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The Franklin News-Post
P. O. Box 250
310 Main Street, SW
Rocky Mount, Virginia 24151
Fax: 540-483-8013

Church is new school superintendent
Local, state officials commend school board's decision
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Staff Photo by K.A. Wagoner: State and local government officials congratulate Dr. Mark Church on his new position as school superintendent. Above, from left, are county Administrator Rick Huff, Supervisors Chairman David Cundiff, Sen. Bill Stanley, Church, Del. Charles Poindexter and Supervisor Charles Wagner.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

By K.A. WAGONER - Staff Writer

Dr. Mark Church is the new superintendent of Franklin County schools.

The school board voted unanimously Monday morning to offer the permanent position to Church, who has been serving as the interim superintendent since July.

"I am very humbled by my selection," Church said. "This is a position I do not take lightly. There are nearly 7,200 students who attend our schools and are counting on me to ensure that they continue to get the best education possible."

"The decisions I make and the path I lead will always have them in mind," he added.

Church was chosen from 10 applicants for the superintendent's position, including candidates from Alabama, North Carolina, South Carolina and other areas of Virginia, according to School Board Chairman Ed Jamison.

After narrowing down the applicant pool to three candidates, the school board conducted interviews last week.

"We are extremely pleased to have found such a well-qualified candidate within the county," Jamison said. "Dr. Church has great respect among his peers, and he understands the issues that are particular to our school system."

"We look forward to working with Dr. Church and leading the school division into the future," Jamison added.

Church's contract should be finalized later this week, Jamison said.

The announcement of Church's hiring was met with a standing ovation from a large audience, which included state Sen. Bill Stanley, Del. Charles Poindexter, Supervisors Chairman David Cundiff, Rocky Mount Supervisor Charles Wagner and Franklin County Administrator Rick Huff. The local and state officials shook Church's hand and praised the school board's selection.

"Dr. Church is the right person for the job," Poindexter said. "He not only is an expert in education, his background in career and technical education and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) is exactly what we need."

"The jobs of the future are career and technical," Poindexter added. "Dr. Church's expertise will help move the system forward with students obtaining the skills they need in this new economy."

Wagner also commended the school board on its decision.

"Dr. Church is admired and respected in the community," he said. "We have a really good school system. We can make it a great school system under Dr. Church's leadership."

Church, a 1982 graduate of FCHS, worked as an administrator at Franklin County High School and career and technical director for 12 years before his appointment as interim superintendent.

Church earned his bachelor's degree at James Madison University, a master's degree in education (Educational Leadership) from Lynchburg College, and eventually obtained three graduate degrees from Virginia Tech (Ph.D. and Ed.S. in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies and M.S.Ed. in Vocational and Technical Education).

Church 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.

The superintendent position became vacant in July when the board voted 5 to 3 to terminate the former superintendent's contract.

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