Last school bell: Steve Mazingo
to retire after 40 years in education
After four decades in the education field, Steve Mazingo, superintendent of Lenoir County Public Schools, is finally ready to retire - for the fourth time.
Mazingo has been the superintendent of Lenoir County schools for four years.
contract with Lenoir County
was originally set to end at the end of the 2015-2016 school year; he
has decided to bow out early and will retire Dec. 31.
"I think I'm finally at the point where I'm ready to say I've had a good long career.
I am ready to go on and do other things in my life," Mazingo
said of his
decision to retire early.
Mazingo originally came to Lenoir County schools in 2011 after the school board voted 4-3 to release his predecessor, Terry Cline, from his contract as superintendent.
"I think the biggest thing was they did not trust each other," Mazingo
said of the state of the school board when he
Rather than dwell on the issues of the board, Mazingo
first priority was to put everyone on common ground.
"When I came in, I pretty much told everyone whatever happened, whichever side you were on, we have a school system to run," he
"We have 9,000 kids to serve and we are going to look forward."
Mazingo's original contract with Lenoir County schools was for six months, however after it became clear the school board would not find a full-time superintendent in that time, his
contract was extended.
After the board finished interviewing potential candidates for the position, they asked Mazingo
if he'd like to remain with the county on a permanent basis.
time with Lenoir County Schools
pushed for technology to be more prevalent in the classroom and pushed for a one-to-one technology program that placed an iPad in the hands of every student in Lenoir County.
In addition to his
technology initiatives, Mazingo
also pushed for opportunities for students to get college credits while still in high school.
Inspired by the Early College High School
wanted all students in Lenoir County
to leave the school system with a plan for their future.
Through the college and career pathways programs at Lenoir County high schools, all students now have the opportunity to frontload their high school coursework in their first two years of high school, allowing them to take two years' worth of college courses for free.
"The reason the early college idea worked so well was because those students bought into an idea that if they work hard enough, they can graduate high school with a two-year degree," Mazingo
"The whole career pathway idea is about is getting every student to buy into a goal, for every student to have a plan."
Page 2 of 3 - Long before he
came to Lenoir County
almost didn't even make it into the education field.
While studying at North Carolina State University
originally majored in engineering.
After three years in the engineering program, he decided to change his major and ultimately graduated with a degree in math, with a certificate to teach.
He went on to teach high school math and physics for 10 years before he began his career in administration.
Mazingo left the classroom for a job with the state Department of Public Instruction, where he worked to create the curriculum teachers across the state would teach their students.
Nearly a decade later, Mazingo found himself in Greene County, where he landed his first role as superintendent.
"When I came to Greene County, it was regarded as probably one of the poorest performing school systems in the state," he
began an initiative to give every student at Greene Central middle and high schools their own laptops.
"We were 18 miles from East Carolina University
, but I had a very large portion of my student population that had never even seen the campus," Mazingo
"So we started sending students on field trips to ECU
, LCC and NC State, encouraging them to apply to these schools."
In the 11 years since Mazingo
began pushing for technology in the classroom and college as an option for students, the number of Greene County students enrolling in college rose from 26 percent in 2003 to more than 90 percent in 2010.
"At that time, it was about really opening up the world to students and their families," he
had reached a point in Greene County where he
had done all the work he
could do, and he
He didn't stay out of the education world for long, however, as he immediately took a job as headmaster at Arendell Parrott Academy, where he stayed for a little more than one year.
Page 3 of 3 - After leaving Parrott, Mazingo
began teaching at the university level, before finally deciding to take a break from education.
eventually found himself called back to the world of school administration with pair of interim superintendent jobs, first in Edgecombe County, and then in Lenoir County
admits to having a history of not being able to stay retired, Mazingo
has no intention of returning to the world of education full-time.
"My wife and I have wanted to travel for many years now, and I just became a grandfather, so I have a lot of other things I would like to focus on right now," he