Acting Wake schools superintendent seeks teamwork

tgoldsmith@newsobserver.comOctober 1, 2012 

Dr. Stephen Gainey became assistant superintendent for human resources in 2009.

WAKE COUNTY SCHOOLS

— Acting Wake County Superintendent Stephen Gainey on Monday entered his first full week as the replacement for ousted leader Tony Tata with a stack of pressing issues made even tougher by Tata’s forced departure.

Getting public support for a school construction bond issue and next year’s budget for the growing school system could be more difficult given the perception that the school board is more concerned with politics than with getting things done.

“Our role is to make sure that we are making sound requests, with research and support for why we are making that request,” Gainey said.

Although he’s still developing first-hand knowledge of some of the system’s issues, Gainey said, he was in touch with many of them in his prior job as assistant superintendent for human resources. For example, he worked to hire more bus drivers after this school year began with massive transportation-related problems.

Gainey said he wants to work collaboratively with the board on issues such as funding problems, an in-progress student assignment plan and the system’s accreditation.

“I prefer that the board and I work as a team,” Gainey said. “I will not choose sides on the board.”

Gainey, 42, was approved for a 60-day stint as acting superintendent after Tata’s ouster. Board members from both parties voiced support and respect for him. He had served as a teacher, assistant principal and principal in Wake schools before joining the administration.

“I want the Board of Education to be a successful group,” he said. “We are going to continue to work to promote consensus and we are not going to give up on it. A whole bunch of children depend on that.”

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