Dr. Randy Michael Bledsoe is the new Superintendent of Elkin City Schools.
In an unanimous vote Monday night the Elkin City School Board named Dr. Bledsoe as the new Superintendent of Elkin City Schools.
Surrounded by family and friends, Dr. Bledsoe accepted the position.
Bledsoe is 52 years old and is currently the principal of Greene County High School in Snow Hill, NC. He will end his tenure in Greene County within the next two weeks and start his position with the Elkin School System on August 11.
The public meeting began with Stewart Roten, Chairman of the Elkin School Board calling the meeting to order and stating that there was only one item on the agenda.
"It has been a long process in our search for a new superintendent," Roten said. "We began our search with 25-30 applicants and we feel we've picked the best candidate to meet the needs of our school system."
The board recommended that Bledsoe be offered the position of superintendent with the contract dates of August 11, 2008 until June 30, 2012. Board member Larry Wagoner made the motion to accept Dr. Bledsoe as the superintendent and James Freeman seconded the motion. The entire board voted by a show of hands to accept. Jim Westbrook voted verbally by conference call.
Bledsoe was interviewed on three separate occassions. The initial interview was primarily question and answers while the second interview included a lot of discussion as to the vision of the school board as well as Bledsoe's for Elkin schools. The third and final meeting was a dinner meeting held last Tuesday that included a session with the principals of the Elkin City Schools.
"I'm truly honored to serve as the superintendent and I thank the board. It has been an interesting and at times nerve wracking process," Bledsoe said. "Elkin City Schools are noted for excellence and the expectation of excellence is high among the board and the community. I feel the board as well as the community truly connects with children inside and outside the schools. The community pride that is integrated with the schools is excellent. Children deserve the very best."
"The size of the school system will enable me to work one-on-one with parents, teachers and staff. It will also allow me to get to know each one of the children," Bledsoe said. "I'm really looking forward to my days here and I will work hard for the school system. Thank you from the bottom of my heart."
The new superintendent's initial salary was announced by Fredrick Johnson, Attorney for the Elkin City Schools.
"Dr. Bledsoe's initial first year salary will be $95,000, prorated on the July 1 to June 30 budget," Johnson said.
The salary is based on a state salary schedule that is set by the size of the school district. There is a minimum and a maximum, Johnson said. Bledsoe is being paid in line with superintendents of comparably sized districts according to Johnson.
"His compensation package will consist of health insurance, dental and life insurance as well as a business travel allowance of approximately $1,000 per month," Johnson said. "Per the terms of his contract he will be required to live within the Elkin City School District,"
In comparison, Johnson said, former superintendent Barry Shepherd's first year salary was $97,000.
The time frame in which he has to make his permanent move is still being negotiated. Dr. Bledsoe will receive an additional $250 a month through a statewide program that pays superintendents the funds if the individual holds a doctorate degree.
"Each year the board will review the budget and the salary and adjust accordingly," Johnson explained. "There is also a performance bonus that is based on the superintendent achieving the goals set by the school system in July of every year. In June of each year the board will determine how many of the goals were met and how much of the performance bonus the superintendent will receive."
Bledsoe, his wife Steva and son John, as well as his mother Ila May ONeal, step-father Buster ONeal, brother Paul and wife Nancy, were all well received by the community and school personnel who were in attendance.
"I'm excited to have Dr. Bledsoe on board," Mark Byrd, president of Elkin High School said. "I believe he will bring a lot of experience and most exciting is what he can do for the kids. I think he will relate to the community and the community will relate well with him. I believe he will continue the tradition of excellent leadership in the Superintendent's role."
Bledsoe said that his opinion of "No Child Left Behind" is to make sure that all children are learning. This included the idea that educators want to treasure all children and that the program helps to identify different subgroups of students who may require additional or specialized training while teaching children on all levels on equal terms. He said that some times educators get sidetracked on the program, but the program is designed so that no child will be left behind in their education.
"Educators are held accountable after the fact," Bledsoe said. "It's up to us to put another plan in place to try to meet the needs of the children. There is no perfect education so that anybody can do it.
We're dealing with human beings. We're dealing often times with very fragile children who are coming to school, so I think that if anytime a teacher feels that the result doesn't come out showing that every child made it, they feel defeated."
Bledsoe said that he thought that most educators were great students because they love learning.
"We as educators try to do the very best we can," Bledsoe added. "As educators, we regroup, we try to identify what the answer would be. I think that's where our role comes in to play for our professional growth.
Does it sidetrack us, yes. Because we want to do the very best in the classroom every day. Does it hold us back, I would have to say no, because teachers are constantly wanting to make sure that we touch every student, that they help every student as much as they possibly can. So I think the program helps us see where we need to get better as an educator."
His fist goal is to get to know the people, the office and administrative staff, the principals, the school staff and to learn what their vision is for their schools.
"I want to meet the community," Bledsoe said. "During this time I believe it's really going to be a time of analysis of what ways I can better help the schools move forward. This system has high standards and I want to make sure that we continue providing excellent education for the children. I also realize that the schools, parents and community will be analyzing me and I welcome any feedback."
Pam Colbert, principal of Elkin Middle School, was part of the group who got to question Bledsoe one-on-one.
"I'm very excitied and look forward to working with someone whose focus is on the children," Colbert said. "I'm impressed that one of his goals is to get out and meet the students."
Bledsoe and his wife are in the process of looking for a home in Elkin. It is a three and a half hour commute to Snow Hill.
"I was raised in Surry County in the Level Cross community, where my mother lives now," Bledsoe said. "It's going to be great coming back home now having been given the opportunity to continue to lead Elkin City Schools into the future."