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No word, yet, on who might serve as interim ABSS superintendent; chairman says possibly next week

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After more than four hours behind closed doors Wednesday morning, Alamance-Burlington school board members emerged with making any decision as to who might serve as interim superintendent following the resignation last week of superintendent Dr. Dain Butler.  The board had appointed Dr. Kristy Davis to serve as acting superintendent immediately after Butler’s resignation.

School board chairman Sandy Ellington-Graves told The Alamance News Wednesday afternoon that the board hopes to name an interim superintendent early next week.

Historically, however, the board has brought in someone – typically a retired superintendent from elsewhere around the state – to serve, often for up to about six months, while the board conducts a search for a new, permanent replacement.

Alamance-Burlington school board members held the latest in a series of special-called meetings Wednesday morning.  The purpose, The Alamance News has learned, was to interview four candidates for the interim super-intendent’s position.

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The four candidates – all with previous ties to ABSS – who are widely thought to be in the running for the interim superintendent’s post include:

Former ABSS superintendent Dr. Randy Bridges

Drs. Randy Bridges, who served as superintendent for ABSS from 2006 until 2010;

Former ABSS superintendent Dr. Bill Harrison

Bill Harrison, who served as interim and as superintendent for ABSS from 2015 to 2018;

Dr. James “Jim” Merrill, former ABSS superintendent and interim superintendent

James (“Jim”) Merrill who served as superintendent from 2000 until 2016 and as interim superintendent from January to June 2000;

Former ABSS principal and Orange County superintendent Dr. Todd Wirt

and Todd Wirt, a former ABSS principal who later went on to serve as the superintendent of Orange County schools from 2015 until 2019.

Asked whether those four candidates were, in fact, interviewed Wednesday morning for the interim superintendent’s post, Ellington-Graves declined to confirm for the newspaper the identities of the individuals interviewed. “I am familiar with all of those individuals and their strong educational leadership,” the school board chairman told the newspaper, emphasizing, “there will be no public announcement today.”

School board members entered into closed session shortly after 8:30 a.m. Wednesday, under a provision in state law that allows public bodies to meet in closed session in order to discuss confidential personnel matters and preserve attorney/client privilege, based on the meeting notice.

They reconvened in open session at 1:09 p.m. but took no action. The open portion of the meeting – and subsequent motion to adjourn – was not broadcast on the ABSS website due to an outage with the streaming service.

Those present and voting to adjourn the meeting were: Ellington-Graves; school board members Ryan Bowden, Chuck Marsh; Dr. Charles Parker; and Westbrooks. Board member Seneca Rogers left before the board voted to adjourn.

School board member Dan Ingle was not present for any portion of the deliberations because he was feeling ill, according to Ellington-Graves.

Once an agreement is reached about who to hire for the interim post, board members would potentially need to negotiate an employment contract, which could lead to a delay of several days in naming the person selected, sources familiar with the discussions have told the newspaper.

School board attorney Adam Mitchell of the Tharrington Smith law firm left before the open portion of the meeting was reconvened, saying he had a plane to catch because he was going to visit his daughter at college.

School board members entered into closed session shortly after 8:30 a.m. Wednesday, under a provision in state law that allows public bodies to meet in closed session in order to discuss confidential personnel matters and preserve attorney/client privilege, based on the meeting notice.

They reconvened in open session at 1:09 p.m. but took no action other than voting 5-0 to adjourn.

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