Citizens rally around Deloatch

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 17, 2006

WINTON – It appears outgoing Hertford County Public Schools Superintendent Dennis Deloatch has a few friends.

On June 12, the Hertford County Board of Commissioners held a special meeting to discuss personnel matters. By the time the meeting had come to a close, the board had probably gotten a little more than they had anticipated.

The special session was called in order to allow the board to address new personnel hires for the upcoming fiscal year as well as address certain policies relating to school safety and order.

There was no line item on the board’s agenda to facilitate an open forum for the general public, but Board Chairman David Shields did allow for an addition to be made to appease the crowded boardroom.

Once allowed to address the board, several prominent members of the community used the forum to inform the board of their displeasure over the non-renewal of the contract of Hertford County Schools Superintendent Dennis Deloatch.

The citizen’s comments, which were recorded and delivered to the News Herald, were heavily in support of the work Deloatch has done during his four-year tenure as the county’s superintendent.

Rochelle Vann, a long time educator and former president of the Roanoke Chowan chapter of the ESCU Alumni Association, spent several minutes listing the accomplishments of Deloatch. Those accomplishments include reduced teacher turnover, increased test scores and his leadership in the effort to secure funds for the building of the proposed teacher-housing complex.

Vann addressed Deloatch directly, thanking him for everything that he had done for the community.

James Eure, Senior Vice President of the State Employees Credit Union, acknowledged his support of Deloatch, stating that along with his own endorsement, the proposals introduced by Deloatch had won over several administrators in Raleigh who were interested in how the Hertford County teaching-complex could be a &uot;pilot&uot; for other locales in North Carolina faced with the same challenges as those in this region.

Eric Anthony went as far as to say that he was &uot;disgusted&uot; with the school system, challenging the members of the board to resign if they were not competent enough to do their jobs. Anthony told the board that they were officials who had been voted in by the public and the public held the power to vote them out as well.

A total of nine individuals requested to speak directly to the board.

Curtis Dickson, Director of the Hertford County Public Health Authority, offered his endorsement of Deloatch and said that the board had made a serious mistake.

Susan Askew spoke of the Superintendent’s support of the Take 10 Program and several other programs aimed at increasing awareness for students on issues such as tobacco use and proper dieting.

June Harrell told the board that Deloatch had touched the lives of many students, faculty and community members. Harrell asked the board to reconsider their decision.

Beatrice Davis accused the board of doing what was best for themselves and not considering the needs of the children.

Milton Lee told the board that they had made a mistake, and they should reconsider before the citizens are tasked to vote on new board members.

Every person allowed to speak offered their support of the Superintendent as well as their displeasure with circumstances behind the board’s decision not to rehire Deloatch.

While more than one person asked the board to reconsider their decision, there has been no indication from the either the board or Deloatch that he will return in his current capacity for the upcoming school year.

In other news from the meeting, the board conducted its first reading of the revised edition of the Hertford County Schools Code of Conduct. The revisions address issues concerning assaults on county campuses, details of the rules prohibiting firearms, sexual harassment and bullying.

The next scheduled meeting for the board will be 7p.m. June 26.