Appointed by the Board of Education in August 2003, Ray Vaughan Spain has completed his sixth year as superintendent of Warren County Schools (Warrenton, NC). Spain, a Virginia Beach native, began his career as a teacher's aide in Halifax County, North Carolina. He served as a classroom teacher and as the coordinator for several education-related programs before becoming a principal.
His first principal position was Jackson Community School (Jackson, NC), where he organized an alternative high school curriculum for potential dropouts. Spain became principal of Bertie High School (Windsor, NC) in 1983. For his accomplishments at Bertie High School, Spain was selected as Bertie's County 1988 Principal of the Year and chosen as runner up in the 1989 Region I Wachovia Principal of the Year competition. While serving as principal of Bertie High School, he received his Doctoral Degree in Educational Administration from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in 1990. In 1991, the Bertie Board of Education appointed Dr. Spain Assistant Superintendent of administrative services and federal programs.
In 1993, Dr. Spain moved to Kinston, North Carolina to join the Lenoir County Board of Education administrative staff as the Associate Superintendent. As Associate Superintendent, he coordinated administrative operations in the finance, transportation, food service and the student accountability areas. While in Kinston, Dr. Spain served as chairman of the Board of Directors for Kinston Community Health Center and the Lenoir County United Way.
Dr. Spain accepted the superintendent position with Petersburg City Public Schools (Petersburg, VA) in July 2001. Petersburg City Schools became an active participant in Governor Mark Warner’s Partnership for Achieving Successful Schools (PASS), a new initiative to help low performing schools in Virginia. During his tenure as superintendent, there was a system-wide increase in student performance on Virginia’s Standards of Learning (SOL) annual tests.
Under Dr. Spain’s leadership, the Warren County School District has been involved in high school reform since 2007. With this reform, high school students have the choice of attending two new schools. Warren New Tech High School and Warren Early College High School offer a different instructional approach in unique environments. The traditional high school has also been reformed to offer opportunities and choices for students.
In September 2008, the school district received a Golden LEAF grant in the amount $1.2 million for two projects, “Digital Classrooms” and “Technology Support for High School Reform”. This grant is allowing the district to move forward implementing technology in the classrooms and providing professional staff development for teachers. Digital classrooms appeal to student learning styles and expand teacher instructional strategies. Support for the high school reform has included a one-to-one student laptop computer project, a one-to-one classroom desktop computer project, network infrastructure, and access to online courses.
The purpose of these initiatives, along with others, is to increase student achievement and their performance on the State ABCs assessments.
In addition to his active professional career, he has a long history of community involvement and work with service organizations, Ray Spain is a family man. His wife, Carolyn, is a retired middle school principal. They have three children: Diara, a Biology professor at Dominican University in San Rafael, California; Jamil, a network specialist with the School of Science and Math in Durham, North Carolina; and Kalila, an assistant district attorney in Oakland, California.