Interim Wake schools chief headed to Randolph County
Posted April 2, 2013
Raleigh, N.C. — Wake County schools interim superintendent Stephen Gainey announced Tuesday that he will be leaving North Carolina's largest school district to become superintendent of the Randolph County Schools system.
Gainey was appointed interim schools chief by the Wake County Board of Education after the controversial firing of Tony Tata in September. The school system hopes to select Tata's permanent replacement by July 1, the same day Gainey will begin his new post.
"I am very excited about this opportunity. Continuous improvement as a school system and a focus on keeping kids first will be our top priorities as we look to a bright, positive future for the Randolph County School System," Gainey said in a statement. "My family and I look forward to moving to a new community, making new friends and becoming a part of something special."
In a media briefing late Tuesday afternoon, Gainey praised the Wake County system and its school board, but said it was "time to turn a new page."
"They have been tremendous to me. They have let an inexperienced superintendent learn his way the last six months," Gainey said. "It's been a great experience."
The admiration seems to be mutual.
"We are losing a stellar employee, a great leader," said school board Chairman Keith Sutton.
Gainey said he didn't apply for the open superintendent position in Wake County, in part, because he was already in talks with Randolph County Schools. He was drawn to that system for its size and its priorities as well as its challenges, he said.
"Randolph County grabbed me. They grabbed my heart," he said.
The Randolph County Board of Education said it was thrilled to welcome Gainey to the school system.
Citing a track record of raising student achievement and retaining talented employees, the school board said Gainey "leads by example."
"He is known as a collaborative, thoughtful and driven leader who can build consensus and who always puts the students first," the school board said in a statement. "The board felt that Dr. Gainey’s credentials, skills, passion and dedication, in conjunction with his experience as Acting/Interim Superintendent for the Wake County Schools, would best serve the students, staff and community for years to come."