Northampton names Hall as Interim

Published 12:00 am Thursday, March 3, 2005

JACKSON – No time wasted.

Not more than five days after Allison Schafer, a legal counselor and director of policy for the North Carolina School Board Association (NCSBA), met with members of the board to discuss necessary actions to begin the search for a new school superintendent, the Northampton County Board of Education has named its acting interim superintendent.

In a special called meeting held here Monday night, Chair Catherine Moody announced J. Wendell Hall as the board’s choice to temporarily fill the vacant spot of retiring superintendent Dr. James Pickens.

Pickens, who has agreed to remain available for consultation through the end of April, officially relinquished the reins Tuesday in what has proved to be perfectly coordinated timing with Hall’s first day on the job.

&uot;I think he will be an asset for the county,&uot; Moody said. &uot;He is familiar with the school system and his previous interim experience will make for a smooth transition.&uot;

Hall, who retired as Deputy Superintendent of Human Resources Services for Hertford County in 2000 and currently serves on the Hertford County Board of Education, said he saw the interim position as an opportunity to help the school system while having an impact on student achievement.

&uot;This is an opportunity that allows me to work with people who share the same goals I have, which is educating children,&uot; he said, noting student achievement as his number one priority.

&uot;First, I’d like to get acquainted with the staff and open up the lines of communication,&uot; he said.

Subsequently, he plans on having individual meetings with the members of the staff to determine the current state of the district and the appropriate future direction.

Hall previously served as interim superintendent for Warren County Public Schools in 2003 and served as interim for Hertford County in 1996 and 1998 and is the past president of the North Carolina Association of School Administrators.

&uot;I appreciate the board’s understanding of my desire to take accept this opportunity to work in a neighboring district and likewise, appreciate the opportunity to serve the Northampton County Board of Education,&uot; he said.

Hall added that while he will be working diligently with the Northampton County Public School system, he would continue to fulfill his duties with the Hertford County Board of Education.

He was recently re-elected to serve the board for an additional four years. Hall has a Master of Arts in Education and Administration from East Carolina University as well as a Bachelor of Science in Education from Elizabeth City State University and has worked with the Department of Public Instruction and held many other leadership positions, including past president of the North Carolina Association of School Administrators and a public school teacher at Robert L. Vann Elementary School (1970-1978) and Red Oak Elementary School in Lawrenceville, Virginia (1968-1970).

&uot;I want to work closely with the board to achieve the goals they have set for this interim period,&uot; Hall said.

According to Moody, part of those goals will include Hall working with budgeting personnel to prepare for the 2005-06 school year.

&uot;I think his expertise will be very helpful,&uot; she said.

On February 21, the board agreed to continue its search for a permanent replacement superintendent, advertising the position for a period of six weeks, with an application deadline of April 21 and an anticipated target date of employment set for July 1.

The final decision is likely to be announced June 13.

Pickens will continue to be available for consultation through the end of April.