Lowry namedsuperintendenton interim basis

Gabrielle Isaac | The Robesonian Superintendent Johnny Hunt listens to public comments at the beginning of his last school board meeting. Hunt received several awards and thanks throughout the meeting for his years of service to the Public Schools of Robeson County.

Tommy Lowry

LUMBERTON — Tommy Lowry, assistant superintendent of Instruction and Support, has been named the interim superintendent of the Public Schools of Robeson County, an assignment he will assume on July 1.

June 30 is the last day for Johnny Hunt, who is retiring after nine years in the position.

“I appreciate the school board for having the confidence in me to step in until they hire a new superintendent,” Lowry said. “We will continue to make sure the system moves forward in our mission to prepare our students to succeed in an ever-changing global society. We will do this in the top rate manner which was set into place by our previous superintendent, Dr. Johnny Hunt.”

The announcement was made at a regular meeting of the Board of Education on Tuesday. Hunt announced his retirement in February.

Lowry, who served as interim superintendent in 2014 while Hunt was on medical leave, will take over July 1. He has worked with Robeson County schools for more than 38 years. He received an Elementary Education degree with a math concentration from University of North Carolina at Pembroke.

He began his career teaching eighth grade at Piney Grove School. Lowry taught math and physical education at Orrum High School and math at Purnell Swett High School before becoming assistant principal at Pembroke Middle. He served as principal at Deep Branch Elementary and Pembroke Middle before becoming assistant superintendent in 2007.

As assistant superintendent, Lowry oversees all federal programs for the Public Schools or Robeson County such as Child Nutrition, guidance, social work, Indian Education, Immigrant and Migrant programs and the Exceptional Children program.

During the meeting, Hunt was presented with several honors, including an appreciation award from the Robeson Association of Educators and the Certified Employee of the Month award.

“I do appreciate everything the board has done in my time leading up to retirement,” Hunt said. “I appreciate all the support you’ve given me, but most importantly what you’ve given the students. Thank you for all of the awards and compliments.”

The local school board, with help from the North Carolina Association of School Boards, is currently searching for a new superintendent. The association took surveys of the community and staff to understand what qualities the community wants in its new superintendent. Seventeen people have applied for the position and interviews are expected to be conducted during the summer.

In other business, the board:

— Presented athletic awards to athletes in soccer, basketball, football and track with state-level achievements.

— Recognized Lumberton High School and Robeson Early College High School for their achievements at the Science Olympiad competition. Lumberton High School brought home a total of 24 medals and Robeson Early College High School placed sixth at the state competition.

— Recognized the Lumberton Junior High School Technology Club for its performance in a state competition. Two teams from the technology club competed in a competition during which participants had to design a scale model of technology that would be used for food growth. One team won the Best Virtual City Design award while the other won the Best Use of Materials award.

— Recognized the Lumberton Senior High School Future Farmers of America for its efforts in a land-judging competition. The junior team won fourth in the state and the senior team won second in the state. The senior team went on to a national competition in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

— Presented the Classified Employee of the Month award to teacher assistant Myrtle Freeman from Rosenwald Elementary School. Freeman worked for 20 years as a teacher assistant and is retiring at the end of this year.

— Presented the AIG Teacher of the Year award to Belinda Coleman, and the Administrator of the Year award to Robert Locklear.

— Approved a new Career and Technical Education plan.

— Approved needed budget amendments.

— Discussed and approved a new mental health provider.

— Extended several employee contracts during a closed session concerning personnel.

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