Orange County Schools picks new superintendent

Sep. 12, 2013 @ 08:23 PM

Gerri Martin was named permanent superintendent of the Orange County Schools Thursday afternoon in a special called board meeting.

Martin (pronounced Mar-TEEN) currently serves as the superintendent of McDowell County Schools, where she has been since July 2012. She will join Orange County in October. A specific date is still being negotiated, along with her salary.

Martin takes over for Del Burns, who has served as interim superintendent since July when he replaced Patrick Rhodes. Rhodes retired at the end June after six years on the job.

Martin was one of 30 applicants from 11 different states who applied to lead OCS.

In a statement read by OCS board chair Donna Coffey, “while many qualified candidates applied, the board felt that Dr. Martin’s experience, credentials, strong communication skills, tenacious work ethic and dedication to student learning would best serve the Orange County students, staff and community.”

After being announced to the crowd of OCS staff, Martin said that she is excited to begin leading Orange County Schools.

“I stand before you today a proud product of public education,” she said. “What we do is not paralleled by any other profession. Orange County Schools has a legacy of excellence and I feel very proud and fortunate to take this responsibility and do even more and make the students of Orange County better.”

Martin has 27 years of experience in education, including serving as an assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction for four years in Granville County, principal in Mount Airy City Schools and as assistant principal in Surry County Schools.

Martin earned her bachelor’s degrees in Spanish and politics from Wake Forest University before earning her master’s degree in educational leadership from Appalachian State University and her doctorate of education leadership and cultural foundations from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

She also has a master level certification in Middle Grades Education.

In 2008, Martin was selected as the Mount Airy City Schools Principal of the Year and as the Dobson Woman’s Club’s Woman of the Year. She received the Lighthouse School Award in 2008 from the Piedmont Triad Education Consortium to honor her advances in technology.

Martin is currently participating in the Next Generation Superintendent Program and has secured several technology grants since 2004.

Coffey explained that Martin has been described as “dynamic, honest, accountable, logical, intelligent, passionate and driven. She is also an excellent communicator who will build strong relationships with school system staff, students and community members.”

Martin was presented to OCS staff in the company of her husband, Rafael, and their two daughters, Victoria who attends the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and Natalie, who will soon be attend an OCS middle school as a 6th grader.