and Kannapolis City Schools, graduating from A.L. Brown High School. He earned a bachelor’s degree in English education from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and two master’s degrees – one in school administration and another in English – as well as a doctorate in educational leadership from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

He began his career with the district as an English teacher at Central Cabarrus High School in 1992. Throughout his tenure, he has served as an assistant principal, principal and director of high school curriculum. Under his leadership, the district’s graduation rate climbed to new heights and consistently outpaces the state and national averages.

In the years leading up to his appointment as superintendent, he served as executive director, assistant superintendent and deputy superintendent. Dr. Lowder effectively led the district’s administrative services department where he was responsible for supervising and supporting principals, as well as managing the transportation department and serving as the district’s liaison with local law enforcement. Dr. Lowder was named Regional Superintendent of the Year for the 2018-2019 school year. He served on numerous local and state boards, including the North Carolina Association of School Administrators Executive Board and the State Superintendent’s Advisory Board.

Although he was eligible to retire in September 2020, Dr. Lowder stayed on to continue to serve the district as the pandemic continued to affect school operations. His retirement is effective April 1st. He will serve as a consultant to the district throughout the month of March to ensure a smooth transition as the Board begins its search for a new superintendent.

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