EXTRAORDINARY PEOPLE: Breaking Down Barriers


WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — State statistics show that in the 2014-2015 school year, more than 11 thousand students dropped out of school in North Carolina. Our Extraordinary Person of the Week is the new dropout prevention supervisor for New Hanover County Schools. Dr. Sherry Pinto is breaking down barriers.

“I’m excited about this role,” Dr. Sherry Pinto told Daniel Seamans, “because I get to help more high schools and come full circle to help students stay in school.”

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Her resume in New Hanover County alone includes Roland-Grise Middle, Holly Shelter Middle, and Bradley Creek Elementary School.  The latest addition to Dr. Pinto’s career is Dropout Prevention Supervisor for New Hanover County Schools.

“Our goal is to mitigate barriers to learning and whatever that may look like, whether they need social work assistance, through graduation coaches, guidance couNselors,” Dr. Pinto said. “Really we look at what wrap around support is available to make it possible for them to earn those credits.”

Dr. Pinto says there are many students in unique scenarios and challenges. Her new role is to make sure those in need get the help they deserve by using school discipline data to create action plans for students.

“Sometimes our students are the bread winners in their families or care for small children,” Dr. Pinto said.

And some have mental health issues that need to be addressed.

Deputy Superintendent Rick Holliday says Dr. Pinto has quite a few programs to get the dropout numbers down.

“There’s a lot of things from getting kids graduated to getting kids in college, getting kids to the next level to crisis situations and mental health situations,” Dr. Holliday said. “We have to be everything to every body and we have to do it well.”

Dr. Pinto agrees. “If we can get one student to stay in school who other wise just would have not seen their way to do so then that’s a success.”

It’s that kind of success, Dr. Sherry Pinto, that makes you Extraordinary.

For more information on the services offered at New Hanover County Schools or to look at the statistics for each county, click here.