News in brief: Asheville City Schools names new superintendent; candidates announced for APD police chief

ON THE JOB: Gene Freeman, new superintendent of Asheville City Schools, will start work next July. Photo courtesy of Asheville City Schools

Asheville City Schools selects Gene Freeman for superintendent 

Asheville City Schools announced Dec. 19 that the system had chosen Gene Freeman as its new superintendent. Freeman is currently the superintendent of the Fox Chapel Area School District, located in a suburb of Pittsburgh, and has more than 25 years of experience in education. The Asheville City Board of Education began its search for a new superintendent following the resignation of Denise Patterson on June 12 for unspecified medical reasons. Freeman was chosen from a pool of 28 candidates and will start work on Wednesday, July 1. Bobbie Short will continue to serve as interim superintendent throughout the transition. More information is available at avl.mx/6te.

Campbell announces Asheville police chief finalists 

Asheville City Manager Debra Campbell held a public meet and greet on Dec. 17 to introduce the city’s top three candidates for chief of police of the Asheville Police Department. Those choices were David Zack, who works as the police chief in Cheektowaga, N.Y.; Cincinnati Police Department Capt. Maurice Robinson; and James Nolette, assistant chief at the Fayetteville Police Department. The candidates were recruited by research and consulting group Police Executive Research Forum, which the city hired to help fill the position. The search for a new police chief launched in November following the abrupt resignation of former Chief Chris Bailey in September after less than two months on the job (avl.mx/6sc). Campbell said she expects to select one of the candidates in January. 

Neuroscientist Richard Davidson to speak at UNCA Feb. 13-14

Richard Davidson, co-author of “Altered Traits: Science Reveals How Meditation Changes Your Mind, Brain, and Body,” will give a lecture on how meditation and related contemplative practices improve well-being at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 13, at UNC Asheville’s Lipinsky Auditorium. Davidson will then lead a master class at 9 a.m. on Friday, Feb. 14, in the Highsmith Student Union Blue Ridge Room. Both events are free and open to the public, and no tickets are required. More information is available at avl.mx/6tc.

APD to add new patrol district

The Asheville Police Department plans to add a new patrol district, known as the Charlie District, that will cover downtown, the South Slope, South French Broad, River Arts District and neighborhoods along Martin Luther King Jr. Drive starting in January. The department also plans to realign its three current patrol districts, located in West Asheville, North and Central Asheville and South and East Asheville, to increase efficiency and response time. More information can be found at avl.mx/6td.

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