Rowan-Salisbury Schools will survey families, stakeholders about next superintendent

Published 5:00 pm Tuesday, September 22, 2020

By Carl Blankenship

SALISBURY — Families of school children and everyone else directly connected to the district should expect to see a survey in the coming weeks asking for what they want in a superintendent.

Rowan-Salisbury Schools Superintendent Lynn Moody announced her retirement at the end of the year last week. Beginning the process of identifying the district’s next leader was the main topic of discussion at a Monday called meeting of the district Board of Education, with a survey among the items on the to-do list.

Several board members expressed their support for beginning the search quickly as well as promoting someone from within.

“I think we should continue to take steps as quickly as we can to move forward,” said Chairman Kevin Jones.

Board Vice Chair Travis Allen was vocal about his belief there are several people working for the district who could do the superintendent job and would be better equipped to understand renewal than an outside hire. Allen said choosing a candidate internally would show the district is true to its mission with renewal.

Board member Alisha Byrd-Clark said she is in favor of promoting from within as well.

Discussion began to circle the same topics, and two motions failed to pass during the meeting, including a motion by Josh Wagner to begin the search by finding an interim candidate. The board shot that motion down with a vote, citing a desire to instead pursue hiring a permanent superintendent as soon as possible and skip the additional step of installing an interim.

Jones said he is not convinced the district would need an interim and would rather start the process of a full-time hire and keep the interim as an option to keep in the district’s “back pocket.”

Wagner, who was on the board when Moody was hired, said he understood Jones’ point. Wagner, though, countered by adding the search can be an involved process.

Moody will not leave until the end of the year, so the district has more than three months to hire a new superintendent without leaving the position empty.

Another motion made by Susan Cox to begin the search internally failed later on in the meeting, with other members saying they would rather pose the question of whether the district should hire internally to the community on a survey.

The board agreed to create a survey to gauge what stakeholders are looking for. Questions will be compiled ahead of next Monday’s regular meeting and be presented for approval.

“I think a general survey can be developed by administration and brought back to us for approval,” Wagner said.

Moody said creating the survey should not be a problem.

When the district hired Moody in 2013, it used the North Carolina School Boards Association to assist with the hiring process. Cox and Wagner were the only two members on the board when Moody was hired.

About Carl Blankenship

Carl Blankenship has covered education for the Post since December 2019. Before coming to Salisbury he was a staff writer for The Avery Journal-Times in Newland and graduated from Appalachian State University in 2017, where he was editor of The Appalachian.

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