Coach Gail Browning, Neuse Charter School athletic director, said the decision came after Kirk Denning, Johnston County Schools athletic director, called her in late February to extend the invitation.
“We were looking for a conference to join and had just been invited to an all-charter school conference,” said Browning, “But competing against schools in our own county, in our own communities, just made more sense.”
The historical decision is the first time in state charter school history that a public charter school will play a full schedule in a traditional public school conference.
“We looked at the schedules and called many charters across the state to discover that while they play a traditional public school here and there on their calendars, it’s unheard of to play a full season against all public schools,” Browning said.
Susan Pullium, executive director for Neuse Charter, said a paradigm shift is underway in how public charters are received and perceived.
“We’re not a threat, we’re just another option for parents in educating their children,” said Pullium. “We’ve been knocking on the doors for a long time to be able to partner with our districted school counterparts to build better, stronger programs for all of our students and that persistence is finally paying off.”
The potential schedule will have Neuse Charter competing against North Johnston, Benson, Selma, Four Oaks, Princeton and Meadow Middle Schools in the upcoming school year. The 10-year-old charter school looks to compete in soccer, baseball, softball, basketball, volleyball, track and field and cross country.
Possible media availability with athletic directors and Neuse Charter student athletes can be arranged. Interested media should contact Shannon Mann at (919) 268-9621 or firstname.lastname@example.org