Regional Directors

The Regional Director team develops and aligns systems, processes and procedures to provide a unified system of statewide support to North Carolina Local School Administrative Units (LEAs). The regional support structure organizes services to schools and districts through an efficient geographically based model. The Regional Director leads the support and services provided in each region. The director facilitates and participates in the design, implementation, and evaluation of all services and school improvement practices for North Carolina districts and schools. Other key duties include:

  • Providing a communication loop to all superintendents, central office administrators, principals, and teachers about the knowledge and skills needed to facilitate policies, processes and practices that focus on improving student achievement;
  • Providing oversight, management, and supervision to align work process with other key Agency and district staff;
  • Leading cross Agency regional teams and leading all internal and external communication regarding the regional team’s work and support.

For more information about regional directors or regional support services please contact Dr. Beth Metcalf, team lead, at, or Ronald Dixon, Assistant Superintendent for Transformation, at

Regional Director Information

Tab/Accordion Items

Tab/Accordion Paragraph

Dr. Brandon Sutton is a native of western NC and has served in a variety of leadership roles. Most recently, he was the Chief Academic Officer for Swain County Schools.

Stephanie Dischiavi leads District and Regional Support services for the Northwest Region of our state. Prior to joining the NC Department of Public Instruction in January 2019, Stephanie served 19 years as a teacher and principal in Hickory Public Schools.

Stephanie has fourteen years of experience as a primary, elementary, and middle school administrator. As principal of Southwest Primary, Stephanie led the opening of a  Pre-K – 2 school which hosted the district’s first Dual Language Immersion program.   This opportunity called for progressive leadership in the recruitment and retention of teachers, instructional leadership to establish a K-2 Core Instructional program, and the development and implementation of operational and instructional systems and protocols to ensure continued and sustainable school improvement.  

During her five-year tenure as principal of Northview Middle School, Northview implemented a middle school model through the implementation of student-centered scheduling and programming, teacher and staff leadership development, and coordinated systems to enhance rigorous academic programming. Under Stephanie’s leadership, Northview earned both national and state recognition. Northview Middle School was designated a National Middle School to Watch (2015) honoring best practices of a middle school model, was awarded the NC Lighthouse Award (2016) in recognition of efforts to further student achievement, and was designated a North Carolina School to Watch by the NC School Boards Association and Re-Contexts Data Solutions (2017) for maintaining outstanding student growth.

Stephanie’s first administrative assignment was at Jenkins Elementary where she served as principal for seven years and one year as assistant principal. Prior to school administration, Stephanie served five years as an elementary teacher at Oakwood Elementary. Stephanie holds a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from the University of Akron in her home state of Ohio. As a NC Principal Fellow, Stephanie earned a Master of School Administration from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte in 2004. Stephanie and her husband, Jim Dischiavi, are residents of Hickory, NC

Dr. Heather Mullins leads support services for the Southwest Region of our state. Prior to joining the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, Dr. Mullins served as the Chief Academic Officer for Newton-Conover City Schools.  In this role, she led instructional services and curriculum for K-12 programs for the school system and provided leadership for several other major system functions including: District Improvement Planning, Beginning Teacher Support, Beginning Teacher Support, Academically/Intellectually Gifted Programs, and Teacher Leadership Programs. Her direct reports led critical areas including Exceptional Children Services, Pre-K, Federal Programs, English Learners, Career-Technical Education, Accountability, and Technology.

As CAO, Dr. Mullins led Newton-Conover’s nationally-recognized district Navigate initiative to address the need to achieve digital convergence. She collaborated with Catawba Valley Community College to develop and brand The Summit at Newton-Conover. The district was named Catawba Valley Community College Partner of the Year in 2016 for the development of a robust and successful College and Career Promise program at The Summit. She developed the Teacherpreneurs program that provided teacher leaders an opportunity to collaborate and address problems of practice in their schools using improvement science through an immersive professional learning experience with opportunities to learn about change theory, policy development, public school funding, conflict management, and leadership. Dr. Mullins also served as a key contributor to the development of a national award winning STEM school, a national award winning Leader in Me school, a state recognized personalized learning school, one of two national Title I Schools to Watch from North Carolina, and a successful dual language school.

Previously, Dr. Mullins served as a Regional Professional Development Consultant for the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction She has also worked as an adjunct professor at Lenoir-Rhyne University, a curriculum specialist/instructional coach in Hickory City Schools, and a high school English teacher and coach in both Hickory City Schools and Wilkes County Schools.  In 2002, Dr. Mullins achieved her National Board Certification.  

