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CIS Rowan hires new executive director

By Rebecca Rider
rebecca.rider@salisburypost.com

SALISBURY — Communities in Schools of Rowan County will be under new leadership after the recent resignation of former Executive Director Scott Bannister. Dr. Rob Turbyfill, former board chair for the organization’s board of directors, has been selected as the new executive director.

Bannister left his position with Communities in Schools of Rowan to accept a job closer to his Davidson County home, Turbyfill said. Bannister was hired by the organization in June of 2015 to replace long-time director Vicky Slusser.

Turbyfill, a retired principal of Hanford-Dole Elementary, has worked with Communities in Schools of Rowan for eight years as a member of its board of directors — he served as board chair for five of those years.

But it was while he was a principal that Turbyfill became familiar with Communities in Schools (CIS). At the time, Hanford-Dole Elementary had two CIS site coordinators who did “powerful work.” Turbyfill said he learned quickly that they helped smooth out the edges of rough days and worked to help teachers and students alike.

“Students require support beyond what the teachers can get to,” he said.

CIS is a student support and dropout prevention organization that serves seven Rowan County schools. CIS utilizes community volunteers who serve as mentors, tutors and lunch buddies to surround students with a community of support that encourages them to stay in school and succeed in life. Student support specialists are assigned to serve students at the schools to address specific student needs in areas of attendance, behavior, coursework and parental participation. Schools served by CIS Rowan include: Koontz, Overton, Isenberg, Hanford Dole and North Rowan elementaries and Knox and North Rowan middle schools.

After he retired from Hanford Dole in 2008, Turbyfill wanted to stay involved with CIS, and joined the board that same year.

“I learned the program from the bottom up,” he said.

During that time, Turbyfill spent six years teaching special education at New Bridge Academy, Kannapolis Alternative Learning Center, Hickory Ridge High School and A.L. Brown High School. Most recently, he has taught music courses at Rowan-Cabarrus Community College and worked as a music education sales representative for Music n’More in Concord.

“I’m not good at sitting around,” he said, laughing.

But now, he said he feels he’s at a point in his life where he can take over the reigns at CIS Rowan.

“I’m excited. I love the organization so much,” he said.

Bob Foreman, former vice chair, has temporarily taken over as chairman after Turbyfill’s resignation from the board.

Turbyfill holds degrees in music education from East Carolina University and UNC Greensboro. He earned a doctorate of philosophy in curriculum and teaching: cultural studies in 1997 from UNC Greensboro. He began his career in 1979 as band and chorus director at West Rowan High School, where he spent fifteen years. He went on to serve as principal at Sedgefield Elementary School in Guilford County, Southeast Middle, South Rowan High and Hanford Dole Elementary Schools in Rowan County.

Turbyfill lives in Landis with his wife Kim Lee Turbyfill, also a retired educator. They have two grown sons, both graduates of Rowan County high schools. Lee is an attorney in Houston, Texas and Lane is the media coordinator at Cleveland Elementary School.

Turbyfill encourages Rowan residents to take part in the work of Communities in Schools by visiting its website at www.cisrowan.org or calling the CIS office at 704-797-0210.

Contact reporter Rebecca Rider at 704-797-4264.

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