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Edmonds addresses short tenure in Bertie

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New Elizabeth City-Pasquotank Public Schools Superintendent Catherine Edmonds (right) speaks with school staff and faculty members after her appointment as superintendent by the Elizabeth City-Pasquotank Board of Education, Monday.

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By Reggie Ponder
Staff Writer

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Catherine Edmonds, the next superintendent of the Elizabeth City-Pasquotank Public Schools, says she looks forward to a long tenure as leader of the ECPPS district.

Edmonds, who was appointed ECPPS superintendent earlier this week, is coming to the district after only a little more than a year as superintendent of the Bertie County Schools.

Edmonds, who arrived in Bertie in February 2018 and will be reporting to work in ECPPS on July 1, acknowledged her tenure in Bertie was brief. But she notes it was actually longer than her predecessor’s. That superintendent left Bertie after only nine months.

“I have greatly enjoyed the time I have served the children, staff and community of Bertie County,” Edmonds said Thursday. “While my tenure with Bertie was somewhat brief, I do believe I was able to make a positive impact in many areas.”

Edmonds said she decided to pursue the superintendent’s vacancy in ECPPS because it’s a much larger school district. She believed the job would allow her to “have an even broader impact on students and staff.”

Edmonds said she had felt supported by the school board in Bertie, though she noted there had been significant changes of leadership on the board.

“As a far my relationship with my current board, they have been supportive of me and have expressed their sadness at my departure,” she said. “They have wished me well in my future with ECPPS.”

Bertie County Board of Education Chairwoman Tarsha Dudley couldn’t be reached for comment Thursday for this story.

A press release from the Bertie County Schools on Thursday cited the development of leadership opportunities for both students and teachers as one of Edmonds’s main accomplishments in Bertie.

“During her tenure, the Student Government Association was reinstated; the first-ever Junior School Board Members and Junior County Commissioners were sworn in; and Bertie County Schools was awarded the Advanced Teaching Roles grant from (the N.C. Department of Public Instruction), which is named ‘Bertie THRIVEs,’” the press release states. “Bertie THRIVEs will be a “game changer” for Bertie County Schools as it leads to improved teacher recruitment, development and retention, ... and extends the reach of our most highly effective teacher leaders.”

Bertie County Schools has not had any schools scoring “F” on the state accountability report cards during Edmonds’ tenure. Bertie County High School and Bertie County Middle School did, however, receive “D” grades in 2017-18.

Elizabeth City-Pasquotank Board of Education Chairwoman Sharon Warden said Thursday that the amount of time Edmonds served in Bertie was less important to the board than her variety of experiences in education,

“Much more important were her years of experience working within the North Carolina public education system; her years as a successful classroom teacher; her time spent as an assistant principal and as a principal; her work with schools needing change that lead to more students reaching their potential and valuing their worth as life long learners,” Warden said in a statement. “Our desire was to find an educator who ‘walks the walk, talks the talk’ and values people as our greatest asset.”

Edmonds said she believes her leadership skills will be “a great fit” with the vision of the ECPPS school board. She’s looking forward, she said, to working with ECPPS on improving student achievement.

“I have extensive experience in working with districts that are not meting the expectations in terms of the academic performance of students,” she said.

Edmonds said her passion for helping students succeed is rooted in her own personal experience.

Edmonds said she is a first-generation college graduate and owes a lot to a tenth-grade teacher — a Ms. Oakley in her hometown of Oxford — who encouraged her and told her she was smart in math despite having struggled terribly in algebra I in eighth-grade.

Edmonds explained that she couldn’t see the board but her eighth-grade teacher downplayed the problem. It wasn’t until she was in the tenth grade that Oakley took the problem seriously and helped Edmonds to thrive in math.

She went on to earn a degree in math from N.C. A&T State University and teach math in her hometown school district.

“My personal story makes me passionate about having at least one adult in the building who will be advocating daily for the child,” Edmonds said. “I know the impact that we as adults have on our students.”

Catherine Edmonds, the next superintendent of the Elizabeth City-Pasquotank Public Schools, says she looks forward to a long tenure as leader of the ECPPS district.

Edmonds, who was appointed ECPPS superintendent earlier this week, is coming to the district after only a little more than a year as superintendent of the Bertie County Schools.

Edmonds, who arrived in Bertie in February 2018 and will be reporting to work in ECPPS on July 1, acknowledged her tenure in Bertie was brief. But she notes it was actually longer than her predecessor’s. That superintendent left Bertie after only nine months.

“I have greatly enjoyed the time I have served the children, staff and community of Bertie County,” Edmonds said Thursday. “While my tenure with Bertie was somewhat brief, I do believe I was able to make a positive impact in many areas.”

Edmonds said she decided to pursue the superintendent’s vacancy in ECPPS because it’s a much larger school district. She believed the job would allow her to “have an even broader impact on students and staff.”

Edmonds said she had felt supported by the school board in Bertie, though she noted there had been significant changes of leadership on the board.

“As a far my relationship with my current board, they have been supportive of me and have expressed their sadness at my departure,” she said. “They have wished me well in my future with ECPPS.”

Bertie County Board of Education Chairwoman Tarsha Dudley couldn’t be reached for comment Thursday for this story.

A press release from the Bertie County Schools on Thursday cited the development of leadership opportunities for both students and teachers as one of Edmonds’s main accomplishments in Bertie.

“During her tenure, the Student Government Association was reinstated; the first-ever Junior School Board Members and Junior County Commissioners were sworn in; and Bertie County Schools was awarded the Advanced Teaching Roles grant from (the N.C. Department of Public Instruction), which is named ‘Bertie THRIVEs,’” the press release states. “Bertie THRIVEs will be a “game changer” for Bertie County Schools as it leads to improved teacher recruitment, development and retention, ... and extends the reach of our most highly effective teacher leaders.”

Bertie County Schools has not had any schools scoring “F” on the state accountability report cards during Edmonds’ tenure. Bertie County High School and Bertie County Middle School did, however, receive “D” grades in 2017-18.

Elizabeth City-Pasquotank Board of Education Chairwoman Sharon Warden said Thursday that the amount of time Edmonds served in Bertie was less important to the board than her variety of experiences in education,

“Much more important were her years of experience working within the North Carolina public education system; her years as a successful classroom teacher; her time spent as an assistant principal and as a principal; her work with schools needing change that lead to more students reaching their potential and valuing their worth as life long learners,” Warden said in a statement. “Our desire was to find an educator who ‘walks the walk, talks the talk’ and values people as our greatest asset.”

Edmonds said she believes her leadership skills will be “a great fit” with the vision of the ECPPS school board. She’s looking forward, she said, to working with ECPPS on improving student achievement.

“I have extensive experience in working with districts that are not meting the expectations in terms of the academic performance of students,” she said.

Edmonds said her passion for helping students succeed is rooted in her own personal experience.

Edmonds said she is a first-generation college graduate and owes a lot to a tenth-grade teacher — a Ms. Oakley in her hometown of Oxford — who encouraged her and told her she was smart in math despite having struggled terribly in algebra I in eighth-grade.

Edmonds explained that she couldn’t see the board but her eighth-grade teacher downplayed the problem. It wasn’t until she was in the tenth grade that Oakley took the problem seriously and helped Edmonds to thrive in math.

She went on to earn a degree in math from N.C. A&T State University and teach math in her hometown school district.

“My personal story makes me passionate about having at least one adult in the building who will be advocating daily for the child,” Edmonds said. “I know the impact that we as adults have on our students.”

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