Dr. John Eldridge serves as Superintendent of Chatham Charter and Central Carolina Academy. In his 12th year as a charter leader, he reflects on school successes and shares how an opportunity he has at the state level is impactful for our schools.
In 2012, I was honored to join the Chatham Charter School Knight family. My role at that time was to add a high school option to an already thriving and successful K-8 program. Today, I am proud to say that Chatham Charter is thriving and leading the way in maximizing the Career and College Promise Pathways. Students are graduating with an average of 33 transferable college credits. Nearly 80% are finishing Pathways, enabling them to advance through college quicker and/or gain employment in skilled positions. I am so proud of all the work our teachers and students have accomplished throughout my twelve years of leadership. I am also thankful for the support our parents and community have shown us as we implemented the changes to our school. Now, the goal is to search for ways Chatham Charter can continue to be innovative and lead the way as our community grows and changes.
In 2020, leaders in the Office of Charter Schools at the NC Department of Public Instruction approached our administration in hopes that we would consider replicating the work being done at Chatham Charter. We chose to apply to open a school in Lee County that would serve middle and high school students. In 2021, Central Carolina Academy (CCA) was recommended to open by the North Carolina Charter School Advisory Board and approved by the NC State Board of Education. The school opened for students in August of 2022. After the first year of operation, the school earned a B as measured by the North Carolina school accountability model. I am extremely proud of the work that has been done at CCA, especially knowing that the building was still under construction during the entire school year. The school community has an incredible outlook and is poised to continue to grow to meet the needs of the businesses in the Sanford area.
Serving at the State Level
In 2021, I was fortunate enough to be nominated by Senator Dave Craven to serve as a member of the North Carolina Charter School Advisory Board (CSAB). In 2023, the Session Law 2023-110, House Bill 618, of the 2023 North Carolina Legislative Session ended the existence of CSAB and created the North Carolina Charter School Review Board (CSRB). I was nominated and appointed to serve as the Vice Chair of this Board. It is an absolute honor to serve on this Board, but what makes this appointment so valuable is the fact that I am able to sit at the table where decisions are made for all charter schools. I appreciate both the Central Carolina Academy and Chatham Charter School Boards for allowing me to use some professional time to participate on CSRB. It is not only an honor to be on this Board, but I find it has been extremely rewarding to be able to bring real-time information back to inform the decisions being made at both schools.