The Franklin News-Post|
P. O. Box 250
310 Main Street, SW
Rocky Mount, Virginia 24151
|The 1982 graduate of FCHS has worked at the high school for 12 years|
Dr. Mark Church, a 1982 graduate of FCHS, has been director of career and technical education in the school system for 12 years.
Wednesday, July 18, 2012
By CHARLES BOOTHE AND K.A. WAGONER - Staff Writers
Dr. Mark Church, a 1982 graduate of FCHS, has been named as the interim superintendent of Franklin County schools.
"Dr. Church will do a great job," said School Board Chairman Ed Jamison. "With his credentials and his passion for our school system and students, we are very pleased to announce his appointment."
Church was appointed to the position Monday night by the board and was sworn in as interim superintendent Tuesday morning by Clerk of Circuit Court Teresa Brown.
"It is certainly an honor to be selected by the board and to know they have the confidence in me to run the school division effectively," Church said.
Church's approach to education, and life, is a servant-leadership philosophy. "We lead best when we are helping build others up," he said.
The focus of the school system should be on students, he said, "creating the best learning environment for our children."
To accomplish this, a collaborative effort is needed, not only between teachers, administrators, parents and students, but with the community as well.
"Education is a community responsibility," Church said. "These are your schools, your high school. Even if you don't have children in school, everybody benefits from a well-educated community."
School employees as well as the public should be part of the process, providing input and maintaining good communications, he said. "We have to work together for the common good, providing every child an opportunity."
If that opportunity is provided, every student can be successful, he added.
"It's a matter of finding a student's interest, recognizing talent and encouraging the student to step beyond themselves and their circumstances," he said. "A good teacher does that."
And if the parents, school system and community are all on board, the student will be prepared to succeed, he said.
Church said that, as the superintendent, he will be learning as well.
"It's important that I do a lot of listening," he said. "If there's a problem, it's important to get input from the people who are closest to the problem.... We are all in this together."
Church's family moved to Franklin County from Northern Virginia in the mid-70s, mainly because he had a family connection here. His grandmother, Inez Guilliams Willis, was from Callaway.
After graduating from Franklin County High School in 1982, Church earned his bachelor's degree at James Madison University and eventually obtained four graduate degrees, one from Virginia Tech (education specialist), two from Lynchburg College (career/technical education and school administration), and a doctorate degree from Virginia Tech as an education specialist.
He was state director of the SkillsUSA program before moving back to Franklin County and into the position of director of career and technical education and building administrator at the high school. Church has served in that position for 12 years.
Church's appointment was approved by a 4-2 vote Monday night. School board members Sarah Alexander, Bill Brush, Crystal Naff and Thad Montgomery voted in favor of the appointment. William Helm and G.B. Washburn cast the dissenting votes.
Jamison abstained from the vote because he contacted several school employees to interview for the position, he said.
"I felt it wouldn't be prudent for me to vote after I had previously spoken with those employees," Jamison said. "But I fully support the board's decision to appoint Dr. Church."
Union Hall District member P.D. Hambrick did not attend the meeting Monday night to interview the candidates to fill the position.
The school board voted 5 to 3 on July 9 to terminate Superintendent Charles Lackey's contract. The board will buy out the remainder of his contract, which was set to end June 30, 2013, according to Jamison.