The Sampson County Board of Education has proven that, indeed, good things come to those who wait.
Members could have knee-jerked reacted to news last summer that Dr. Ethan Lenker would be taking the helm of Pitt County Schools, thinking they needed to replace the outgoing school chief as quickly as possible, particularly given that a new school year was upon them and leadership needed to be in place. Instead, board members worked first to get an interim superintendent before Lenker’s departure, then they began the arduous process of searching for a new leader.
They mapped out a plan, and by all accounts, members stuck to that plan until Thursday when they voted unanimously to hire Dr. Eric C. Bracy to lead their system.
While it appeared to many that the board was taking a long time to choose a new leader, members’ slow, methodical manner of making the selection was the right way to handle such an important decision.
That was made easier because of interim superintendent Mike Warren, a Sampson County native who stepped into the position with ease and ran the system like the well-oiled machine Lenker had left behind. There were no ripples in the water during a time when a tidal wave could have easily formed, what with a long-time superintendent stepping down just as a new school year was about to get under way.
Lenker had paved a good road, and Warren was the perfect choice to lead educators along the path the former superintendent had left behind.
And because the course was charted so perfectly, school board members were allowed some wiggle room to get the all-important task of selecting the next superintendent done, but without feeling so pressured to get it done immediately.
By taking their time, members were able to have lengthy discussions about the system’s future and about the leader they wanted to see at the helm. They were able to conduct the search openly, scour applications and carry out interviews without the under-the-gun pressure that often results in hurried decisions that don’t always pan out.
Now, four months later, the school board has named its new leaders and members seem pleased with their choice.
Board chairman Telfair Simpson said Thursday that the process had not been a quick nor easy one, but the end result, he felt, had led members to the “right person for the job.”
“We feel like he’s (Bracy) a quality person,” Simpson said after Bracy’s hiring Thursday.
While the proof of Bracy’s leadership won’t be seen until he actually takes the helm in February and has time to chart his — and the system’s — course, on first glimpse we believe school board member’s have taken a very proactive and positive approach in selecting a new leader.
Bracy’s credentials are impressive, and his first public remarks to school board members show us a man who, if he puts action behind his words, will be an effective leader for both educators and students in Sampson County Schools.
“I’m not coming here looking for a job,” Bracy told the school board, “but for an opportunity to serve.”
We look forward to seeing what Bracy will offer the county school system come next year and beyond.
School board members obviously believe he has a lot to offer, and given the methodical approach they’ve taken in selecting the new leader, we feel confident their choice will be a really good one.