Halifax schools superintendent resigns
Posted August 18, 2009 11:40 a.m. EDT
Updated August 18, 2009 12:16 p.m. EDT
Halifax, N.C. — Geraldine Middleton, the superintendent of the troubled Halifax County Schools district, resigned Monday to take a position with the Chicago Public School System.
Her resignation takes effect Sept. 18.
State education officials are working with teachers and school administrators in the county to boost student achievement.
More than 71 percent of the district's elementary school students aren't proficient in reading, and 74.3 percent of middle school students aren't proficient, according to state figures. At the high school level, about one-third of the students are considered proficient on end-of-course tests, compared with 68 percent statewide.
The performance prompted Superior Court Judge Howard Manning to call in March for a state takeover of the district, equating continued poor performance with "academic genocide." Manning has long overseen the academic performance of state schools after a ruling several years ago in a case that sought to get more state support for school districts in low-income and rural areas.
Gov. Beverly Perdue, state education officials and Halifax school administrators said the effort – the first of its kind in North Carolina – isn't a state takeover. Instead, they view it as a partnership to ensure local students keep pace with their peers statewide.
Middleton has led the Halifax County school district for two years. In Chicago, the nation's third-largest school district, she will oversee 30 to 40 schools.
She said in a statement that she worked tirelessly for the district and defended the "difficult decisions" she made.
"I was vigilant in my attempts to raise test scores, create positive learning environments, implement new programs and create the financial stability of the district," she said. “Difficult decisions are not always popular; however, if they are made in the best interest of children, they become challenges you cannot, should not and must not ignore."