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Officials graduate to top of Local Elected Leaders Academy 

by League Communications Associate Jessica Wells

Eight municipal officials graduated from the Advanced Leadership Corps at the UNC School of Government on Sept. 19. The most highly involved city and county elected officials statewide were invited to the week-long training on leadership skills useful in leading their governments. 

This year’s graduates are Caswell Beach Mayor Pro Tem Deborah Ahlers, Garner Council Member Kathy Behringer, Clemmons Council Member Mary Cameron, Mooresville Commissioner Bobby Compton, Franklin Mayor Robert Scott, Newton Council Member John Stiver, and Morehead City Council Members William Taylor and Harvey Walker. In addition to municipal officials, one representative from the League completes the training each year, and Human Resources Director Michael Naylor was this year’s graduate. 

“We are lucky to have so many dedicated public servants in North Carolina,” said League Executive Director Paul Meyer. “I congratulate each of the graduates on this accomplishment and commend them for their work toward a shared vision of a better North Carolina.” 

The program, funded in part by Prudential Financial, is in its third year and has trained 58 municipal and county elected officials from across the state. 

All of the participants achieved the Local Elected Leaders Academy Mentor status before being invited to the Corps. To achieve Mentor status, an elected official must earn Academy credits by attending professional development courses at the School of Government, North Carolina League of Municipalities or the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners. 

The Academy is a partnership between the three organizations that exists to provide relevant training to elected officials like state-mandated ethics, finance, public speaking training, the New Mayors Orientation and Essentials of Municipal Government courses. 

Clemmons Council Member Mary Cameron said the course was unlike any other she’s had in office since 1993. 

“Twenty-two years as an elected official, and I still learned a great deal,” Cameron said. “The way the leadership information was taught in traditional and hands on methods gave everyone in the class an opportunity to learn in his or her own way - a phenomenal experience.” 

Instructors had participants think outside the box and outside the classroom by doing improvisation at a comedy club and visiting an art museum. At the art museum, participants were asked to identify works of art that depicted the spirit and intent of challenges they are facing professionally and personally to open their eyes to looking at situations in a different way. 

You can read more about the upcoming New Mayors’ Orientations and Essentials of Municipal Government courses taking place in December and January here