The principal at Hilburn Academy in North Raleigh is resigning to pursue public office.
Greg Ford, 42, has served as Hilburn Academy’s principal since 2008 and has led the school through major changes. In 2012, Hilburn became the only school in the Wake County system to serve students in kindergarten through eighth grade.
Ford would not say which public office he wants to pursue, but he said his focus will remain on education.
“I’ve always been passionate about public service and public education and thought (my passion) could be used to serve the community in a new position,” he said.
Ford’s last day at Hilburn will be Sept. 10. He said he will dedicate most of his time to his campaign and doesn’t have immediate plans for a new job.
Ford, a registered Democrat, has worked in Wake County schools for 17 years. He started as a teacher and was the assistant principal at Durant Road Elementary School from 2003-2008.
Ford led Hilburn as its student population dwindled. When the school transitioned to serve students in K-8, the county did not establish a base zone for the middle school grades.
Last year, Hilburn was 97 percent full, and the school could gain more students. A proposed plan for 2016 calls for reassigning parts of Leesville Road Middle School’s base to Hilburn.
Ford has seen the school system deal with shrinking budgets, and he said he’s been impressed with teachers and staff who continue to do more with students despite fewer resources.
Hilburn Academy is a tight-knit community, Ford said.
“It’s really a unique opportunity for our large community to come together and create a vision for an under-enrolled school,” he said.
In 2013, Ford’s mother, Wendy Ford, was one of eight people who applied for the vacant District 1 school board seat when former member Chris Malone resigned. Tom Benton was appointed to the seat.
Ford knows Benton personally. Benton was the principal at Durant Road Middle School when Ford taught there.
“It certainly was interesting because I love them both,” Ford said of his mother and his former boss.
All nine seats on the Wake County school board and five county commissioners seats are up for grabs next year. Elected judicial positions will also be on the ballot.
Ford said his focus will always be on schools. He has three children who will be in the Wake County school system next year.
“I’m completely vested and tied to schools and the school system for years to come regardless of what next steps I’m taking,” he said.