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Dr. Daron “Chip” Buckwell to Retire as Superintendent of Kannapolis City Schools

After leading Kannapolis City Schools through one of the most challenging years of his career, Superintendent Dr. Daron “Chip” Buckwell announced Monday that he will retire.  Dr. Buckwell will end his more than 37 years in public education on June 30, 2021.

During his years with Kannapolis City Schools, he has been known as Chip, Coach, Doc, and Dr. B.  Each of these represent the types of relationships he has built with students and staff in the many roles in which he has served.  “If there is a 36-year legacy that I hope I have left with KCS, it is the people; it’s never about the stuff,” Dr. Buckwell said.

Board Chair Todd Adams had high praise for Dr. Buckwell and the work he has done for KCS.  “Dr. Buckwell is leaving huge shoes to fill,” Mr. Adams shared.  “During his time as superintendent he has done a tremendous job leading and growing KCS. His dedication and commitment to KCS, especially since the start of the pandemic, have been tireless and unwavering.  He has built relationships and gained respect with local and state leaders all while building a strong and devoted team within the district.  I don't know that you can find another superintendent in NC, or possibly the USA, that has worn as many hats in one district as Dr. Buckwell has in Kannapolis.  His experience at every level helps him relate to and understand our staff, students, and community.   There isn't a bigger cheerleader for KCS and its students.  The entire board wishes Dr. Buckwell a long, healthy, and enjoyable retirement. He deserves it.”  Mr. Adams went on to say, “On a personal note, I consider my time working with Dr. Buckwell to be an honor and think of him as a friend. I'm truly going to miss working with him.” 

Dr. Buckwell has been a major catalyst for Kannapolis City Schools’ innovative magnet programs, career and technical education opportunities, and increased student achievement.  In addition to his extensive contributions to Kannapolis City Schools, he has also been a strong advocate for students, staff and community at the regional, state and federal levels.  His impact has been remarkable and far-reaching.

Dr. Buckwell, reflecting on his time at KCS, said, “People talk about pathways; how they got ‘here’.  I can assure you I did not envision this pathway from 1985 to today.  In 1985 I walked into the administrative office building at KCS in “coach gear” for an interview that would change my life.”  He shared, “I met my wife in KCS, and have had two children who know what it means to #BeAWonder and always know that #wondersnevercease.”

Before joining KCS in 1985, Dr. Buckwell served as a teacher in Kinston, NC for two years.  Prior to becoming superintendent in 2016, Buckwell served as a teacher, dropout prevention coordinator, director of student services, director of testing, principal and assistant superintendent with KCS.

Dr. Buckwell holds Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from Appalachian State University, and he earned his Graduate License as a School Principal from UNC Charlotte. He also holds a Doctor of Education degree in School Administration and Instruction from Nova Southeastern University.

When asked about his retirement, Dr. Buckwell said, “I plan on sitting around for a while after retiring and breathing in the lack of emails and texts.  But mostly I will be watching you all grow and help KCS become its best.  I #Believe in #MyKCS!”

The Kannapolis City Board of Education will begin planning for Dr. Buckwell’s replacement at the February regular meeting, Adams said.