‘Country girl’ joins county staff

Published 12:38 pm Saturday, August 22, 2009

GATESVILLE – You can take the girl out of the country, but you can’t take the country out of the girl.

As she takes control of Gates County Planning and Development Services as its new director, Morgan Carrie Jethro – a self-professed “country girl” – says she has no plans to venture outside of her native northeastern North Carolina.

“I’m miserable if I can’t stick my toes in the Chowan River, the Albemarle Sound or the Atlantic Ocean,” said Jethro, an Edenton native. “I’m just a Chowan County girl, one who loves the outdoors and one who loves to fish. I’m accustomed to the rural nature of our part of the state.”

While only in her mid-20’s, Jethro has already gained a world of experience that she will bank upon in her new job.

The 2003 John A. Holmes High School graduate went on to receive her Bachelor of Science degree in Urban and Regional Planning from East Carolina University in 2007. She is currently working on her Masters in Public Administration at ECU with plans to gain that degree in 2011.

While at ECU, Jethro interned with Elizabeth Bryant, Edenton/Chowan County Planning Director, and Edenton Town Manager Anne Marie Knighton.

After working briefly with Cindy Small Realty in Edenton, Jethro joined the Albemarle Commission in December of 2007 as the Regional Transportation Planner for the 10 counties covered by that organization.

She has also served as Interim Planner for the Town of Plymouth.

“I feel I’ve gained some valuable experience along the way thanks to an opportunity to work with some very talented professionals,” Jethro said. “All of that has prepared me for this, working with the good people here in Gates County.”

Jethro said she was “totally shocked” upon learning she was the choice for the Gates County Planner position.

“My strengths are that I’m from northeastern North Carolina,” she said. “I’m not an import. I completely understand how rural life works. I feel I can use my rural roots to ensure that Gates County can grow and prosper without losing its rural charm.”

In that same tone, Jethro said she would love to see Gates County evolve into its own rather than being known as a bedroom community for the southeastern Virginia area.

“We don’t want to see paradise lost,” she stressed. “With proper planning and development, Gates County has the potential to grow. Planned development, residential and commercial, can and will benefit this county.”

Not only does Jethro have a passion for rural northeastern North Carolina, she also has strong bloodlines when it comes to public service.

Her grandfather, Dallas Jethro, served as Tax Collector for Edenton/Chowan County before retirement. He then served as a Chowan County Commissioner.

Her late father, David Jethro, was a Chowan County Sheriff’s Deputy.

While her mother, Carol Tarkington Lane, a native of Creswell, didn’t venture into public service, she did teach her daughter the importance of dealing with the world of finance. Mrs. Lane is a Staff Accountant with J.P. Timberlake, CPA, of Edenton.

Even her boyfriend, Jason Potts, hails from Edenton. He is employed with Lazy Weekend Landscaping of Edenton.

“I don’t plan to use this job as a stepping stone to Raleigh or anywhere outside of northeastern North Carolina,” she said. “My plans are to stay in Edenton and then retire to Nags Head, sitting on the porch of a beach cottage.”

And, in true country girl fashion, she closed by saying, “If I can grow up and be half as cool as my granddad, I will have done alright in life.”