New superintendent to be sworn in

Published 10:42 pm Friday, October 4, 2019

New Suffolk Public Schools Superintendent Dr. John B. Gordon III will be formally sworn prior to Thursday’s School Board meeting at City Hall.

The swearing-in ceremony and reception will begin at 5 p.m., with the meeting following at 7 p.m.

Gordon’s hiring was announced at the Sept. 12 board meeting, and he will officially start Oct. 14. He replaces Dr. Deran Whitney, whose official last day was Aug. 31. Dr. LaToya Harrison has been serving as interim superintendent.

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The change in superintendent comes as the state Department of Education recently announced that the entire school division has been fully accredited.

“It’s an exciting time in the history of our school system, for sure,” Harrison said. “We’re looking forward for that, sort of, good-to-great, building on the successes of the past and taking us into the future. I look forward to working with Dr. Gordon, because I know he’s got great things in store.”

In addition to Thursday’s ceremony, Gordon will have meet-and-greets at all three high schools this month. The first will take place Oct. 15 at Nansemond River High School, with the others on Oct. 23 at Lakeland High School and Oct. 28 at King’s Fork High School. All three events will begin at 7 p.m.

The sessions are being billed as an opportunity for the public to hear Gordon’s vision for the school division and ask questions of him.

Gordon’s salary will be $180,000, not inclusive of other benefits, and his contract will run from Oct. 14 through June 30, 2022.

Harrison will return full time to her duties as assistant superintendent of teaching and learning.

“It’s been a pleasure to serve,” Harrison said. “That’s always my focus is just doing whatever is needed to help our school division succeed. But I am thrilled about the transition and the direction that we’re headed in, for sure. Dr. Gordon is bringing a great vision to our school division, and I’m going to be here to support that.

“He brings a tremendous amount of experience, and it’s always great to have that fresh perspective and just partner with him and support his vision in taking us forward as a school division. I think that’s going to be great for us.”

The division will also be looking to fill a vacant director of secondary leadership position, as Dr. Stenette Byrd III, who was the division’s director of secondary leadership, left to become the executive director of elementary leadership for Newport News Public Schools.