Superintendent interviews begin Monday

By Mike Gellatly -

LUMBERTON — The Board of Education for the Public Schools of Robeson County will begin the next phase in its search for the system’s next superintendent next week when it begins interviewing applicants.

The school board will meet with candidates on Monday and Wednesday, beginning at 5:15 p.m. each day, and on Thursday beginning at 6 p.m., all at COMtech Business Park on Livermore Drive near Pembroke.

The agenda for each meeting says the board “will be a closed session for confidential personnel matters.” The system would not confirm that the meetings are for interviews, but several board members told The Robesonian the purpose of the meetings.

According to the head of the team that is assisting in the search for a new superintendent, Allison Schafer of the North Carolina School Boards Association, 21 applicants who met the criteria set out by the board had applied by the mid-April deadline.

Schafer said Friday that her organization facilitates the interviews but has no part the actual selection of the superintendent, which is the board’s decision.

In the past, the school board has narrowed the field to five or six candidates for the first round of interviews, with each of the 11 school board members being given the chance to ask a couple of questions, and the candidates allowed to make a presentation. After that, the field is typically narrowed to two or three candidates for a second round of interviews.

In June, a final round of interviews are scheduled to take place, according to a timeline Schafer laid out for the board.

The timeline is to have the superintendent named by July 1.

The Robesonian was unable to find out how many candidates will be interviewed next week.

The superintendent position was vacated at the board’s Jan. 10 meeting when members Charles Bullard, Dwayne Smith, Randy Lawson, Brian Freeman, Peggy Wilkins-Chavis and Steve Martin voted to oust Tommy Lowry from the position and buy out his $180,000 contract. The contract was through June 30, 2018.

The six then voted to hire Thomas Graves to the position, though many had never met or spoken with him. That decision was reversed when it became known that the board had not followed its own policy to advertise the position.

By Mike Gellatly

Reach Mike Gellatly at 910-816-1989 or via Twitter @MikeGellatly

Reach Mike Gellatly at 910-816-1989 or via Twitter @MikeGellatly

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