Kirk: “Not the right time” for superintendent job

Published 12:00 am Thursday, April 11, 2013

SALISBURY — Phil Kirk says he’s honored that community members think he should be the new local school superintendent, but the timing just isn’t right for him.
Dr. Judy Grissom, the current superintendent of the Rowan-Salisbury School System, has announced that she will retire Sept. 30. At a work session Monday, the Rowan-Salisbury Board of Education agreed to begin advertising the position in several state and regional trade publications through the N.C. School Boards Association.
In a letter to the editor published in Wednesday’s Salisbury Post, local resident Mac Butner suggested that the Rowan-Salisbury Board of Education hire Kirk to save taxpayer dollars on a long search.
“(Board) members, save yourselves a lot of time and Tums by giving Phil Kirk a call,” Butner wrote. “He is the best we can do for superintendent and the children, teachers and parents of Rowan County. Trust me.”
Kirk, a Rowan County native, is a former teacher at Knox Middle School and Salisbury High School. He served as chairman of the N.C. State Board of Education for six years. He also has served as president and CEO of North Carolina Citizens for Business and Industry, the state chamber of commerce, and vice chairman of the State Board of Community Colleges.
The day Butner’s letter ran in the paper, Kirk said he got several calls from people saying he’d be a great fit.
“I’m tremendously honored that Mac and the other people I’ve heard from today think I could handle that job,” he said. “I wish I were in a position to apply.”
Kirk’s wife died in May 2012, and he said he now has “major family responsibilities” for his four daughters and seven grandchildren. He said he’s trying to spend more time with family in Raleigh, while working full-time as the director of Brady Energy Services and staying active in his church and the community.
He also pointed out that he does not have a doctoral degree, which is usually preferred for school superintendents.
In his letter, Butner said Kirk has a “doctorate in life and successful experiences.”
“I appreciate people’s interest. If it was 10 years ago, I may have been interested, but it’s not a good time for me to apply,” Kirk said. “Dr. Grissom’s done a great job, and she’s going to be a tough act to follow.”
Contact reporter Karissa Minn at 704-797-4222.