IWCS names new school leader

Published 1:06 pm Saturday, May 23, 2015

Dr. James Thornton has been selected as the next superintendent of Isle of Wight County Schools by unanimous vote at Friday’s special school board meeting. His new position will be effective on Wednesday, July 1. Kenita Bowers, school spokeswoman, made the announcement that afternoon.

According to a copy of his contract, Thornton’s salary is $142,500 each fiscal year, and could be adjusted or raised during his contract.

Thornton, who was one of seven candidates interviewed, has 11 years of experience as a superintendent, most recently as the superintendent of Mecklenburg County Public Schools in Virginia, a position he has held since 2010. With more than 25 years of experience in education, Thornton previously served as an assistant superintendent, principal, assistant principal, athletic director, and teacher.

“I am excited about the opportunity to work with the School Board, faculty, staff, and the community of Isle of Wight County to continue the student successes under the leadership of Dr. Perera,” said Thornton. “I believe in a culture of excellence in which students and educators create beautiful, quality work. I look forward to meeting everyone soon.”

Thornton received the Jefferson Professional Achievement Alumni Award for Distinguished Service and Leadership from Longwood University in 2011. In 2008, he was presented the Cumberland Branch NAACP Community Service Award. He also received the Region 8 Superintendent of the year award from the Virginia Association of School Superintendents and the Longwood University, College of Education and Human Services, 2007 Professional Who Made A Difference Award.

Denise Tynes, Isle of Wight County School Board chairwoman, believes Thornton will be a great fit for the division.

“Dr. Thornton will provide the leadership that our school division needs to continue on the path of educational excellence,” she said. “We look forward to his experience and academic expertise moving our students forward.”

Thornton earned his doctor of education in educational leadership and policy from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, master of education in supervision and administration from Virginia State University, and bachelor of science in mathematics from Longwood University. He and his wife, Mary, have two children, a son, Sean, who attends Tidewater Community College in Virginia Beach, and a daughter, Kelsey, who will attend Virginia Tech in the fall.