School board to meet on superintendent on Tuesday

Staff Report

Thomas Graves

LUMBERTON — The Public Schools of Robeson County Board of Education has called an emergency meeting for 5 p.m. Tuesday to address the superintendent situation.

The meeting comes a week after six members of the 11-person board voted to fire Superintendent Tommy Lowry and then immediately hire Virginia-based educator Thomas Graves as Lowry’s replacement.

The meeting will be held at The University of North Carolina at Pembroke’s Office of Regional Initiatives at COMtech, which is at 115 Livermore Drive in Pembroke.

“The purpose of the meeting is to discuss issues related to the position of superintendent of the Public Schools of Robeson County,” a post to the Public Schools of Robeson County Facebook page reads.

The board voted 6-4 last week to buy out Lowry’s contract, which ran to June 30, 2018, and provide Graves the same terms during that time. Afterward, it was learned that the board had violated its own policy by hiring a superintendent without first advertising the position.

Board members Dwayne Smith, Randy Lawson, Steve Martin, Peggy Wilkins-Chavis, Charles Bullard and Brian Freeman voted to fire Lowry and hire Graves, and Chairman Loistine Defreece, Brenda Fairley Ferebee, Craig Lowry and Mike Smith voted against. John Campbell was absent from the meeting.

The Robesonian has learned that Graves has not yet signed a contract with the system.

The newspaper will report on a legal effort to stop the hiring of Graves in Tuesday’s print edition.

Thomas Graves Graves

Staff Report

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