Pitt superintendent: 'If everybody likes you, you're not making decisions'
Pitt County School Superintendent Dr. Beverly Emory is speaking out about her accomplishments and challenges before she leaves the school system for a new job.
Dr. Emory has served as the superintendent of PCS since 2006. In July, she will officially become the superintendent of Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools. Emory's hiring was announced Tuesday morning. Her new school system is more than double the size of PCS.
“I’m excited for the challenge for the new opportunity. It's a good career move for me,” Emory said.
She will be most remembered for dealing with re-districting and the scandal surrounding the suspension of DH Conley High School football player Maleek Gorham.
“If everybody likes you, you're not making decisions,” she said.
Several people in the community didn't like the way she handled the Gorham case. He transferred from J.H. Rose High School to D.H. Conley High School in the summer of 2012. However, he was suspended halfway through the season because PCS officials say he and his family falsified residential information. It's a case that went to the state's highest court, where the decision was upheld.
“You can't turn your back and ignore those things. And I would rather be remembered for tackling them, even if i didn't handle them the greatest,” Emory said.
Then, rumors swirled that other student-athletes were not living in the school districts they were attending. Emory attempted to take action by secretly hiring someone to look into it.
“I don't regret hiring an investigator. I don't regret that is cost us only $3,500. I regret that I didn't broadcast it from the rooftops and make a big deal about the fact that we were doing it…What personally pained me the most in that was any thought that I was doing something wrong or trying to hide it. And I wasn't. I was just trying to be fair,” Emory said.
Despite the controversy, Emory said she is proud of her accomplishments. During her tenure, test scores have improved, the graduation rate has improved from 58 % to 73 % and the dropout rate is down by 50%.
“Would I say I achieved all my goals? No, but I feel good that we made improvements. A lot of improvements along the way,” she said.
She also said none of the challenges she has faced as superintendent had anything to do with her decision to leave.
Dr. Emory said the school system officially accepted her resignation Thursday afternoon. Her last day on the job will be June 30th.
There’s no word yet on who will replace her.
In a letter to the school board Emory wrote:
March 26, 2013
Dear PCS Family,
This morning I have been offered and accepted the Superintendent position in the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County School District. This opportunity is bittersweet. I have dearly loved this district, the tremendous growth and progress you have made for our children and the wonderful people who make it happen here...YOU.
It is time for me to make a change and this new position is both a challenge and an honor for me. I will be less than two hours from home where my parents still reside and within an hour of most all my family members in this state. W-S/FCSD is a district much like us that has faced similar challenges and made good progress; it feels like a good match for me.
My pledge to you is that I will work tirelessly to ensure a smooth transition and to support your work as best I can in the days ahead. You have been like a family to me and I so respect and admire all that you do every day for our students. I am incredibly proud of all that we have accomplished for the students and our community. There is much work to be done, but you are more than UP to the cause!
All my Best,
Bev Reep Emory
To learn and never be filled is WISDOM. To teach and never be weary is LOVE.
Dr. Emory also wrote a letter to her administrative staff:
March 26, 2013
Dear Administrative Family,
A little after 10 this morning, I signed a contract to become Superintendent of the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County School District effective July 1. It is a bittersweet decision for me as I love this community and have thoroughly enjoyed our work here.
You are such hardworking and devoted leaders and you demonstrate every day what it takes to help children succeed. It has been my sincere honor to work with each and everyone of you. I will work just as hard to ensure a smooth transition as I have worked with you for seven years. You have been like my family and I will miss the culture and community we have built in this district for our students.
Thank you for understanding this decision and how difficult it was for me. An important aspect of leadership is being intuitive about your own effectiveness… I think new leadership will be a good thing for this school system and I pledge to do whatever I can to ensure that happens in PCS.
Please know you are loved, appreciated and respected. Bev
From the James Taylor song, "Another Day"
Another night has gone, life goes on, another dawn is breaking.
Turn and face the sun, one by one, the world outside is waking.
Morning light has driven away all the shadows that hide your way.
And night has given away to the promise of another day.
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