Superintendent search: New Hanover County school board to look outside district

Updated: Feb. 12, 2020 at 4:48 PM EST
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NEW HANOVER COUNTY, N.C. (WECT) - The New Hanover County Board of Education is searching for both an interim and permanent superintendent after passing on Deputy Superintendent Dr. LaChawn Smith for the interim position Tuesday night.

Many expected Smith to be named interim superintendent after former superintendent Dr. Tim Markley resigned last week.

“As far as the interim position goes, we need somebody with experience because it in itself needs a certain skillset because you need to understand the superintendent’s position but you also need to understand that the role as an interim is not the same,” said board member Judy Justice.

She went on to say Smith is “wonderful” and has an opportunity to develop different skillsets during the transition and beyond.

“I’m so proud of what she’s done since she’s taken on the role of deputy superintendent and I actually, somewhere down the line in her future, I can see where she’d make a fantastic superintendent," Justice said.

The North Carolina School Board Association (NCSBA) is helping the New Hanover County School Board in the interim search and is also being considered to help with their permanent search.

Justice said the board is looking into various groups.

The NCSBA does not charge to help with interim searches but there is a fee involved with any permanent candidate search.

“This is too important a position to focus on pennies and dimes. We need to look at what’s best for our kids so even though that is going to be a consideration because it always is it’s our taxpayer dollars. To me, the most important factor is getting a group to get us the best candidates,” Justice said.

The board has not yet established a timeline for its search.

Many parents have asked board members to only consider external candidates for the permanent position.

Justice says she fully supports that.

“We are an amazing school district but we have had these situations arise over the last, at least a decade, maybe more. I’d say more probably that weren’t addressed, that weren’t recognized. We’re recognizing them now and with that kind of knowledge we can choose somebody that is going to be able to best recognize that and put in place the educational programs and plans to lead us into the future,” she said.

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