What is the Western Region Education Service Alliance (WRESA)?

The concept of a collaborative approach to education in Western North Carolina began among regional educators and administrators in in the 1970s.  WRESA is a collaborative created by Western NC school systems in 1996 -97 under the direction of Dr. Roger Metcalf.  Since 1998, all 18 school systems in Western North Carolina have been active members of the collaborative.  In 2016, the collaborative evolved to become a 501 C3 nonprofit organization, the Western North Carolina Regional Education Foundation DBA WRESA or WRESA for short.  WRESA is governed by a Board of Directors and is one of eight regional education service alliances operating throughout the state.

In 2007 Dr. Jan Webster joined WRESA as the secondary coordinator and in 2008 was hired as the director.  Today WRESA employs experienced elementary and secondary coordinators who create, design, and provide professional development and other programming for the region’s teachers and administrators.  The staff is supported by a program coordinator and finance officer.

Our Vision and Mission

Our vision is to serve as a catalyst to enhance the quality and effectiveness of public-school education in western North Carolina.  As a 501 C3 nonprofit organization, our mission reflects our regional, collaborative approach toward education:  Working together for the children of Western North Carolina.

Our Purpose

Since 1998 WRESA has leveraged resources and provided services in support of quality instruction and efficiency delivered to children in Western North Carolina’s 19 public school systems.   For more than two decades WRESA has enhanced regional education through facilitating peer support groups, sharing best practices, offering high-quality professional development programming throughout the region, on-site at our Asheville offices, and virtually.

WRESA offers programming taught by regional faculty who are highly experienced and proficient in their field of expertise. We coordinate job-alike groups such as curriculum staff, human resource and finance officers, and others.  Through our annual Summer Leadership Conference WRESA leverages resources to bring national and international educators and speakers to western North Carolina.

Grant History

Since 2000 WRESA has coordinated over $10 million in grants for the region’s school systems.

ProjectFiscal Agent/CoordinatorSourceTimeframeAmount Funded
Alternative Strategies ProgramSouthwestern Commission / WRESAOffice of Juvenile Justice & Delinquency Prevention
Local School Systems
WNC EdNET Broadband* Fiber DeploymentSouthwestern Commission / WRESACPFdn - $1.7 million
Golden LEAF - $2.2 million
NC Rural Center - $40,000
Appalachian Regional Commission - $700,500
BETA - $1.2 million
Local School Districts - $205,500
Instructional Technology Awareness Conference (iTAC) at WCUSouthwestern Commission / WRESACPFdn - $5000
Golden LEAF $40,000
Technology Application Local School Based TrainingWNCREF/WRESACherokee Preservation Foundation2008-2009$100,000
CSI MSP GrantWRESANCDPI2008-2010$600,000
Student Engagement in Technology ProgramsSouthwestern Commission / WRESA/WNCREFCherokee Preservation Foundation2009$30,000
Exxon MobilWRESAExxon Mobil2009$15,000
Instructional Technology Awareness Conference (iTAC) at WCU at Cherokee Middle School Southwestern Commission / WRESACherokee Preservation Foundation2010$50,000
WAN Engineering Services Southwestern Commission / WRESA/WNCREFCPFdn - $80,000
Local School Districts - $200,000
Technology Application Regional Training Sessions and the Institute at Cherokee Middle SchoolWNCREF/WRESACherokee Preservation Foundation2010$220,000
Brain Friendly InstructionWNCREF / WRESA
CPFdn - $20,000
ASCD - $2,000
Abstinence Grant NCDPIWRESANCDPI2011-2014$40,500
Student Entrepreneurial STEM ProjectSwain County Schools/WRESACherokee Preservation Foundation2012$20,000
WNC EdNet STEM-E Project WNCREF/WRESACherokee Preservation Foundation (CPFdn)2013 - 2014$398,000
LASERWNCREF Golden LEAF - $600,000, NCSMT - $100,0002014$700,000
Appalachian WavesWNCREF/WRESACherokee Preservation Foundation2014-2015$100,000
STEM-E Next StepsSouthwestern Commission / WRESACherokee Preservation Foundation2014-2015$324,500
Abstinence EducationSwain County Schools/WRESAFederal Grant - NCDPI2015-2016$82,000
Focus on the Future with STEM-ESouthwestern Commission / WRESACherokee Preservation Foundation2015-2016$288,530
Abstinence EducationSwain County Schools/WRESAFederal Grant - NCDPI2016-2017$65,000
STEM-E and CTE Coordinator Position for Cherokee Central Schools WNCREF / WRESA

Cherokee Preservation Foundation2016-2017$63,800
FarWest North Carolina Science Olympiad (NCSO) CompetitionNCSO /WRESACherokee Preservation Foundation2016-2017$19,998
STEM-E Groups Unite Southwestern Commission / WRESACherokee Preservation Foundation2016-2017$341,620
Digital Learning GrantWRESANCDPI2016-2017$26,656
Growing Up with STEM-E Southwestern Commission / WRESACherokee Preservation Foundation2017-2018$240,296
Abstinence EducationSwain County Schools/WRESAFederal Grant - NCDPI2017-2018$76,000
Digital Learning GrantWRESANCDPI2017-2018$13,328
Makerspace Planning GrantWNCREF/WRESACherokee Preservation Foundation2018-2019$16,346
Reaching Out with STEM-ESouthwestern Commission/WRESACherokee Preservation Foundation2018-2019$374,627
NCDPI Safety GrantWRESA/HCPSNCDPI2018-2019$62,880

Session Highlights:

  • Summer Leadership Conference
  • Junior Great Books
  • 7 Habits of Highly Effective People (2 certified trainers on staff)
  • Poverty Training (1 certified trainer on staff)
  • Thinking Maps
  • Legal Updates
  • Leadership Institutes
  • Literacy Institutes
  • Fall Leadership Conference
  • Technology Conference
  • Project GLAD
  • Aspiring Principals Institute
  • Mountain Teacher Job Fairs
  • BioTech Awareness Conference
  • STEM Leadership Academy
  • Math Trainings K-12
  • Beginning Teachers’ Orientation
  • Early Childhood Institute
  • Mentor Training and Support
  • NC Wildlife Commission (Project Catch, Project Wild, Advanced Wild Bears & Aquatic Wild)
  • Differentiation Institute
  • Administrators’ Institute
  • Coordinated and arranged presentations by NCDPI staff
  • NCSELP Masters in Education Leadership and PMC degree program with WCU
  • STEM Technology Conference
  • SMART Tank
  • Breakout EDU Sessions

National/International Presenters:

  • Rick Wormeli
  • Dr. Joe Sanfelipo
  • Dr. Mark Benno
  • Becky DuFour
  • Lynn Canady
  • Harry Wong
  • Amie Dean
  • Eric Jensen
  • Christopher Canyon
  • Barry Lane
  • Marcia Tate
  • Susan Zimmerman
  • Kathy Nunley
  • Lucy Calkins
  • Debbie Miller
  • Stephanie Harvey
  • Cris Tovani
  • Kathy Bumgardner
  • Ralph Fletcher
  • Carl Anderson
  • Katie Wood Ray
  • Laura Candler
  • Richard Allington
  • Sue Nelle DeHart
  • Marcy Cook
  • Lester Laminack
  • Todd Whitaker
  • Ron Clark
  • Milton Chen
  • Michael Fullan
  • Yong Zhao
  • Carol Ann Tomlinson
  • Kristina Doubet
  • Eric Carbaugh
  • Sean Covey