Superintendent search underway

Published 9:07 am Tuesday, September 20, 2011

GATESVILLE – The search for the next Superintendent of Gates County Public Schools is underway.

Members of the county’s Board of Education began interviewing potential replacements for Dr. Zenobia Smallwood, who will retire effective Sept. 30.

G. Douglas “Doug” Lilley, Chairman of the Gates County Board of Education, said the board interviewed five superintendent candidates on Monday.

“We will officially close the application process today (Monday),” Lilley said. “We’re still waiting on applications from a few candidates that earlier expressed an interest in the position.

“All applications will be thoroughly looked at; it’s our intention to hopefully come to an agreement on our next superintendent in a fairly quick manner, perhaps within the next seven to ten days,” Lilley added.

As far as the status of current Assistant Superintendent Earl Norfleet, Lilley stated he has not heard from the system’s top aide.

“We’re not assuming he is retiring as well; he has not announced anything as far as we know,” Lilley said. “We’re planning on Mr. Norfleet remaining with Gates County Schools. He knows the system well.”

Lilley added that if the school board has not named Smallwood’s successor by Sept. 30, Norfleet will take over the day-to-day operation of the school system until a new superintendent is hired.

The School Board chairman praised the work of Smallwood.

“She did a fantastic job for Gates County Schools,” Lilley noted.

When asked about the timing of her retirement, Lilley remarked, “I guess she felt it was time to move on.”

“She had previously talked about retiring and wavered back and forth on that decision,” Lilley added. “I know it was a tough decision to make. Although we have not experienced any major issues here in Gates County, the day to day grind and all the state budget cuts, which resulted in a reduction of our workforce, is tough on a person.”

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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