LUMBERTON — Tommy Lowry signed at three-year contract at the Public Schools of Robeson County Board of Education meeting Tuesday night, officially making him the superintendent of Robeson County schools.
“I’m here to serve the children, that’s my intent,” Lowry said. “I’m going to build on what Dr. Hunt has already built.”
Details of the contract were no immediately available.
Lowry had been serving as interim superintendent since July 1, when Johnny Hunt retired from the Public Schools of Robeson County after nine years as superintendent.
Lowry was offered the job at an emergency school board meeting on Aug. 6. after Rick Watkins, who was originally offered the position, withdrew his candidacy through a letter to the school board. Some board members wanted to continue the superintendent search, but six board members voted to extend a contract to Lowry.
Board member Bosco Locklear, who voted in favor of Lowry after originally supporting Watkins, said that he wanted to have a superintendent in place before the school year started — something he believes would not have happened if the search was continued.
Locklear made a motion at Tuesday’s meeting to approve back-pay for a central office employee, which was later said to be Lowry, from the start of his time as interim superintendent on July 1. The board unanimously approved the retroactive payment.
According to the board’s attorney, Grady Hunt, and Tasha Oxendine, the public information officer for the Public Schools of Robeson County, a copy of Lowry’s contract will be available today. The contract will detail benefits and pay for Lowry.
In other business:
— Amy Haigler, a parent organizer for the Back to School celebration, thanked the board and public for their help at the celebration. A four-minute video that recapped the event displayed pictures of the students receiving their supplies.
— Linda Emanuel discussed the Learners to Leaders program, which is funded by Smithfield Foods Inc., and “provides learning opportunities” to communities in need, including Robeson. Emanuel said that the program helps to prepare students for college by allowing them to attend seminars and visit businesses. She said that the program also equips the teacher-selected students with technology like laptops. Other programs exist in South Dakota, Wisconsin, Virginia and Iowa.
— The board received a cost estimate for the repaving of a road outside of Purnell Swett High School. LL&J, the contracting company, gave several options with different costs. Earnie Hammond, maintenance director for the Public Schools of Robeson County, suggested that the board choose the option that costs $149,000. Erica Setzer will look to see if the money is available before the board makes a decision.
— Lowry announced new assistant principal assignments. The assignments are as follows: Lumberton Senior High, Andrew Davis; Peterson Elementary School, Tawana Curry; Pine Grove Elementary School, James Hardin; Red Springs Middle School, Charles Locklear; and St. Pauls High School, Latonya Bernie.
— The board approved an Exceptional Children policy that states that individuals and schools who do not keep folders on EC students current will be reprimanded.
— Lowry who said that he received a memo about openings on the State Board of Education. He encouraged board members to apply.
— Lowry reminded the public and the board members that open houses would be held at schools throughout the county on Aug. 20 and Aug. 21.
— The board approved the financial report, school fundraisers and student transfers.