LEE COUNTY SCHOOLS: Bryan chosen as next superintendent

Apr. 09, 2013 @ 09:19 PM

Dr. Andy Bryan has been chosen as the next superintendent of Lee County Schools.

The Lee County Board of Education approved Bryan's hire 6-1 and will now enter into contract negotiations. The lone dissenter was John Bonardi, who had led the push for a national search — a strategy the school board abandoned Tuesday night at its monthly meeting.

Bryan, associate superintendent of curriculum and instruction, has been in Lee County seven years as the district's second-highest-ranking administrator. He was a finalist in the 2008 search that ultimately netted current superintendent Jeff Moss, who will resign June 30 in order to become superintendent in Beaufort County, S.C.

"This is my home," Bryan said after the audience who had stayed late at Tuesday's meeting had finished giving him hugs, handshakes and congratulations. "I'm humbled by the opportunity to be superintendent. I think we have great teachers, administrators, students, parents and community support. I look forward to working with everybody."

Bryan also thanked the school board for selecting him outright, after it had appeared he would have to go through a long vetting process if he got the job at all. Ever since Moss announced his intent to retire from the North Carolina school system earlier this year, the board has been talking about doing a national search as it had in the past. It was even supposed to choose which search firm to hire during Tuesday's meeting, but something apparently changed. After returning from closed session, board member Cameron Sharpe made a motion to conduct an internal search. It failed 4-3, but immediately afterward, his fellow board member Mark Akinosho motioned to go ahead and approve Bryan — who shifted abruptly, seemingly surprised at the motion.

After some confusion in which the votes were tallied 4-3, then 5-2, and finally an official count of 6-1, Bryan's contract-pending status as superintendent was approved. He said that even though it wasn't unanimous, he's not concerned.

"I'm confident that I can work with all of our board members, and I look forward to that," he said.

One of the reasons board members had touted internal candidates in the past was that they are more familiar with local schools than outsiders. Moss brought up the same point in Tuesday's meeting, urging the board to act quickly because the state might cut millions of dollars from local schools in next year's budget, and he doesn't think the budget will pass before he leaves.

Bryan said he looks forward to working with Moss and others in dealing with challenges and continuing to improve local schools.

"I think that Dr. Moss has shown great leadership here, and I just want to build on what he's established," Bryan said. "I just want to build and enhance what we already have."

Prior to coming to Lee County, Bryan was a high school principal in Lexington, Va. He has also worked as an assistant principal, teacher, coach and athletic director.