Dr. Mullins holds a Bachelor’s degree in Secondary English Education from Western Carolina University where she was a North Carolina Teaching Fellow. She completed her Master’s degree in Gifted Education at the University of North Carolina – Charlotte.  Dr. Mullins completed her Doctorate in Educational Leadership at Western Carolina University. She was awarded the NCMLE Outstanding Central Office Administrator to Watch Award in 2015 and the Western Carolina University Don Chalker Award for Excellence in Educational Leadership in 2016. In 2018, Dr. Mullins was the recipient of the Dr. Sam Houston Leadership Award for the NCASA Aspiring Superintendents’ Program. She has also been inducted into the Hall of Fame at North Wilkes High School. Heather is also a co-founder of #NCed Chat, North Carolina’s first Twitter chat for teachers. She currently serves on the American Institutes of Research Response to COVID-19 Advisory.

Dr. Tosha Diggs leads support services for the Piedmont Triad region of the state. Prior to becoming a Regional Director at the NC Department of Public Instruction, Dr. Diggs served as the Assistant Superintendent for Academic Services in Craven County Schools. She is completing her 26th year in public education. In addition to having worked in North Carolina, Dr. Diggs has also served as an educator in both Georgia and Tennessee. As a North Carolina Teaching Fellow and collegiate softball player, Dr. Diggs earned her bachelor’s degree in history and secondary education with a minor in sociology from the University of North Carolina at Asheville. She earned her master's of education in school counseling from Wake Forest University and both her Ed.S. and her Ed.D. from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

Prior to beginning her position as Assistant Superintendent, Dr. Diggs served as Director of Secondary Education in Craven County Schools where she co-led the Assistant Principals’ Leadership Development Program and served as the AVID Co-District Director. Dr. Diggs has also been a high school principal in both Tennessee and North Carolina. She has also spent time as a high school counselor and softball coach. Dr. Diggs was selected as the 2016-17 Principal of the Year for Pender County Schools and has mentored principals and assistant principals in their leadership roles. She also received the 2019 Dr. Sam Houston Leadership Award in Cohort III of the Aspiring Superintendents’ Program.

Originally from Clinton, North Carolina, Dr. Diggs, and her family established the Louis and Katie Raynor Scholarship in 2015 to award deserving high school seniors planning to attend a two-year or four-year college/university after graduation. To date, 24 scholarships have been awarded, totaling over $16,000.

Dr. Kelly Batts leads support services for the Sandhills region of our state.  She has served North Carolina public schools for over 26 years. Dr. Batts has spent the last 2 years in District and Regional Support at NCDPI in direct service to the Public Schools of Robeson County (PSRC) as a School Leadership Coach supporting Low Performing Schools, under the leadership of Superintendent Dr. Freddie Williamson. Prior to joining the NCDPI, she served as Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction in Clinton City Schools (CCS) for 5 years and Beginning Teacher Coordinator in the same district for a year prior to that. In CCS her primary responsibilities included all areas of PreK-12th grade learning and assessment including oversight of Curriculum, Testing, and Accountability, Federal Programs, Exceptional Children, Academically or Intellectually Gifted, Indian Education, English as a Second Language, STEM, Instructional Technology, Career and Technical Education, Multi-Tiered System of Support (MTSS), Guidance Counselors and Social Emotional Learning, Beginning Teacher/Mentor Program, strategic planning, K-12 instruction/curriculum policy development, summer programming, Read to Achieve, PBIS, and the AdvancED Accreditation process for the district.

Dr. Batts has been with NCDPI previously for 4 years serving in District and School Transformation as an instructional coach. She has also worked in the Central Office in New Hanover County Schools as a member of the Professional Development Department and in Pender County Schools as a Recruitment and Retention Coordinator, In addition to her K-12 public school employment, she has been an adjunct professor for UNC-Wilmington in the Doctoral Program for Educational Leadership, consulted for Richland One, South Carolina, and is a published author.  She, along with co-author Dr. Beth Metcalf, wrote “Will it Phase You?”, a nationally marketed board game that was the first UNCW branded product that came from the Office of Technology Transfer, the predecessor to what is now known as UNCW Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.  In 2005, after a successful teaching career in a Title 1 elementary school in Pender County, she published an article for the Journal of Staff Development, along with co-author Sylvia Lewis, “How to Implement Differentiated Instruction? Adjust, Adjust, Adjust: North Carolina Project Begins with Encouragement from Administrators.”

Dr. Batts is a proud alumnus of the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. She received a Doctorate in Educational Leadership in 2010 and received the Blumberg Scholar Dissertation Award from the Council of Professors of Instructional Supervision for her research on Mentoring Beginning Teachers for Cognitive Complexity.  She also obtained degrees in School Administration (2007), Master in Curriculum Instruction and Supervision (2000), Bachelor in Elementary Education with a minor in English (1997), and AIG Certification from UNCW.  She obtained National Board Certification and then renewed it in 2013 and was Pender County Schools Teacher of the Year in 2003.  Dr. Batts and her family reside in Pender County, NC.


