HICKORY – The K-64 Board continued to move forward this week with the announcement of Mark Story as the organization’s first Chief Executive Officer (CEO), effective Sept. 1.
As CEO, Story will lead and manage the overall administrative and operational activities of K-64 and work with the K-64 Board to help prepare students in Catawba County for careers in a global economy and to create a highly qualified talent pipeline for future workforce and economic growth, according to a K-64 press release.
This includes providing highly complex support to the K-64 Board, subcommittees and partners; developing and executing K-64’s strategic plan and budget to achieve measurable outcomes and representing K-64’s interests across both private and public sectors and within the community at large.
Story was recommended for hire by a selection committee comprised of K-64 Board members Robyn Mingle, Senior Vice President, Human Resources, CommScope; Sheree Watson, CEO Graystone Eye; Catawba County Schools Superintendent Matt Stover and Catawba Valley Community College President Garrett Hinshaw.
“The applications that we received for the CEO of K-64 position were amazing,” Hinshaw said in an HDR email. “Choosing Mark Story, a native of Catawba County, gives us an opportunity to immediately move the six priorities of K-64 forward. He is connected to the business community and also has worked in the trenches of our public education system. We are excited that Mark will become a part of the CVCC team.”
From more than 40 applications, the committee vetted 23 qualified applicants and selected six to participate in a rigorous interview process before identifying Story as the top candidate.
“Mark has tremendous drive and passion, as demonstrated through his experience and grounding in the community as well as his interest in seeing K-64 succeed,” Mingle said. “These leadership qualities are what helped set Mark apart as the right candidate for this role.”
Story brings significant education and business experience to the role of CEO. Story joins K-64 after spending four years as the director of Career Technical Education (CTE) for Catawba County Schools. While there, he grew the program into one of the most successful in North Carolina by placing more than 700 students in work-based learning opportunities in and outside of Catawba County and leading students to obtain more than 1,000 industry-standard credentials annually, according to the release.
“It was a great thing and a tough thing all at one time,” Stover said. “We’ll digest everything for a little while, take inventory and see what direction we need to head because it will be difficult shoes to fill.”
As hard as it is to see Story move on, the CCS superintendent didn’t feel like his district was losing him completely.
“He’ll just be working with all three school systems now, so Mark won’t be far away and we’ll still have a close working partnership.”
Story’s education experience is grounded in instructional technology and includes teaching at the K-12 and community college levels as well as serving on program advisory committees for several collegiate curriculum programs. His business background includes extensive work in software and business development before launching a local technology business with national reach.
After successfully selling that business, Story turned his focus to education full-time.
“Our selection committee determined that the ideal candidate would be someone with both business and education experience, and a good number of applicants met that criteria,” Watson said. “In the end, Mark stood out as the candidate with the vision and knowledge needed to successfully bring K-64 together.”
The K-64 CEO position is fully funded by K-64 and managed by Catawba Valley Community College (CVCC) under the direction of Dr. Garrett Hinshaw, CVCC President. The CEO’s office will be located at CVCC.
K-64 is an education and economic development initiative that prepares students of all ages with the skills needed to compete in the global economy with a focus on six priority areas: 1-to-world technology, character development, tech-savvy educators, work-based learning, employer engagement, and career adaptability.
The next K-64 meeting will be at 12 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 7 in the Sipes Board Room of CVCC.