By Jesse Wood
Sept. 10, 2012. After a recommendation from a search committee, the Watauga County Board of Education selected Dr. David Fonseca as the new Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction for Watauga County Schools at a regular scheduled school board meeting on Monday, Sept. 11.
Fonseca, who was one of four individuals interviewed for the position, was chosen from among more than 70 applicants, said Dr. Stephen Martin, director of human resources with Watauga County Schools.
Martin said the one-month search was an “arduous task.” He noted that the selection committee “gave special attention” to applicants from North Carolina; to those with doctorate degrees; and to those with principle and central office experience.
According to a bio of Fonseca provided by Martin, Fonseca currently serves as Assistant Superintendent of Instructional Services for the Winston-Salem Forsyth County Schools.
From 2008 to 2011, he was principal at H.M Arndt Middle School in Catawba County. He has taught in elementary, middle and high schools, as well as driven a bus and coached athletic teams, and most recently, Fonseca completed the Leadership Institute for Superintendents at Harvard University in spring 2012.
A native of Mexico, Fonseca rose from poverty to earn a bachelor’s degree from the University of Veracruz in Veracruz, Mexico. Eventually, he earned a master’s degree in school of administration from UNC-Charlotte and a doctorate in educational leadership from ASU.
References of Fonseca, Martin said, praised the new administrator with Watauga County Schools. One reference said Fonseca “understands how schools work and always puts students forward.”
Another reference mentioned his “great” leadership and teacher development skills, as well as his willingness to work extra hours on the weekend, and a third reference noted that Fonseca is a “great colleague that has a great sense of humor.”
After a round of applause, Fonseca spoke before the board.
“It is a pleasure to be here. I met most of you when Dr. Kafitz was announced superintendent. I had know idea I was going to be standing in front of you just a few months later or into his term,” Fonseca said. “It is my privilege, certainly my honor. I look forward to my time and our time together and thanks for the recommendation.”
In Fonseca’s 2010 dissertation for the Doctoral Program in Educational Leadership with the Reich College of Education, Fonseca acknowledged Kafitz by stating:
“To my friends Thomas Howell, Dr. David Kafitz, and Dr. Jeff Isenhour, thank you for your continued words of encouragement pushing me to finish this program.”
With Martin and Dr. Michael Marcela preceding him, Fonseca is the newest member to be hired since Supt. David Kafitz took over on July 1, and Fonseca replaces Dr. Scarlet Davis, who resigned on Aug. 1 with two months severance pay worth nearly $17,000.
About two weeks after Davis’ resignation, an employee of Watauga County Schools contacted High Country Press on condition of anonymity, stating, in an email, that Kafitz was “cleaning house.”
“Most of us are confused as to why [Davis] left. She was hard working, personable and cared about children. She worked well with other agencies. Several professors at ASU said she was the easiest and most accessible administrator they have seen in a long while. She was heartbroken about having to close preschool classrooms in the county due to lack of funding,” this Watauga County Schools employee said.
On Aug. 8 when Kafitz was pressed by High Country Press for the reason of Davis’ resignation, he stated that under N.C. General Statues he didn’t have to release any information regarding her departure, but he did say, “I’ll just be honest with you, you guys are digging around in something that will hurt somebody for no reason.”
Back to Fonseca – during the interview process with the four candidates including Fonseca, eight individuals, all of Watauga County Schools, participated: Kafitz, Martin, Marcela, K-8 Curriculum Director Meredith Jones, Mable Elementary School Principal Mark Hagaman, Watauga High School Principal Marshall Gasperson, former Watauga County teacher and current N.C. Teacher of the Year Darcy Grimes and school board member Delora Hodges.