2018-2019 Superintendents to Watch-Dr. Andrew Houlihan

Dr. Andrew Houlihan
Union County Public Schools 
Monroe, N.C.

Some might not be able to make a connection, but under Dr. Andrew Houlihan’s leadership, Union County Public Schools launched Books and Brackets in February 2017. This initiative is a month-long reading competition for elementary school students, patterned around a March Madness theme. The winning schools were announced each Friday via Facebook Live. It culminated with a pep rally and campus tour at a local university. The initiative continues to grow each year. 

“Dr. Houlihan is a transformational leader who seeks to understand before making decisions. As a member of his senior leadership team, I have seen firsthand how he inspires our team to think differently,” said Tahira Stalberte, the district’s assistant superintendent for communications and community relations. “In order to achieve goals, he sets the vision and coaches the staff through the process.”

Houlihan models active, transparent communication for his staff, students and community. He has led his district to upgrading technology for students and teachers, implementing digital reading and college readiness for students and increasing social media use. 

With more than 12,000 followers on the district’s twitter handle, @UCPS_MonroeNC  is used as a platform to be the voice of Union County Public Schools and increase awareness about the district. During his first few months as superintendent, Houlihan evaluated the culture of the district and the community in relation to social media. Houlihan has implemented the district’s first monthly twitter chat for employees, with its own handle, @UCPSChat.  His assessments also led to the use of two new hashtags-#TeamUCPS and #BetheBest. These hashtags have been key to enhancing the UCPS brand. 

Because of his leadership, communication is not an afterthought in Union County Public Schools. It is at the forefront of all decision-making.  In a short time, Houlihan has made an incredible impact in his district, making him a dynamic superintendent to watch.