Durham, N.C. — The Durham County Board of Education appointed Guilford County Chief Administrative Officer Eric Becoats as its new superintendent Wednesday.
Becoats has worked for Guilford County Schools since 2005. He also worked as a school administrator and planner for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools and Baltimore City Public Schools.
"I’m excited. I think Durham is a great community. I think there is great promise, and I’m looking forward to working with the principals, the teachers. I’m ready to come in. I’m ready to listen. I’m also ready to learn, and I’m ready to lead,” Becoats said.
In a 6-1 vote, board members approved Becoats for the post. Member Kirsten Kainz voted against Becoats. WRAL News couldn't reach her for comment Wednesday evening.
Becoats' appointment comes as Durham Schools face a potential loss of about $20 million in local and state funding for the 2010-11 school year.
Becoats said the school system will need to look at its programs and reevaluate how funds are spent. Tough challenges that Becoats said he is ready to tackle.
"I want to make a difference," he said. "My passion is to work with children and to make an improvement for the students that are here in Durham County."
Becoats earned his bachelor’s degree in business and accounting from Lincoln University in Pennsylvania. He earned a master’s degree in financial planning from Johns Hopkins University in Maryland and an educational leadership doctorate from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.
Effective July 1, Becoats will replace Carl Harris, who left in December to start a new job as the deputy assistant secretary of education for policy and strategic initiatives with the U.S. Department of Education.
Harris had served as Durham's superintendent since July 1, 2006.