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Board Seeks Input for Superintendent Search

Board Seeks Input for Superintendent Search
Denita Dowell-Reavis

February 26th, 2024

By: Dr. Denita Dowell-Reavis

The Alexander County School Board will hear from the public in the group’s search for a new superintendent for the district. In January, Dr. Jennifer Hefner announced she is retiring July 1st after serving as the leader for 10 years. Board members made specific plans for the search during a February 26th work session.

In particular, board members say they are searching for someone with a strong background in finance. The district is facing potential personnel cuts due, in part, to a drop in student enrollment. 

Earlier in February, the board voted 4-3 to have the Masonboro Group out of Wilmington conduct the search. Masonboro was one of four agencies, Chairman Robert Arguelles contacted for a bid. Masonboro had a proposed cost of $18,500. Two of the board members voted for Campbell-Shatley, the district’s law firm. Board member Brigette Rhyne asked that the board hire an interim while considering staff cuts to balance the budget.

The Masonboro Group told the board at the 26th meeting that they could likely have 20-25 candidates for the position. They also touted 16 successful superintendent searches as part of their acumen. 

As the majority of board members said finance should be a strength of the next superintendent, board member Rhyne said, “I don’t want someone to come in and start firing people and closing schools.” Consolidating positions and closing or consolidating schools were two of the top recommendations from parent, community and staff groups last fall when asked how to shore up the budget. Chair Robert Arguelles spoke about finances saying, “I think that if we expand the finance element into ‘Do we have candidates that truly understand that all costs are variable.’ And if all costs are treated as variable they will have the mindset to flex, whether it be brick and mortar, logistics, head count, building utilization, fixed asset utilization, all those kind of elements.” 

The board also discussed that the candidates should have values that reflect the principles of Alexander County and its people. 

The Masonboro group intends to take input at two public meetings next week on March 5th and 7th. The group has also asked district leaders to survey opinions through a questionnaire sent to each household and posted on social media. 



Superintendent Input Sessions

Mar 5 3:45 Staff West Alexander Middle School Media Center

Mar 5 7:00 Community/parent West Alexander Middle School Media Center

Mar 7 3:45 Staff East Alexander Middle School Media Center

Mar 7 7:00 Community/parent East Alexander Middle School Media Center