IW school superintendent decides to stay

Published 10:58 am Friday, August 9, 2013

ISLE OF WIGHT—Isle of Wight County Superintendent A. Katrise Perera has ended her job search, according to a press release issued Thursday from Kenita Bowers, school spokeswoman.

This past spring, Perera, who’s in the second year of her four-year contract, announced to the school board she was seeking “leadership opportunities outside of Isle of Wight County Schools.”

Though the reasons were never stated by the superintendent, Bowers had written in a press release at that time, “In light of the recent occurrences that have taken place within the county, Perera felt that it was in the best interest of her family to seek new opportunities.”

The announcement came in the middle of preparing a new school year budget and the start of the issue involving school board member Herb DeGroft and supervisor Byron Bailey’s controversial emails.

She had since interviewed for positions in Florida and Louisiana, her home state, but neither granted her the jobs.

The school board then publicly said it would back Perera for as long as she was employed as superintendent.

That support was reiterated Thursday by the board.

“We appreciate the dedication that Superintendent Perera has shown to the students, teachers and staff of Isle of Wight County Schools,” said School Board Chairman Robert Eley. “Her priorities as a parent are understandable and her reaffirmed commitment to our school division is commendable. We look forward to progressing in a positive direction under her leadership as we continue preparing our students for educational excellence in the upcoming school year.”

“I have some concern that she may have lost some staff support, including teachers, not just central office,” said Kent Hildebrand. He is the school board member for the Newport District. “I personally talked to her and assured her she has my 100 percent support. Also, I told her that I’m going to keep my eye on her and hold her a little more accountable. She’s assured me she’s back 100 percent, and I hope that’s really the case.”

The announcement goes on to state, “…Perera acknowledges it was difficult to consider the possibility of leaving and graciously thanks the School Board for their flexibility. Encouraged by her family’s intensified desire to remain in Isle of Wight County and support from numerous stakeholders, she is excited about moving IWCS forward in a positive direction.

“I remain steadfastly committed as Division Superintendent to Isle of Wight County Schools and dedicated to collaborating with our teachers, staff, administrators, and community as we lead our 21st century learners on the path to educational excellence,” said Perera. “We have a solid team in place that can truly take our students to new heights and I am positive that we will make great strides in the upcoming school year.”