Norfolk School Board selects superintendent


by Brian Farrell

Posted on May 14, 2012 at 11:59 PM

Updated Tuesday, Apr 9 at 11:32 AM

NORFOLK -- With only Dr. Stephen Tonelson voting "nay," the Norfolk School Board approved the hiring of Dr. Samuel King as the next superintendent of Norfolk Public Schools.

King, who currently serves as superintendent of Rockdale County Public Schools in Georgia was named that state's Superintendent of the Year for 2011.

King's biography says during his tenure in Rockdale County, the school division there has made Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) for the past 6 consecutive years, has seen its dropout rate reduced, and has posted its highest graduation rate since the beginning of the accountability era.

"The problems that he has been able to successfully solve are problems that we have here in Norfolk," said Norfolk School Board Chairman Dr. Kirk Houston. "We have accreditation issues with our schools. We have a widening achievement gap, and, he has, again, proven successful in areas that are vital to us right now."

An  interim superintendent has handled the duties of the superintendent since the departure of Dr. Richard Bentley in the fall. Fewer than 16 months into his 4-year contract, Bentley left the position, amidst the failure of several schools to achieve full accreditation.

"We believe we have selected a very strong candidate who's ready to get to work to help improve the work in Norfolk," Houston told 13News. "It was important for us to find a leader who's dealt with the kinds of of issues we're faced with here, and, so, we're very optimistic and excited about the future."

"No matter who they pick, I'd have been disappointed, 'cause we, as citizens, have no involvement," shared President of the Norfolk Federation of Teachers Thomas Calhoun.

Calhoun is critical of the selection process when it comes to hiring a superintendent, believing the community should have more involvement than the approximate 1,000 on-line surveys submitted during the past few months.

"I'm hoping that he will come in and meet with all the stakeholders," Calhoun said of King. "If he comes in and meets with all the stakeholders, that's a good start, and I would hope that would be the case."

King's contract begins with July 1. His first day on the job will be Monday, July 2. He and his wife, Pearl, have 4 children.