Clemons leaving Franklin

Published 9:28 am Friday, May 6, 2011

FRANKLIN—Franklin Public Schools Assistant Superintendent Dr. Walter R. “Rick” Clemons has accepted the position of superintendent of Northampton County Public Schools on the Eastern Shore.

“I’m very excited,” Clemons said Thursday. “That’s been my professional goal since assuming the position of assistant superintendent. I’m very thankful for the opportunity that has been given to me.”

Clemons, whose last day will be June 30, was among 36 to inquire about the job, said Northampton School Board Chairman Dr. Richard Drury.

“We had18 formal applications, and out of the 18, narrowed it down to four. Dr. Clemons turned out to be number one,” Drury said. “He’s exactly the fit that we need with our demographics. This school system and Franklin are very similar.”

Northampton Public Schools has 1,800 students, nearly twice as many as Franklin. It has the same demographics as Franklin and turnaround challenges, Drury said.

Clemons will replace Dr. Richard Bowmaster, who is retiring after 22 years with the district.

Frankin School Board Chairman Bill Scarboro is happy for Clemons.

“That’s great,” Scarboro said. “I wish him well, and I know he’ll do the very best for them.”

Thursday was the first time he’d heard the news, so he couldn’t comment on filling the position.

“We haven’t really discussed what we might need to do with his duties,” Scarboro said. “That’s action to come.”

A native of Smithfield and graduate of Smithfield High School, Clemons received his undergraduate and graduate degrees in music education from Norfolk State University, his certificate in advanced study in education administration from Old Dominion University and his doctorate from Virginia Tech.

The 46-year-old spent the first seven years of his career directing the bands in Isle of Wight and Newport News schools. He went to Gildersleeve Middle School for one year before going to West Charlotte Senior High School in Charlotte, N.C., where he was an assistant principal.

Clemons began serving as principal for Franklin High School on July 1, 1999. He was named assistant superintendent in January 2005.

Clemons said he would miss the students, teachers and parents he worked with while serving as principal.

“The community as a whole has been very supportive,” he said. “I will miss my colleagues. Everyone in Franklin has been so supportive.”

Clemons and his wife, LaGuamna, have been married 12 years. They have a nine-month-old son, Walter R. Clemons Jr.