Hertford County welcomes new superintendent

Published 9:56 am Thursday, July 30, 2009

WINTON – The baton has been officially passed.

On Monday night, retiring Hertford County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Michael Basham ceremoniously handed over the reigns of the education system to his successor, Dr. John A. Fahey, following the monthly meeting of the Hertford County Board of Education.

Fahey, formerly an assistant superintendent with Surry County (Va.) Schools, began his new duties on Monday morning.

“I’ve been in training for this job for a long time,” said Dr. Fahey, a 59-year-old who has worked for 25 years in the field of public education. “It’s an honor for me come to Hertford County. I was born in North Carolina and while the good folks up in Virginia where I’ve worked all these years in education may not want to hear this, but nothing could be finer than to be in ‘Carolina.”

As far as taking over a public education system that has made significant gains under Dr. Basham’s leadership, Dr. Fahey said he felt his goal was a simple one.

“I plan to build upon what Dr. Basham has achieved up until this point,” he said. “He is a fine man who has done an outstanding job, but it must be noted that the leadership and the dedication of those gathered in this room tonight as well as those working in the classrooms of Hertford County Schools has also contributed much to the recent success of this school system.”

Dr. Fahey continued, “I know I have a great group of educators to work with. We will do this together and do this for the children of Hertford County.”

In formally introducing Dr. Fahey, Hertford County Board of Education Chairman Ronald G. Baker said he had mixed emotions.

“On one hand we’re sorry to see Dr. Basham go, but on the other we’re extremely proud to welcome Dr. Fahey,” Baker stated. “This board believes we have found the right man for the job.”

In his closing remarks, Dr. Basham said he was honored to have worked with such a talented and dedicated group of educators and administrators in Hertford County.

“You have made tremendous progress,” Dr. Basham said while addressing his Hertford County peers. “The progress this system has made is through your efforts and each of you should be proud of those efforts. Tonight is just a changing of the person sitting in this chair. I strongly believe the school board made the right decision in hiring Dr. Fahey.”

Fahey was hired June 29 during a special called meeting of the school board. He was among 18 candidates to apply for the position. From there the board narrowed the list to seven, of which five were interviewed.

“We felt we had some quality candidates for this job, but when it came down to reaching a final decision we felt Dr. Fahey’s broad base of experience as a teacher, principal and assistant superintendent made him stand out,” Baker told the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald immediately following the June 29 meeting. “We feel very comfortable that Dr. Fahey will take our school system and move it forward. After the efforts of Dr. Basham to put the current programs in place here, we were not looking for someone to re-invent the wheel. Rather, we sought out a person who was willing to take what we have in place and move us forward. We feel we have found that person in Dr. Fahey.”

Dr. Fahey launched his educational career in 1975 as a 7th grade teacher at Henley Middle School in Virginia. From there he moved up the ranks, eventually becoming the Director of Instruction for Orange County (Va.) Public Schools followed by two stints as a principal (Nottoway, Va. High School and Robert E. Lee High School in Staunton, Va.).

He has served as Executive Director of Secondary Education for Newport News, Va. Public Schools.

Additionally, Dr. Fahey has worked in the military, first as a translator and later as Chief of the US Army’s Intelligence Agency’s Information Services Division.

He has also taught at the collegiate level, serving as Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership at James Madison University as well as at Longwood College in Farmville, Va. and as an instructor at his alma mater, the University of Virginia. There he earned his Master of Education (1975) and Doctor of Education (1992).

He and his wife, Virginia E. Fahey, are the parents of three grown children. The couple are in the process of relocating to Hertford County from their home in Newport News, Va.