Governor Cooper and A+ leadership at Pinewood Elementary

Governor Cooper Visits an A+ School

In December, Governor Roy Cooper visited Pinewood Elementary in Gaston County and had a chance to see A+ practice in action.

Author: Michelle Burrows

December 5, 2023, was an exciting day for Pinewood Elementary, an A+ school in Gaston County! Governor Roy Cooper visited the school and had a chance to see A+ practice in action. He visited several classrooms where he saw students actively engaged in arts integration and collaboration. He spoke with teachers and had a chance to sit with, sing with, and work with students.

Gaston County’s A+ leadership attended the gathering, including the principals from all three A+ schools in the district, Kimberly Reece from Pinewood Elementary, Laura Clark from W.A. Bess Elementary, and Donna Kelly from Ida Rankin Elementary.

Governor Cooper visits Pinewood Elementary
Top: Governor Cooper visits with students at Pinewood Elementary. Bottom (left to right): Former Pinewood Principal Tyler West, Ida Rankin Principal Donna Kelly, W.A. Bess Principal Laura Clark, Gov. Roy Cooper, Pinewood Principal Kimberly Reece, Secretary Reid Wilson, A+ Schools of N.C. Director Michelle Burrows.


Following the classroom visits, Pinewood Principal Kimberly Reece shared the success that A+ implementation and philosophy has brought to her school. She stated that “Pinewood now ranks among the elementary schools in Gaston County with the highest student proficiency”. She also shared that “last year we increased our proficiency rate by 5.6 points and over the last two years, student proficiency is up 11 points. That is significant!”. In addition, Pinewood exceeded their growth goals and, for the first time, earned a letter B grade. Principal Reece attributes this academic success to the work teachers do every single day to effectively integrate the arts into teaching and learning.

Principal Kimberly Reece’s full remarks.


Gaston County Interim Superintendent Stephen Laws, Gaston County Board of Education Chair Jeff Ramsey, and Reid Wilson, Secretary of the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources joined the Governor for his visit.

In his remarks to the A+ educators and students, Governor Cooper celebrated the use of the arts in schools and offered support for A+ Schools of N.C. It was gratifying to hear school, district, and state leaders talk about the impact of A+ Schools of N.C. and the value of the arts in education!

Thanks to Pinewood Elementary and Gaston County Schools for a great visit!

News report about the Governor’s visit.

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