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23 Apply for the WCS Superintendent Position

Photo illustration by Debbie Carter

By Jesse Wood

Update: WCS spokesman Marshall Ashcraft said that 23 people applied for the superintendent position by the time the application deadline arrived last Friday.

Jan. 15, 2014. The application deadline for the Watauga County Schools superintendent position is 5 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 15. 

At Monday’s Watauga County Board of Education meeting, it was announced that 11 people had applied for the Watauga County Schools superintendent position, though school board members expect that figure to increase by tonight for a school system that is ranked among the top in the state for student achievement and located in the beautiful mountains.

Watauga County Board of Education Vice Chair Delora Hodges mentioned earlier in the week that while she didn’t have a ideal number of candidates in mind, she does expect that figure of 11 applicants to increase in the last hours before the application deadline. 

The leading position of Watauga County Schools has had an incredibly high turnover rate in the past few years with two superintendents and two interim superintendents serving at the elm. In September 2011, Dr. Marty Hemric, who was hired for the post in 2008, announced he was leaving to head the Wilkes County School system. Dick Jones, a former superintendent at WCS, came out of retirement to fill the position in the interim until Dr. David Kafitz was hired in June 2012. 

Kafitz had a rocky tenure that didn’t last a full year. He agreed to a contract buyout from the Watauga County Board of Education in March 2013. The turnover has been mentioned more than once at school board meetings in the past year for why a project has come to a standstill. 

Hodges, who along with Dr. Lee Warren, are current school board members that were also on the board when Kafitz was hired. She mentioned that a “very thorough [and] comprehensive search” was conducted when Hemric left. 

“I am sure we will do that this time as well,” Hodges said. 

In the meantime, interim Supt. David Fonseca has served at the helm of the school system. 

Ashcraft said once the application process closes, the school board will begin its formal review of the applications in closed session as is customary with personnel issues. 

While a timeframe hasn’t been discussed, Fonseca’s contract expires June 30, 2014, so a decision is expected before the next school year begins. 

Below is the advertisement of the position on the Watauga County Board of Education website. 

Watauga County Schools Seeks Superintendent

The Watauga County Board of Education is seeking a superintendent to lead the school system in its continuing pursuit of excellence. Candidates must hold or be eligible to obtain North Carolina licensure in the area of 00011 – School Administrator: Superintendent. Building level and central office experience preferred. A doctorate degree or progress toward a doctorate degree is preferred. A successful candidate will be required to live in Watauga County. Salary will be based on applicable state salary schedule, plus full benefits, and a local supplement. Applications are due by 5:00pm on  January 17, 2014.

A successful candidate must demonstrate ability and success in (1) visionary education leadership; (2) curriculum and instruction; (3) goal setting and monitoring achievement; (4) fostering community and/or intergovernmental partnerships; (5) administration and organization of long-term and short-term strategic planning, budgeting, and personnel and facility management; (6) strong communication and effective team-building skills; (7) grant writing and procuring additional funding; (8) visibility and involvement in community activities; (9) leadership in maintaining safe and orderly school environments; and (10) planning and funding of school facilities.

Watauga County is located in northwest North Carolina and is within a two hour driving distance of Charlotte and Asheville. Watauga County is home to Appalachian State University and a campus of Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute. Boone, the county seat, is host to a variety of small businesses and larger retail stores, historic landmarks, and has the atmosphere of a rural small-town. Watauga County is an integral part of the state’s Christmas tree industry and offers a variety of outdoor activities year-round.

The Watauga County School System is governed by a five-member, elected board of education. The School System employs approximately 800 staff members and operates nine schools that serve approximately 4,400 students from pre-kindergarten through grade twelve. The system has eight elementary schools (pre-kindergarten through grade eight) and one high school. Instruction throughout the district is enhanced by the use of advanced technology. Watauga High School participated in the 1:1 Laptop Program, which provides a laptop computer to each high school student and teacher. In addition, advanced placement and honors programs are offered, as well as career-based academics. For more information, please visit the school system website at www.watauga.k12.nc.us.

Applicants must complete the Board’s required form. You may obtain the application from the North Carolina School Boards Association’s website (www.NCSBA.org), or the Human Resources page of the Watauga County Schools website (see below for application). Watauga County Schools is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

Completed applications should be returned to Watauga Superintendent Search, Attorney Paul Miller, Miller & Johnson Law Firm P.O. Box 49, Boone, NC 28607.