S.P. Morton principal comes out of retirement

Published 11:53 am Saturday, July 28, 2012

FRANKLIN—The Franklin School Board’s choice to lead S.P. Morton Elementary School worked one year of a four-year contract as Bertie County superintendent before retiring.

Dr. Debbie Harris Rollins’ departure in July was a surprise for Gloria Lee, chairwoman of the Bertie County School Board.

“We were surprised by it, but we understood it,” Lee said.

Lee said she was surprised to learn that Rollins, who was paid $125,000 a year, was hired as principal in another district so quickly.

“I thought she was just retiring,” Lee said. “Evidently she had already applied for this job (before she left).”

Rollins will be paid $75,468 in her new job.

A 31-year educator, Rollins moved closer to Franklin for personal reasons and had to retire.

“In North Carolina you can’t be a superintendent and not live in the district,” she said.

Board Vice-Chairwoman Emma Johnson said she wasn’t surprised Rollins found a new job so quickly and tried to talk her into staying.

“She was an excellent superintendent,” Johnson said. “She was a leader.”

Rollins said she’s looking forward to being back in an elementary school setting.

“After 31 years I feel I still have a lot to offer to students and teachers,” she said.

Rollins has served as a classroom teacher, assistant principal, principal, administrator and coordinator of professional learning with the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction. She has spent 11 years as an elementary school teacher and principal.