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Valerie Bridges ‘02MSA, ‘10EDD Named NC State College of Education’s 2021 Distinguished Alumna

When Valerie Bridges ‘02MSA, ‘10EDD decided to earn her Master of School Administration, there was only one university that made sense. 

“My husband is a huge NC State fan,” Bridges said. “I live in Raleigh. I’ve grown up here, and I thought, that’s the school to go to. I could’ve gone to some other schools a little further away, but NC State, it fit.”

Not content with one degree from the NC State College of Education, she returned to earn her Doctor of Education in educational leadership and is now the superintendent of Edgecombe County Schools, where she has served for the past four years. The impact she has made on her community has been featured in The New York Times and Education Week, and led to her being named the 2021-22 Central Carolina Regional Education Service Alliance (CCRESA) Regional Superintendent of the Year and 2022 A. Craig Phillips N.C. Superintendent of the Year.

In recognition of her accomplishments, Bridges was honored at NC State’s Evening of the Stars Gala, where she was named the NC State College of Education’s 2021 Distinguished Alumna. The award recognizes her achievements, her passion for NC State and the efforts she makes to give back. 

“I really believe in paying it forward,” Bridges said. “There are a lot of ways to do that. Sometimes paying it forward is financially. Sometimes paying it forward is encouragement.”

For Bridges — a diehard NC State football fan — encouragement can be as simple as cheering on her beloved Wolfpack. But it can also have a greater impact. In her leadership role, Bridges encourages the educators she works with to realize their potential and take advantage of the same opportunities she experienced at NC State University and within the NC State College of Education. 

“It’s a school that’s given to me, so what do you do, you turn around and you pay it forward for others to experience that well,” Bridges said.