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WS/FCS Executive Director Recognized as Outstanding Leader


Mark Batten, Executive Director of Community Engagement for Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools, has been recognized as an outstanding leader by Winston Under 40. The organization’s annual Leadership Awards honor professionals under 40 years old who excel in their field, contribute to the community, and demonstrate strong leadership for Winston-Salem and Forsyth County.

Batten is among 25 young professionals honored this year. All of the recipients will be recognized at a reception and ceremony in the Gallery Ballroom of the Embassy Suites at 460 N. Cherry Street in Winston-Salem.  The event will be held on October 12, 2023, at 6 p.m.

“Mark is so deserving of this recognition, said WS/FCS Superintendent Tricia McManus. “He works tirelessly to bring valuable resources to WS/FCS students by forging strong partnerships with our community. He demonstrates humility, empathy, and a deep commitment to serving others and ensures that his efforts align with the genuine needs and aspirations of our students and their families.  His selfless dedication and collaborative approach foster a sense of trust and unity among our district team and community partners. Mark’s unwavering commitment to the growth and well-being of our students, along with his willingness to lead by example, makes him so deserving of this award.”

Batten joined WS/FCS in 2020 as the first Executive Director of Community Engagement. In his role he serves alongside businesses, organizations, faith communities, and civic groups to co-design meaningful and sustainable initiatives that support and provide resources for district programs and schools. These long-term relationships foster equitable and responsive solutions to needs that positively impact and support school culture, social and emotional development, and classroom learning.

Under Mark’s leadership, the WS/FCS Community Engagement team has facilitated meaningful experiences that include establishing a mentoring program for Cook Literacy Model School with Winston-Salem State University college students, hosting an annual event with the United Way of Forsyth County to promote access to cultural arts activities for families in northeast Winston-Salem, and sponsoring no-cost back-to-school pop-up shops that provide school supplies and other resources to students and families in limited resource communities.

Prior to joining WS/FCS, Batten served in roles involving grant making, scholarship administration, higher education admissions, integrated marketing, prison chaplaincy, and youth ministry. He volunteers with his church and several local nonprofits.  He is also on the boards of Big Brothers Big Sisters Services, HandsOn Northwest North Carolina, and the Youth Development Division of the YMCA of Northwest North Carolina.

Profiles of all the recipients of this year’s awards can be seen here.