Lenker has spent nearly 25 years working in the field of education, with more than eight years of superintendent experience. Prior to his current position in Sampson County, Lenker spent three years as superintendent of Jones County Schools. He also has experience as a central office director, principal, assistant principal, and teacher in various North Carolina school systems.
The Board of Education was attracted to the breadth and depth of Lenker’s experience following a search process that included 17 candidates from six different states. During the process, the board also carefully considered the information collected during three community forums and more than 1,400 community and staff surveys. Nearly two-thirds of the applicants had superintendent experience, but the board felt that Lenker’s experience, credentials, skills, devotion, and record of success would best serve the Pitt County students, staff, and community for years to come.
Lenker has an impressive and well-rounded educational background. He received his Bachelor’s Degree in Mathematics Education from Virginia Tech and later returned to obtain his Master of Arts in Education Administration. In 2006, Lenker received his Doctorate of Education from East Carolina University. He has also studied at the University of Virginia, Virginia Highlands Community College, and North Carolina State University.
During his prestigious career, Lenker has often been recognized for his scholarship and leadership. He is a published scholar and has been asked to present or speak as part of a panel at many national education conferences. He has been the recipient of numerous awards, including being named the Jones County Principal of the Year in 2002 and the North Carolina Association of School Administration (NCASA) Southeast Superintendent of the Year in 2012.
Lenker has been instrumental in raising overall student proficiency and test scores each year during his time in Sampson County. Additionally, he has reduced the achievement gap across all subgroups and subjects, lowered the dropout rate by 50 percent, and increased the graduation rate.
Lenker has started and led many successful initiatives and programs, while obtaining various federal grants and overseeing award-winning schools. Lenker is known as an open and responsive leader who is a good communicator and collaborator. He has been described as a visionary and a tireless worker who is deeply committed to his work, his staff, and his students. He loves to be out in the schools daily, actively monitoring success and affecting change.
Lenker said he is looking forward to returning to the Pitt County community.
“My wife and I have spent time in and out of Pitt County and we have always really liked the area and been impressed by the growth,” Lenker said. “We are looking forward to getting back to Pitt County, helping it grow, and growing with the community.”
Lenker has been married to his wife, Alice, for nearly 23 years. The couple has two children, Eleanor, 14, and Alexandra, 11. When he is not on the job, Lenker says he and the family enjoy spending time on the water kayaking and boating or at the soccer fields with their children.