LUMBERTON — The Board of Education for the Public Schools of Robeson County on Tuesday night voted unanimously to approve two new assistant superintendents who will replace two who are retiring after several decades with the school system.
Tommy Lowry, superintendent of the Public Schools of Robeson County, recommended that the board approve Thomas Benson III and Robert Locklear to replace Linda Emanuel and Stephen Gaskins. Information on the two was not immediately available and their specific titles and duties have been yet to be decided.
Emanuel has worked in the Public Schools of Robeson County for about 48 years. She spent the majority of those years teaching at Magnolia Elementary School in Lumberton, after which she became an executive director at the central office. She most recently served as the assistant superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction, helping to create curriculum for students in the Public Schools of Robeson County.
Gaskins has worked in education for 36 years and has served as the system’s assistant superintendent of Human Resources for the last four. Previously, he worked as a principal at Lumberton and St. Pauls high schools, was an assistant principal at Purnell Swett High School for three years and taught in Wilmington and Lumberton for 19 years. He was also a coach for many years, including boys basketball at Littlefield High School before school systems merged.
In other business, the board:
— Installed new board members Brain Freeman, Craig Lowry and Charles Bullard as well as returning board members Loistine DeFreece, John Campbell, Steve Martin and Randy Lawson. The board also voted to make DeFreece its chairman and Peggy Wilkins-Chavis its vice chairman. The new and returning board members gave brief remarks.
— Approved Lowry’s recommendation to make Andre Ramseur interim principal for Townsend Middle School; James A. Hunt interim principal for Deep Branch Elementary School; Anthony Barton interim principal for Pembroke Middle School; Chris Burton assistant principal for Fairmont High School; Travis Kemp assistant principal for Purnell Swett High School; Erica McComb assistant principal for Fairmont Middle School; Christina McMillan assistant principal for Townsend Middle School; and Denise Hunt, full time assistant principal for Rosenwald Elementary.
— Heard from Colden Locklear, who works for the Public Schools of Robeson County and was upset that his retirement was accepted although he withdrew the request before board members voted. He asked to remain employed with the system.
— Heard from Gaskins, who said the system currently has the fewest teacher vacancies that he could ever remember. He credited the Beginning Teacher Support Plan, which uses four mentor teachers who support new teachers throughout their first year.
— Heard from Jadell Hawks, director of Student Services, who said 54 student cases that were referred to the Department of Social Services were accepted as abuse.
— Approved the 2016-2017 testing calendar.
— Authorized Lowry to continue communicating with Robin Cummings, chancellor of The University of North Carolina at Pembroke, about the possibility of a second Early College High School at the university. One already exists at Robeson Community College that typically has more applicants than it can accommodate.
— Approved Vertical Church’s’s contract to use Lumberton Senior High School for church services on Sundays.
— Heard from Erica Setzer, financial officer for the Public Schools of Robeson County, who gave an update on the state budget. She said teachers will average a 4.7 percent pay increase. Principals, classified employees and central office employees will receive a 1.5 percent pay increase with a 0.5 percent bonus in October.
Gabrielle Isaac can be reached at 910-816-1989 or on Twitter @news_gabbie.