Zullinger resigns; interim named

Published 10:06 am Friday, July 30, 2010

WINDSOR – The weeks-long battle between the Bertie County Board of Education and the school district’s leader has ended. Dr. Chip Zullinger has resigned as Superintendent of Bertie County Schools.

The announcement of his resignation came Thursday afternoon during a meeting of the Bertie County Board of Education.

Moments after accepting his resignation, the school board appointed Dr. William Rodney Crawford as Interim Superintendent.

Dr. Zullinger was suspended from his post on July 16 when the board informed him through attorney Rod Malone that it had reason to investigate his removal.

Also at Thursday’s meeting the board approved a personnel agreement with Dr. Zullinger that allowed him to resign retroactive to July 16. It also agreed to pay him a lump sum of six months of salary and benefits ($66,637.29). Additionally, the agreement ends the board’s investigation into any alleged improprieties of the former superintendent as well as prevents both the board and Zullinger from making any disparaging remarks against either party.

School Board Vice Chairman Alton Parker offered a motion to enter into the agreement and the board voted unanimously to accept it, although board member Pamela Chamblee objected to Dr. Zullinger receiving any financial compensation.

Details of Dr. Zullinger’s resignation will be addressed in Saturday’s edition of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald.

Moving into the superintendent’s office on an interim basis will be Dr. Crawford, who accepted the position effective August 2. He is slated to remain interim superintendent through June 30, 2011 or before with 30 days notice from the board.

Dr. Crawford is retired from his post as Superintendent of Schools in Orange County (Va.). He served in that district from July 1, 2005 through November of 2008. Before that he served as Superintendent of Newton-Conover City Schools in North Carolina.

He also served as Director of Secondary Employment for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, Principal of West Charlotte High School and Principal of two middle schools in Catawba County.

Dr. Crawford graduated from Central Davidson High school before earning a Bachelor of Science Degree from Appalachian State University. He went on to earn a master’s degree from North Carolina A&T State University and a Doctorate of Education from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

“I see this as a challenge,” Dr. Crawford said. “I believe I have some history, experience and expertise that will allow me to offer some help.”

The announcement of Dr. Zullinger’s resignation and Dr. Crawford’s appointment came at the end of three days of meetings for the school board in which they made decisions about the coming school year.