Race role in school chief hunt debated.

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Jenkins, Venita. “Race role in school chief hunt debated.” Fayetteville Observer Wednesday, 24 April 2002.


The Robeson County school board voted on Monday not to grant Superintendent Barry Harding the three-year contract extension he requested. His contract expires June 30, 2002. The school board voted to create a search committe to hire a new superintendent.

School board chairperson Patrick Bullard mentioned that the school system administration's handling of personnel issues was a factor in his vote in favor of hiring a new superintendent.

The school board plans to contact the North Carolina School Boards Association and ask them to screen applicants, sending documents to the board with the applicant's name and race removed.

The article discusses race as a factor in hiring school superintendents in Robeson County, with comments from several individuals. Robeson County’s population is 38% Indian, 33% White, and 25% Black. In 1998, many wanted Lumbee superintendent Purnell Swett, who was leaving the position, replaced with a Lumbee. The next superintendent was Lumbee Barry Harding. School board member Robert Deese (Lumbee) commented, “If we get the right person, we can continue our progress or we can get mired down in race and other things and go right back to 15 low-performing schools.”

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