NCASA | Founded in 1976
During the late 1960s and early 1970s, educational organizations in North Carolina and the nation were undergoing dramatic changes. For decades in North Carolina, the division of Superintendents and the Division of Principals had been significant and strongly contributing components of the North Carolina Education Association (NCEA), which became the North Carolina Association of Educators (NCAE) in 1970 with its merger with the North Carolina Teachers Association (NCTA). Also, at the national level, the principals’ groups (NASSP and NAESP) and superintendents’ organization (AASA) had for decades been member groups of the National Education Association (NEA).
With NEA’s removal of AASA from its ranks in the late 1960s and with the changing directions of NEA’s philosophy, including its declared union status and insistence on a unified dues structure with state and local affiliates, superintendents, principals and other central office administrators began to sense a strong need for the creation of a new administrators’ organization that could better represent the needs and interests of their constituencies. Although in North Carolina the Division of Superintendents and the Division of Principals were still functioning under the NCAE umbrella in the mid-1970s, the relationships were often awkward and sometimes strained.
Responding to this unrest and anxiety, twenty-nine (29) of the state’s most influential central office administrators (mostly local superintendents) attended an all-day meeting in Moore County on January 30, 1976 to explore the possibility of creating a new organization to serve school administrators in North Carolina. Those attending this meeting were:
Luther Adams, Halifax County; L. C. Adcock, Granville County; Young Allen, Robeson County; Raz Autry, Hoke County; Phil Beamon, Camden County; Kenneth Brinson, Lee County; Lawson Brown, Davidson County; Jim Everidge, Davie County; Ossie Fields, Wilson County; Alton Gray, Harnett County; John Jones, Montgomery County; R. E. Lee, Moore County; Jasper Lewis, Washington City; Jim Martin, Stanly County; Wade Mobley, Rowan County; Duane Moore, Kinston City; Robert Nelson, Alamance County; Kenneth Newbold, Scotland County; Bill Niven, Lexington City; C. E. Powers, Moore County; Jay Robinson, Cabarrus County; Walter Rogers, Person County; Joe Talley, Roanoke Rapids City; Eddie West, High Point City; George Williams, Orange County; I. A. Wortman, Jr., Harnett County; Toby Webb, Albemarle City; Frank Yeager, Durham County; and Charles Yelverton, Duplin County.
From this group’s discussion and work came the formation of the North Carolina Association of School Administrators (NCASA) which was designed to be an umbrella organization whose membership would be open to all administrative and supervisory personnel at the school, school system and state levels, as well as to university professors of education administration. Its purposes, objectives and goals were patterned after the national administrators’ organizations, and were spelled out in the first constitution which was ratified at NCASA’s organizational meeting in Greensboro on June 22, 1976.
Robert Lee, Superintendent of Moore County, was duly elected as NCASA’s first president, and the new organization officially became operational on July 1, 1976, with annual membership dues of $20. Membership during the first year reached 787 and represented personnel from all leadership categories. Edison Powers of Moore County volunteered to serve as Executive Secretary during the first year.
The first several months saw NCASA experience the usual birthing and growing pains. Beginning with its second year, 1977-78, dues were increased to $30, and Alvin Hooks, Professor at Appalachian State University, was selected to guide the Association as its first Executive Director. This arrangement continued for one year on a part-time basis while NCASA was learning to sit alone, crawl, and finally stand on its own two feet and was then ready to take those all-important first steps. Membership in the second year reached 1,037, and the Association was walking well, trotting and galloping a little, and even beginning to participate in some marathon races with even the best of them.
It was now time for a bold new step. In July 1978, the Association was ready to come center stage in educational leadership, and to make a stronger presence in North Carolina. To establish this, Ray Sarbaugh was employed as NCASA’s first full-time Executive Director. Ray had recently retired as Associate Superintendent of the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools and his employment proved, through time, to be an act of great wisdom for NCASA. The Association now had established permanent physical presence in Raleigh. The North Carolina School Boards Association through its Executive Director, Raleigh Dingman, offered space in its office at 333 S. Salisbury Street. Later, this same shared office arrangement continued in the new Local Government Commission Building on S. Saunders Street. After three years of sharing offices, in 1981 NCASA moved into its own office suite at 333 Wade Avenue where it remained until 1999. In 1999, the offices of the Association moved to 214 New Bern Place in downtown Raleigh where it continues to be housed. Working with Ray in the early years was the first Administrative Secretary, Kathy Jones. Total membership at the end of the 1978-79 year was 1,046. This grew to 1,236 by June of 1980. A significant development came in 1979 when the American Association of School Administrators (AASA) designated NCASA as its officially chartered arm in North Carolina, creating a strong collegial relationship with AASA that continues to this day.