Merrill named new Wake Co. superintendent - Local news, weather, sports Savannah | WSAV On Your Side

Merrill named new Wake Co. superintendent

Posted: Updated:
James Merrill James Merrill
Jim Merrill addresses the media after being named superintendent of the Wake County Public School System. Jim Merrill addresses the media after being named superintendent of the Wake County Public School System.
RALEIGH, N.C. -

James Merrill, superintendent of Virginia Beach City Public Schools, was named the new superintendent of North Carolina's largest school system Tuesday night.

"I am both excited and honored to be chosen as the next superintendent of the Wake County Public School System. This system has a legacy of high student achievement, a community that supports its schools, and is viewed as a leader in the state and the nation," Merrill said. "We shall continue to herald our student successes and push each child to his or her next level of accomplishment."

Seven members of the Wake County School Board voted in favor of hiring Merrill, two opposed the hire. Republicans Deborah Prickett and John Tedesco voted in favor of Ann Clark. "I really felt like it was time hire our first female superintendent," Prickett said.

"I do feel there is a sense of nostalgia and return to a belief of what we perceive Wake County was as opposed to what we believe Wake County can be," Tedesco added.

Merrill has been superintendent at the Virginia Beach City Public Schools since 2006 and was named Virginia's "Superintendent of the Year" in 2012. Merrill served six years as superintendent of the Alamance-Burlington School System before being hired in Virginia Beach.

The county expected to announce a decision June 4. But the board announced it was delaying its decision and announced Deputy Superintendent for School Performance Cathy Moore would serve as interim superintendent.

Merrill was chosen out of three finalists, Dana Beden of Irving Texas and Ann Clark, deputy superintendent of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools.

Board Chairman Keith Sutton said, "Dr. Merrill outlined an impressive program of growth for Wake County schools, and brings with him the skill set and institutional knowledge to lead the state's largest public school district into a new era."

Merrill is a 39-year veteran educator, according to the Virginia Beach City Public Schools website. Merrill is no stranger to Wake County where he worked his way up to assistant superintendent of finance before leaving in 2000.

He was a Morehead Scholar at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where he majored in education. Merrill earned his master's degree in educational administration from Appalachian State University and his doctoral degree from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

He and his wife Elizabeth have one son, Barrett, according to the website.

Merrill's frontrunner status was leaded to the media by an unnamed source last week. Sutton said board members responsible for confidential leaks could face public censure or fines.  

 "And I would be the first to support anything that would allow us to penalize to the fullest extent possible," Sutton said.

Wake County Schools hasn't released details of Merrill's contract.  His first day is August 1. 

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • The 10 cities with America’s worst drivers

    The 10 cities with America’s worst drivers

    Tuesday, September 16 2014 1:25 PM EDT2014-09-16 17:25:20 GMT
    Driving in cities on the East Coast doesn't sound too appealing, based on the latest edition of the Allstate America's Best Drivers Report. Of the 200 most populated cities in the country, 9 of the 10 places where it's least safe to drive are located in eastern states.
    Driving in cities on the East Coast doesn't sound too appealing, based on the latest edition of the Allstate America's Best Drivers Report. Of the 200 most populated cities in the country, 9 of the 10 places where it's least safe to drive are located in eastern states.
  • Florida Missing Child Alert: 15-year-old girl

    Florida Missing Child Alert: 15-year-old girl

    Tuesday, September 16 2014 4:23 PM EDT2014-09-16 20:23:50 GMT
    Lindsey Turner (left) could be with Hailey Vallier (right).Lindsey Turner (left) could be with Hailey Vallier (right).
    A Florida Missing Child Alert has been issued for Lindsey Turner, a white female, 15 years old, 5 feet 02 inches tall, 140 pounds, blonde hair, blue eyes, a smiley face scar on inner right wrist, last seen in the 1900 block of W 60th Street in Hialeah.
    A Florida Missing Child Alert has been issued for Lindsey Turner, a white female, 15 years old, 5 feet 02 inches tall, 140 pounds, blonde hair, blue eyes, a smiley face scar on inner right wrist, last seen in the 1900 block of W 60th Street in Hialeah.
  • Bear takes dip in back yard pool

    Bear takes dip in back yard pool

    Tuesday, September 16 2014 1:52 PM EDT2014-09-16 17:52:16 GMT
    NBC News imageNBC News image
    It's no secret that alligators sometimes make their way into pools here in Florida. But, in sunny California, bears have been known to venture into back yards to take a dip.
    It's no secret that alligators sometimes make their way into pools here in Florida. But, in sunny California, bears have been known to venture into back yards to take a dip.
Powered by WorldNow

1430 East Victory Drive
Savannah, GA 31404

Telephone: 912.651.0300
Fax: 912.651.0320
Email: newsemailalert@wsav.com

Can't find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.