Former ABSS supt. Jim Merrill hired as interim in Orange County

Former Alamance-Burlington superintendent Dr. James (“Jim”) Merrill – who had also served as interim ABSS superintendent in 2022 – has been hired as the interim superintendent for Orange County schools.

Merrill is scheduled to take over as the interim superintendent for Orange County schools today, the Orange County school board announced Friday without disclosing any of the terms of its contract with Merrill.

Merrill retired as the superintendent of Wake County public schools in early 2018.  Merrill previously served as superintendent of ABSS from 2000 until 2006 and was twice-named North Carolina Superintendent of the Year, in 2005 (while in Alamance) and 2017 (while serving as Wake County’s superintendent).

Merrill had served as interim superintendent of ABSS from January to June 2022, after the retirement of former superintendent Dr. Bruce Benson and before the hiring of current superintendent Dr. Dain Butler.  He had also served as the interim superintendent for Wayne County Schools in Goldsboro – amid financial and personnel-related controversies that resulted in abrupt resignations by that school system’s superintendent and finance officer during the spring of 2020.

Then-interim superintendent Jim Merrill with ABSS chairman Sandy Ellington-Graves during meeting in early 2022.

Merrill lives in Mebane and serves as a senior consultant for operations, strategic planning, and leadership development for Wake Forest-based School Operations Specialists, whose business partners include former ABSS chief finance officer Jeremy Teetor.

The outgoing superintendent of Orange County schools, Dr. Monique Felder, announced Friday in a message posted on the school system’s website that her last day would be Wednesday, August 2 after serving 3½ years as superintendent.  Her tenure as superintendent followed the retirement of Dr. Todd Wirt, another former ABSS administrator, who served as superintendent of Orange County schools from 2015 to 2019.