A Greenwood Middle School counselor will become the Wayne County Public Schools district military liaison in January.

Heather Winstead will provide support to students from military families in her new role. She succeeds Jamie Livengood, who now works as the WCPS student and family support coordinator.

“Ms. Winstead has a wealth of school counselor experience from across all grade levels, and has a strong passion for supporting military-connected families,” said Ken Derksen, WCPS executive director for community engagement and student and family support.

“With the strong military presence in Wayne County, Ms. Winstead will work directly with school, district and (Seymour Johnson Air Force Base) personnel to help ensure we as a school district are meeting the unique needs of our military-connected students. She will also be an important resource for Seymour Johnson Air Force Base families.”

Winstead will research, develop and help implement programs and practices that will support military-connected students who are enrolled in Wayne County schools.

She will also work closely with the base school liaison and other state liaisons and schools to advocate, create and maintain a military-friendly culture that actively supports military students, especially during times of transition and deployment, Derksen said.

“Wayne County Public Schools has over 1,900 military-connected students enrolled in our schools,” said David Lewis, superintendent.

“As a North Carolina Purple Star School District, our schools and our district have a demonstrated commitment to ensuring our military-connected students have a network of support while they are enrolled in our schools. The district military liaison is a critical support role for our students and families.”

As the fourth largest military-populated state in the nation, North Carolina works to provide a good quality of life, including education, to service members and their families, Derksen said.

The military liaison position was created as part of the state’s efforts to support military families and to make the state military friendly, Derksen said.

Winstead, a school counselor at Greenwood since 2015, started her career as a school counselor with Greene Early College High School in 2008. She has worked at Moss Hill Elementary School and East Carolina University. She has a bachelor’s degree in family and community services and a master’s degree in counselor education. She is past president of the Wayne County School Counselors Association and was the Wayne County Public Schools School Counselor of the Year for the 2019-20 school year.

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