Dr. Beth Metcalf is the team lead for regional support services and is the Regional Director for the Southeast Region of our state. Dr. Metcalf has served North Carolina public school students and families for over 25 years. Prior to joining the Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI) she served as the Executive Director in the Instructional Services Department in Pender County Schools. In that role her primary responsibilities included all areas of elementary learning and assessment including strategic planning, program design of all core instructional areas, program evaluation, district assessment development, resource allocation, certified and non-certified staff evaluations, K-12 policy development, district wide Pk-13 MTSS implementation and policy development, management of a variety of federal, state, and local grants, after school programing, summer programming, Read to Achieve, PBIS, AdvancED Accreditation, school and district data team development, professional development in core content areas as well as technology, adult learning, and leadership. She also focused on PreK-13 data compilation and protocols for data analytics. As the K-12 data support lead for the district, she led the district-wide data team, while coaching and developing the next generation of data support leaders. She supported the development of data profiles to make decisions directly related to student outcomes in areas including academics, behavior, attendance, policy revisions, and community perception and engagement.

Dr. Metcalf is a 3-time alumnus of the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, most recently graduating with her doctorate in Educational Leadership in 2011, and a National Board Certified Teacher. Her education career began in New Hanover County Schools as a classroom teacher before working at UNC-Wilmington as the Professional Development Partnership Teacher-in-Residence, NCDPI, Pender County Schools, and now again at NCDPI. She is a strong advocate for wrap around student support and bringing community resources, services, parents and volunteers together to help meet the many needs of students. She was especially vigilant in putting this into action when Pender County was devastated by Hurricane Florence in 2018 and over 1,000 students were displaced by catastrophic flooding.

Dr. Metcalf, along with her colleague and co-author Dr. Kelly Batts wrote “Will it Phase You”, a nationally marketed board game that was the first UNCW branded product that came from the Office of Technology Transfer, the predecessor to what is now known as UNCW Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship . She has also taught instructor training skills aboard Camp Johnson Marine Corps Combat Service Support Schools and has interned with the Barking-Dagenham School District in London, England during their implementation of a set of national curriculum standards.

Dr. Catherine Stickney leads support services for the Northeast Region of our state. She brings over 30 years of experience in education to this role. Prior to her role with NCDPI, Dr. Stickney served as the Superintendent of Northbridge Public Schools in Whitinsville, Massachusetts. Prior to her superintendency, she served as Assistant Superintendent; Director of Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment; Grant Coordinator; Interim Principal; and Inclusion Specialist. Dr. Stickney has taught in Vermont, New York, Massachusetts, and North Carolina. She has served as a special education teacher and literacy teacher, a classroom teacher at the early childhood and elementary level, as well as an Adjunct Professor for American International College in Springfield, Massachusetts.

During her tenure as Superintendent, Dr. Stickney worked closely with the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. She served as a trainer for the MA Educator Evaluation System; her district assisted in the development, pilot, and implementation of the Guidebook for Inclusive Practices. The district also served as a site for the creation of a statewide video resource library. She has presented with DESE staff members to share best practices in evaluation and the implementation of the state’s tools to support educators to improve the quality of their instruction.  

Dr. Stickney was integral in writing and receiving a grant for state funding to design and build the largest K-5 elementary school in the Commonwealth. She also developed the Northbridge Career Academy, chosen to be one of five Early College and Innovative Pathway sites in the Commonwealth (a new innovation at its time) developing partnerships with businesses and the local community college to offer concentrated programming in 8 areas. She actively promoted community partnerships and mental health supports within the community.  She utilized her strengths in strategic planning, systems thinking, and community-building to develop a district-wide multi-tiered system of support that moved the school system from low-performing status (lowest 5%) to the 32nd percentile.Dr. Stickney served as a national presenter for the Bureau of Education & Research, sharing her published work in full-day sessions on Successful Strategies for Kindergarten Inclusion. She also completed the Innovative Universal Learning Design (UDL) Professional Development program for Learning Principles to Improve Literacy by CAST at Harvard University.

In her role as Regional Director, she has completed the Relay Graduate School of Education training program to prepare for the rollout of the North Carolina Instructional Leadership Academy. Most recently, Dr. Stickney was selected as a Fellow and completed the Education Policy Fellowship Program in 2023.  She is a strong advocate for supporting early childhood programs and additional resources in the rural areas of ENC.

Dr. Stickney earned a Bachelor's Degree in Early Childhood Special Education, a Master's Degree in Elementary Education, a CAGS in School Administration, and a Doctorate in Educational Leadership.

Hover over your county on the map to find your Regional Director's contact information. Click on the tabs above the map to see more information about each director.