FOR THE DAILY SOUTHERNER
The current school year is in its final days, and a new leadership team at Edgecombe County Public Schools (ECPS) is gearing up for the upcoming school year.
The team of three leaders in the executive cabinet includes superintendent John Farrelly, who is wrapping up his first year as ECPS leader, associate superintendent Karen Dameron and Dr. Valerie Bridges. Bridges will begin her role as the assistant superintendent of the educational program services division on July 1. Bridges replaces Dr. Renee Franklin, who is transferring to Caswell County Schools as the superintendent.
Throughout the summer, the team of three district leaders will develop a new strategic plan and goals for the upcoming school year. The 2013-2014 academic year will begin Aug. 26.
Farrelly expressed his excitement in the direction the district is heading.
“We have significant work to do to get all of our instructional programs where they need to be but we are making strides,” he said. “We have a wonderful community and I am thrilled to be working with all of our school stakeholders. My goal is to provide every student, every day, with a quality education and access to a rigorous curriculum. It takes time but we are setting both short and long term goals. Children in Edgecombe County deserve the best that we can give them. We have many hurdles to climb but I am confident that we will improve our instructional programs significantly over the next several years.”
Farrelly was chosen as the leader of the school system by a unanimous board vote in April 2012 and began July 2012. He came to ECPS from Washington County Schools, where he served as superintendent for three years. Prior to that, he worked in various roles in Alleghany County Schools for eight years, including director of special programs and assistant superintendent of human resources/ high school curriculum. Farrelly has also been an instructor at the community college and university level. He earned his master’s degree in physical education in 1996 at the State University of New York College at Cortland, where he also earned his bachelor’s in physical education in 1992. He also earned a school administrator supervisor certification from the college in 2003.
Bridges joined ECPS in November as the director of student support services and middle school curriculum. She also came to ECPS from Washington County, where she served as an assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction under Farrelly.
“Dr. Bridges may be the finest educator I have ever had a chance to work with,” he said. “She is a true instructional leader who is committed to serving our school community and moving our school system forward.”
Bridges also filled in as the interim superintendent for WCS during their search for a new superintendent. While in Washington County, the two helped contribute to significant gains in student achievement.
“Having previously worked under Mr. Farrelly’s leadership, I have seen first-hand how much he is committed to making a difference in the lives of all students,” said Bridges. “I am excited about the opportunity to work with Mr. Farrelly as well as Ms. Dameron in this new role.”
After a career in accounting, Bridges transitioned into the education field in 1998 upon completion of her teaching certification at Saint Augustine’s College. She began career as a career and technical education teacher before being named the assistant principal at Fuquay-Varina Middle School later that same year. From 2001 to 2005, Bridges also served as the summer academy coordinator.
In 2005, Dr. Bridges assumed the role of principal at Jesse Wharton Elementary School in Greensboro, where she remained until 2011 when she began her tenure at Washington County.
Dr. Bridges holds a doctoral degree in educational research and leadership program evaluation and a master’s degree in school administration from North Carolina State University, along with a Master’s of Business Administration from UNC-Wilmington.
Dameron has been with ECPS since 2005.
“Ms. Dameron is one of the finest Personnel Directors in the state,” stated Farrelly. I am fortunate to have two great leaders working side by side with me.”
Dameron came to ECPS as a director of teacher support after serving Martin County Schools as the assistant personnel director for seven years. She operated the teacher support and personnel support programs for five years before being named the interim assistant superintendent of human resource services when former Assistant Superintendent Roland Whitted retired before taking on the position full time in July 2011. She was named the associate superintendent of operational services in 2011 when several new departments including transportation and maintenance moved to her division after the assistant superintendent of operations position was eliminated as part of the 2011-2012 budget cuts.
Dameron earned a master’s degree in school administration and supervision from East Carolina in 2005 and holds an undergraduate degree in early childhood education from North Carolina Central University.