Durham County

School district’s human resources leader takes leave of absence

Thomas Crabtree, the Durham Public Schools’ assistant superintendent of human resources, has taken a three-month leave of absence to deal with an undisclosed illness.

DPS confirmed that Crabtree would be on leave for the next three months.

“We wish him well and hope he recovers as soon as possible,” Hugh Osteen, the district’s deputy superintendent of operations, wrote in a message to the school board.

Osteen said he and his staff will work to support the district’s human resource department in Crabtree’s absence.

“There may be an acting or interim department head eventually, but for now please contact me or any HR team member as needed,” Osteen said.

Crabtree has led the school district’s human resources department since 2014.

He worked for DPS before 2014, but left in 2010 to join a private firm, then returned to public schools as the assistant superintendent of human resources in Nash-Rocky Mount Public Schools.

Crabtree’s leave of absence comes at a critical time for the school district, which is now in the teacher hiring and retention season.

School spokesman Chip Sudderth said Tuesday that no interim superintendent has been named.

He said Osteen will assume leadership of the human resources department in the short term and delegate “certain areas” to veteran employees.

“We are meanwhile determining our best option for interim leadership during Mr. Crabtree’s leave,” Sudderth said.

Greg Childress: 919-419-6645, @gchild6645