For some reason, Stephen Gainey didnt go running in the opposite direction when asked to take over as interim superintendent of schools in Wake County six months ago. Gainey had been back in the Wake schools (after three years in a Burlington middle school) since 2004, when he became principal of Leesville Road High. Word of his popularity there got around, and moved into central office administration.
In fact, Gainey, 43, would have been a good candidate for Wake superintendent, eventually if not immediately, but he took himself out of the running as the school board began a search for a successor to Tony Tata, who was fired after the volatile Republican majority on the board was overturned in the 2011 election. Two school board members later resigned, and the board continues to talk about assignment plans and short- and long-range goals.
The schools, in other words, were in something of a whirlwind when Gainey assumed control. He brought a calming influence and reduced the turbulence. Watching him at meetings, observers could easily see why he was a good principal. He could not be ruffled. He smiled easily. He got along with Republicans and Democrats on the school board and in recent, often-contentious meetings with the Wake County commissioners. Gainey seemed at times to be the only person in the room who was popular with everyone.
Gainey explained that he liked the Piedmont area and its a good time to make a move for him and his children. So heres good wishes for calm winds in the Piedmont to the west, and thanks for a job well done in a difficult time.