Meet Dr. Smallwood
Otis L. Smallwood has been appointed as the Superintendent of Bertie County Schools, effective July 22. He comes “home” to Bertie County from Jones County, with more than 26 years of experience in public education. He was appointed at a June 5 special called meeting, and was officially announced as the new leader of Bertie County Schools on the afternoon of June 11. The vote from the School Board was unanimous.
Dr. Smallwood has served in a variety of roles in the public school system setting: as a bus driver, teacher, assistant principal, director, and for the past several years, as Assistant Superintendent in Jones County.
Bertie County School Board Chair Mrs. Tarsha Dudley stated, “The leadership skills he has developed over the years more than qualify him to be an effective superintendent.
“Dr. Smallwood is described by his colleagues as a person of high integrity, unwavering professionalism, and one who will always put students first.
“His guidance is grounded in law and policy, as well as the highest moral standards.”
Upon his being introduced as the new Superintendent for Bertie County Schools, Dr. Smallwood expressed gratitude to God for his Hand in this day, the Board for its faith in him, and to his “very first set of
teachers—” his mother and his siblings, who were all present for the announcement.
Dr. Smallwood laughed, “If you ever hear my mom speak about me, she will say she encouraged me to ‘go to school and not be a dummy.’”
The audience laughed in response, and Dr. Smallwood proceeded to call by name the many additional—and many now retired—remarkable educators, who were present to support him when he was in school, when he was going on along the way on his journey, and NOW, as he starts a new chapter, back home in Bertie County.
Dr. Smallwood was raised in the Indian Woods community. He attended West Bertie Elementary School and then went on to graduate from Bertie High School in 1989. He is the youngest of five children, born to Mrs. Maggie Cooper Smallwood and the late Otis Lee Smallwood. He attended Elizabeth City State University and earned a degree in Mathematics Education. In 2001, he earned a Master of School Administration degree from East Carolina University; and he earned his Doctorate in 2015 from Nova Southeastern University.
Dr. Smallwood said to the public, “I am ready and I am here to serve. This business of providing access and opportunities for all of our children is about being a servant-leader.
“For it is written that whomever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant; and whoever wants to be first among you must be a the slave of everyone else.”