Meet the Executive Team
Dr. Nyah Hamlett, Superintendent
Dr. Nyah Hamlett joined CHCCS on January 1, 2021.
Dr. Hamlett has enjoyed a long and successful career in public education spanning more than sixteen years in Virginia. She previously served as chief of staff for Loudoun County Public Schools, serving as a key strategic advisor to the superintendent and other cabinet members. While there, Dr. Hamlett also played an important role in supervising the director of equity and leading the district’s equity efforts.
Prior to that, Dr. Hamlett spent twelve years with the Henrico County Public Schools at both the school and central office levels, ultimately working for five years as assistant superintendent for instructional support. In this position, she supervised a number of instructional and support programs, including exceptional education (special education and gifted education), family and community engagement, professional learning, mental health support, and social-emotional learning. Under Dr. Hamlett’s leadership, HCPS won first place in the National School Boards Association’s 2017 Magna Awards for the district’s overhaul of the code of student conduct and its development of preventative behavioral support programs. Dr. Hamlett began her career as a special education teacher in the Virginia Beach City Public Schools.
Dr. Hamlett received her bachelor’s degree in speech-language pathology and audiology from Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia. She went on to earn two master’s degrees in K-12 reading and educational leadership from Regent University in Virginia Beach, and a doctorate in educational policy, planning, and leadership from The College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia. Dr. Hamlett also earned an urban superintendent certification from the AASA Howard University Urban Superintendents Academy.
Dr. Hamlett and her husband are excited to foster a sense of community and raise their three children in the Chapel Hill-Carrboro area. “I am so honored to have been selected to serve the beautifully diverse Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools community as superintendent, and I am very appreciative for the board’s confidence in me,” said Dr. Hamlett. “I look forward to working collaboratively with the board and the community to remove barriers and create opportunities for each student, staff, and family to thrive and grow.”
Assistant Superintendent, Instructional Services Division
Jessica O'Donovan, Assistant Superintendent, Instructional Services
Jessica O’Donovan was named the Assistant Superintendent in May 2018. She began her career in Japan teaching English at the secondary level. When she returned to the U.S., she served as a K-12 English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher and athletic coach in Massachusetts and New York and then became a staff developer for the New York State Department of Education. Her administrative experience includes serving as a department chair, director of after-school programs, director of ESL/Bilingual programs, and director of curriculum. Prior to joining CHCCS, Jessica served as the assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction in White Plains, NY. Jessica holds a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of Richmond and a master’s degree in Teaching English as a Second Language from Boston University. She also holds a master’s degree in School Administration and Supervision from the College of New Rochelle.
Assistant Superintendent, Support Services
Patrick Abele joined CHCCS as the Assistant Superintendent for Support Services in January 2019. Abele previously served four years in the role of Chief Operations Officer with Orange County Schools. He has 22 years of experience and served the title of Executive Director with both Iredell-Statesville Schools and Beaufort County Schools prior to working in Orange County Schools. Abele has experience at both the school and district level as a classroom teacher, principal, instructional technology coordinator and director. Prior to beginning his work as an educator, Abele served as a paratrooper with the United States Army, 82nd Signal Battalion, at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Abele earned both his Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education and his Master of School Administration at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke.
Senior Executive Director, Student Services
Charlos Banks, Senior Executive Director, Student Services
Dr. Charlos Banks joined the district in 2018 as the Senior Executive Director of Student Services. She has been a North Carolina educator for 23 years, starting as a secondary classroom teacher and secondary school counselor before becoming a high school assistant principal in 2006 in High Point. Banks has also served as a high school principal for the GTCC Middle College and executive director of student services in Guilford County Schools. Most recently, she was the interim assistant superintendent of student support services in Guilford County Schools for two years. Banks holds a bachelor of arts degree in English from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She also holds master's degrees in School Counseling from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University and in School Administration from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Banks earned her doctorate in Educational Leadership from High Point University.
Senior Executive Director, Human Resources
Erika Newkirk, Senior Executive Director, Human Resources
Erika Murphy Newkirk is the Senior Executive Director of Human Resources for Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools. With over twenty years of experience in North Carolina’s public schools, Erika is a North Carolina Teaching Fellow that has taught Kindergarten, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 6th grades in Pender County Schools, Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools, and Durham Public Schools. She has also held numerous leadership roles in the aforementioned school districts. She has served as an adjunct instructor at Winston-Salem State University to pre-service teachers and at North Carolina Central University to teachers seeking add-on licensure in gifted education. Additionally, she studied Spanish and taught Calculus to high school seniors abroad in Monterrey, Mexico at Prepa Tec de Santa Catarina. Erika is a National Board Certified Teacher and served as a DREAM Team consultant for NBPTS for four years. As an educator, she was selected to Governor Bev Perdue’s Education Advisory Council. Erika received a degree in Elementary Education from North Carolina Central University, and she received her master's degree in Elementary Education from Winston Salem State University both on a full scholarship. She received an add-on license in Academically and Intellectually Gifted Education (K-12) from North Carolina Central University. She earned a full scholarship and began work on a master’s degree in school administration at North Carolina State University in 2018. Prior to joining Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools, Erika served as a Regional Education Facilitator at the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction. She was responsible for working with school districts, charter schools, and colleges/universities in the north central region of North Carolina. Erika is a member of Phi Delta Kappa International and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated. Erika was named a Kenan Fellow and an Education Policy Fellowship Program Fellow. She was also recognized by her alma mater in 2014, as a top 40 alumnus under 40.
Senior Executive Director for Leadership and Strategy
Misti Williams, Senior Executive Director for Leadership and Strategy
Dr. Misti Williams was named Senior Executive Director for Leadership and Strategy for CHCCS in April 2018. Prior to that, she had served as the district's executive director for leadership and federal programs since 2016. Williams has been a North Carolina educator for almost 25 years. During her career, she has served as a high school teacher, middle school assistant principal, elementary principal, curriculum director and executive director for administration. Williams holds a bachelor’s degree in English, a master's degree in School Administration, a specialist degree in Curriculum and Instruction and a doctorate in Educational Leadership, all from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro where she was also a professor in the Department of Educational Leadership and Cultural Foundations. Her husband, Jon is a high school principal and they have three children, Will, Molly, and Kate.
Public Information Officer
Jeff Nash, Public Information Officer
Jeff Nash is no stranger to the Triangle. After nearly 19 years with the Wake County Public School System and two more years with Durham Public Schools, Nash joined the CHCCS team in October of 2012. His experience includes service as a teacher, coach, department chair, school administrator and central office administrator. He is also known locally for his role in hosting educational television shows “The School Connection” and “Full Circle.” He is the Past-President of the North Carolina School Public Relations Association and also served as Southeast Regional Vice President of the National School Public Relations Association. A native of Niagara Falls, New York, Nash earned his Bachelor of Science from Buffalo State College and his Master of Education from North Carolina State University. His book “Rock ‘n Roll Customer Service” was published in 2009.