Dr. LaChawn Smith, new Deputy Superintendent of New Hanover County Schools, says focus is the future

Dr. LaChawn Smith, new Deputy Superintendent of New Hanover County Schools, says focus is the future

WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Dr. LaChawn Smith was named the new Deputy Superintendent of New Hanover County Schools at a meeting Tuesday night.

She is the first African American person, male or female, to hold the title of Deputy Superintendent with the district.

“My goal is to work very closely with principals on issues of equity on issues that we have the highest quality of instruction in our classrooms," " said Smith about her new position. "I also want to make sure that we have strong curriculum for all students in the district. In teacher training to make sure our teachers can meet the needs of every child that walks through our doors.”

She previously worked as an Assistant Superintendent at the district.

Dr. Smith replaced Dr. Rick Holliday, who retired recently after nearly 40 years at the district.

Holliday retired his role amid questions and a civil lawsuit against the school district over handling of sex crimes involving a former teacher.

Several alleged victims of former teacher of the year Mike Kelly filed a lawsuit against the school system, in part, claiming Holliday knew Kelly was sexually abusing students but failed to report it.

Related: Amid teacher sex crime lawsuit, some upset about Dr. Rick Holliday’s retirement recognition

Dr. Smith says her focus will be the future.

“My purpose would be to look forward," Smith says. "We want to make sure that the families and the students of the district understand that the safety and security of the students is our number one priority and in my role as deputy superintendent and also the lead learner in the district--because I’m still overseeing instruction and curriculum in the district-- our focus is on high quality instruction for all children, making sure students are meeting and exceeding their potential.”

Also at its meeting, the school board also named Julie Askew as Assistant Superintendent of Student Support Services and Jarelle Lewis as the Title IX coordinator.

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