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A Candid Message from the Superintendent and the Board of Education

Other than the arrival and the duration of COVID-19, in my opinion, this has been one of the most tumultuous weeks in Bertie County Schools in the last five years. Emotions and feelings have really been running high. I guess in some ways you can say this has been Bertie’s own small pandemic as it has affected most, if not all, of Bertie County. 


First, let me just say to my students, you rallied around an issue that is important to you. You stood up for someone for whom you have great admiration. You took advantage of your First Amendment right, and that is to be commended.  Despite this, it could have been more classy and cleaner since protests are only allowed in a peaceful manner.  There is never a time you have the right to defame anyone’s character or use lewd and vulgar language (not even on paper).  That is just not acceptable. It is not even legal.  That is not how Bertie should be portrayed! 


It has been the number one priority under this administration to ensure that our kids receive the best: the best materials, the best equipment, the best facilities, etc. Our students deserve the same opportunities and the same access (to the extent of what we can afford) as larger districts in the state. That has always been the priority and that won’t change.  Most importantly, we try to always place the right adult in front of each child every day! That is how we #BuildABetterBertie!


We are always looking to find, hire, and retain the best educators we can. Being fair to our staff at all times is one way we remain able to do this. Bertie County Schools does not select or dismiss employees based on personal agendas, political views, discriminatory criteria, or anything else that could be deemed arbitrary and capricious. That is against the law and that is not how we conduct business contrary to what some may believe.


Every adult that is hired in this district has duties and responsibilities & must meet certain qualifications, and in many cases hold certifications. The district, in many instances, will make a concession and allow staff time to earn their certification. In many cases, teachers are allowed up to three years to obtain the certification necessary to qualify for their job. However, adults must hold up their end of the agreement every year and do the appropriate work to earn the certification. When that does not happen, then and only then will the district move towards employee separation.


But there can be lots of different legitimate reasons that staff change in a school district. Sometimes people decide to seek other opportunities.  Sometimes we determine that we can find someone to do a better job.  In rare circumstances, we have cause to separate an employee. Sometimes employees lose their eligibility for their position. In all of these situations, state law restricts what details we can disclose.


Bertie County Schools, believe it or not, is in a good place.  It is better than it has been for a long while.  We have made great strides over the last few years. Test scores are up, the graduation rate is up, suspensions are down, and teacher turnover has decreased. If we expect to move to the next level, it will take all of us in the community to continue to work together to do what is best for our students. We have to do what is BEST for students, not what we think is best just for specific individuals. Please remember that our schools will only be as good as the community they serve.


So let’s continue to work TOGETHER as we #GetIntheWay for student success. 


Humbly submitted by