City school board appoints new superintendent

Published 10:28 am Monday, April 17, 2017

The Franklin City School Board voted unanimously with one absent to appoint Tamara Sterling as the division’s new superintendent during their regular scheduled board meeting on Thursday evening. They also voted to promote Kelvin Edwards Sr., who had been serving as the division’s interim superintendent since November, to assistant superintendent.

Sterling comes to Franklin from Accomack County Schools, where she had previously served as director of secondary instruction since 2014.

According to Board Chairman Bob Holt, the division had received 37 inquiries regarding the superintendent position and 29 completed applications, which the board screened down to 10 with the help of representatives from the Virginia School Board Association. Of those, they interviewed six, and brought three back for a second interview before ultimately offering the position to Sterling.

“We welcome Ms. Sterling to Franklin City Public Schools,” Holt said. “Her leadership, vision and experience will be a great asset to the division and community.”

Holt and Vice Chairwoman Dr. Andrea Hall-Leonard also both commended Edwards for filling in as interim superintendent during the division’s superintendent search, several weeks of which were spent without a school board. Holt said that Edwards will retain the responsibilities of his previous position as director of teaching and learning, in addition to now being formally recognized as the division’s number two person.

“I am extremely honored to be selected as the next superintendent of Franklin City Public Schools,” Sterling said. “My vision is to work collaboratively with the school board while leading teams of educators, students, parents and community members to move Franklin City Schools to the next level of success. Franklin is a family-oriented, close-knit community and I’m looking forward to making it my home.”

Sterling comes from Accomack County, where she served as director of secondary instruction for Accomack County Schools since 2014. She has over 20 years experience in education, having worked as a teacher, assistant principal, principal and director of secondary education in Virginia, Rhode Island and Texas.

She has a master’s of educational leadership from Prairie View A&M University and a bachelor of arts in speech communication with a minor in history from Texas Southern University. She is currently enrolled in the doctoral program at the University of New England, studying educational leadership. She is also enrolled in the AASA Urban Superintendents Leadership Academy, held in partnership with Howard University, and expects to graduate in May.

Sterling’s first day on the job will be June 19. According to Holt, she is planning to relocate to Franklin and enroll her children in FCPS.

The board also voted unanimously to approve changes to the Virginia School Board Association’s policies that were made in February to reflect recently passed General Assembly laws, and to approve the division’s 2017-2018 federal Perkins Plan and budget for career and technical education. They also approved an overnight field trip for Franklin High School’s HOSA team to Orlando, Florida to participate in a competition.

The board then voted to delay approval of its special education annual plan and part B flow-through application for the 2017-2018 school year after Hall-Leonard questioned whether the division’s special education committee had actually reviewed the plan. They also voted to amend board policy IKF to no longer require high school students to complete a CTE program in order to graduate.

Division staff informed the board that the policy, which had mandated that every high school student entering ninth grade during the 2013-2014 school year take and pass consecutive CTE classes in a program such as building trades I and II by their senior year in order to graduate, that the policy would prevent several students who are now seniors from graduating this year.

Sheila Minor, the division’s interim finance director, also presented the board with an overview of the division’s projected budget for fiscal year 2017-2018 but the board voted to delay approval of the budget until after their May 4 budget work session, citing several line items on which the members wanted more information.

That meeting will be held at 6 p.m. in city hall and will replace the meeting originally scheduled for April 27.