New Asheville superintendent to lead district starting June 1

Gene Freeman
COMING SOON: Gene Freeman, new superintendent of Asheville City Schools, is now scheduled to start work on April 20. Photo courtesy of Asheville City Schools

Gene Freeman will begin working at Asheville City Schools on Monday, April 20, earlier than the July 1 start date previously announced, said Shaunda Sandford, chair of the Asheville City Board of Education, at the board’s meeting on April 2.

Freeman and Bobbie Short — who has served three stints as interim superintendent for the district, most recently since the sudden departure in June 2019 of previous Superintendent Denise Patterson — will “co-lead” the district until Short’s final day on May 31, Sandford said.

“This exciting news about Dr. Freeman’s early start dates means the transition between our district will be seamless. Additionally, if all goes well with our anticipated return date [following the lifting of N.C. Gov. Roy Cooper‘s statewide closure of public schools] of May 18, Dr. Freeman will have the opportunity to greet students, visit classrooms and meet with staff and faculty this school year,” Sandford said.

Freeman attended the board’s work session and meeting, though members of the media and public were not allowed to attend in person. An Xpress reporter attempted to enter the Asheville City Schools’ boardroom for the work session but was escorted to an overflow room by a police officer who cited a limitation of 10 attendees. Various school system staffers entered and exited the boardroom for different agenda items. Asheville City Council closed its March 24 regular meeting to in-person attendance by members of the public but made an exception for media.

During the work session, board members discussed a resolution to give emergency powers to Short. Board attorney Chris Campbell said via videoconference that most of the school districts his firm works with have not adopted similar resolutions drafted by the N.C. School Board Association. Although some of Campbell’s remarks were inaudible in the Facebook Live streaming format, he could be heard to say that many superintendents “did not want the broad powers that were … in the original resolution.”

During the board’s regular meeting, the emergency power resolution passed unanimously without discussion. Short told Xpress in a phone conversation after the meeting that those powers would transfer to Freeman on June 1.

“It’s an insurance policy sitting in the drawer so that, if the superintendent couldn’t get [the board] together under the open meetings law and something had to get bid, there’s no question that that authority is there,” Campbell said.

In an announcement sent to school families and the media after the April 2 meeting, Short also noted that the board had selected Derek Edwards as Asheville High School principal.

“Since moving to the high school this past January, Mr. Edwards has done a tremendous job leading the campus as interim principal,” Short said.

 

See also:

 

SHARE

Thanks for reading through to the end…

We share your inclination to get the whole story. For the past 25 years, Xpress has been committed to in-depth, balanced reporting about the greater Asheville area. We want everyone to have access to our stories. That’s a big part of why we've never charged for the paper or put up a paywall.

We’re pretty sure that you know journalism faces big challenges these days. Advertising no longer pays the whole cost. Media outlets around the country are asking their readers to chip in. Xpress needs help, too. We hope you’ll consider signing up to be a member of Xpress. For as little as $5 a month — the cost of a craft beer or kombucha — you can help keep local journalism strong. It only takes a moment.

About Virginia Daffron
Managing editor, lover of mountains, native of WNC. Follow me @virginiadaffron

Before you comment

The comments section is here to provide a platform for civil dialogue on the issues we face together as a local community. Xpress is committed to offering this platform for all voices, but when the tone of the discussion gets nasty or strays off topic, we believe many people choose not to participate. Xpress editors are determined to moderate comments to ensure a constructive interchange is maintained. All comments judged not to be in keeping with the spirit of civil discourse will be removed and repeat violators will be banned. See here for our terms of service. Thank you for being part of this effort to promote respectful discussion.

3 thoughts on “New Asheville superintendent to lead district starting June 1

  1. Enlightened Enigma

    Get your child out of government run schools as fast as you CAN! They will thank you forevah!

Leave a Reply to Dopamina ×

To leave a reply you may Login with your Mountain Xpress account, connect socially or enter your name and e-mail. Your e-mail address will not be published. All fields are required.