By Paul T. Choate
June 4, 2012. On Monday, June 4, David Kafitz was announced as the new superintendent of the Watauga County School System in a unanimous decision, replacing interim superintendent Dick Jones who has held the position since Dec. 12, 2011.
Jones took over the position after it was announced in September of 2011 that Marty Hemric would be resigning from the position to take the same job in Wilkes County.
The announcement came just before 7 p.m. at the Margaret E. Gragg Education Center/Board of Education, after a meeting that began at 6:30 p.m. considering the selection.
“After a very thorough, in-depth review of many fine candidates, we are truly pleased to announce the choice of Dr. David Kafitz to lead the Watauga County Schools,” said Board Chair Deborah Miller. “We are confident that he has the broad range of experience, the right combination of technical and managerial skills, and the personal qualities that will make him an exceptional leader for our schools and a great fit for our community.”
Kafitz, an Asheville native, started by thanking the Watauga County School Board of Education for giving him the opportunity to “lead one of the highest performing school districts in North Carolina.”
“It’s a tremendous honor and a lot of pressure [to be hired] because I’m sure there were many, many, many qualified candidates,” said Kafitz. “But having said that, we’re going to take this responsibility seriously and we want what’s best for the children of Watauga County. We’re going to make a great school system better.”
Kafitz already has plans for the school system prior to day one on the job.
“I think first and foremost on everybody’s mind these days is the rapid integration of technology into the learning process.”
Kafitz said that although Watauga High School already has a 1:1 initiative, he wants to be able to help that initiative grow even more. The 1:1 initiative refers to providing each student, teacher and some administrative personnel with a laptop.
Kafitz has been in education for 16 years, most recently serving as principal of East Elementary School in Monroe, N.C.
Kafitz said he will be doing a lot of “listening and learning” in his first few months serving as Supt. He said he has already been in contact with Jones and plans to meet with him tomorrow morning to begin discussing his new role with the school system.
The Board of Education received 32 applicants for the position prior to the Feb. 24, 2012 deadline to apply. Each of the board’s five members had been reviewing the applications since that time. Interviews were conducted in April and May.
Jones, a former Supt. from 1998 to 2003 will continue serving until June 30. Kafitz will take over duties on July 1.
For more information about Watauga County Schools, visit www.watauga.k12.nc.us.