The head of a troubled school system here in Eastern Carolina has resigned for a new job out of state.
Geraldine Middleton is leaving as superintendent of the Halifax County school system on September 18th.
Earlier this year a superior court judge threatened to force a state takeover of the school system, which has been plagued with low student test scores. Instead the state and the school system entered into a partnership to help Halifax County make improvements in its schools.
Middleton, superintendent for the past two years, has accepted a position with the Chicago Public School System, the third largest in the country.
August 17, 2009
Middleton submits resignation
HALIFAX – Geraldine Middleton, superintendent of Halifax County Schools, submitted her resignation to the Board of Education at Monday night’s meeting.
Middleton became superintendent in July 2007. She was immediately faced with a financial crisis from the 2006-2007 and 2007-2008 school years. This year, she has faced a state takeover due to low standardized test scores for the past five years.
“It is both with resolve and anticipation that I submit my resignation effective September 18, 2009,” Middleton said. “I have accepted an opportunity to further my current career goals and achieve growth within a new adventure.”
Middleton said she has accepted a position as Chief Area Officer with the Chicago Public School System.
Chicago Public Schools is the third largest school district in the United States with 408,000 students in 666 schools. Middleton said Chief Area Officer is the equivalent of being superintendent to 30 to 40 schools within that huge district.
In a prepared statement, Middleton told the board and audience, “Two years ago, with a vision, a dream, and mountains of faith, I accepted the job as superintendent of Halifax County Schools. In this capacity, I served the children and the community tirelessly. I was vigilant in my attempts to raise test scores, create positive learning environments, implement new programs and create the financial stability of the district.
“Many times I was faced with difficult decisions and had to perform what seemed, the impossible,” she continued. “Difficult decisions are not always popular; however, if they are made in the best interest of children, they become challenges you cannot, should not and must not ignore.
“I will remain committed to cost effectiveness, innovative programs geared to 21st century learning, research-based professional growth and development – all the while dedicated to helping children overcome obstacles and reaching higher levels of achievement. In order to grow, we will always have to ‘navigate the winds of change.’
“To the children who attend Halifax County Schools,” said Middleton, “I continue to wish that you will grow educationally and always strive to be excellent in all your endeavors. You are the future leaders. As you ‘navigate the winds of change,’ keep in mind that if you are prepared intellectually, there is no limit on what you can be.
“To the parents of the children who attend Halifax County Schools,” she continued, “I challenge you to ensure that your children receive a quality education daily. By attending parent teacher conferences, PTA meetings, volunteering and by being an active participant in the educational process, you can help to facilitate a new vision and a bright future for your child.
“Underscored in this challenge is that you not just become active in times of crisis incited by politicians,” Middleton continued, “but instead demonstrate responsible actions throughout your child’s school years.
“To the teachers,” Middleton said, “I implore you to take advantage of the challenge to educate all children and to fully embrace change because it is incapable of being avoided. Always bring new vitality to the classroom and fresh approaches to teaching. Our children must never be the losers in an educational decision, especially if those decisions benefit someone’s political career and personal ambition.
“To the community,” she continued, “I encourage you to embrace the necessary changes related to declining enrollment, budget cuts, and low student achievement as an opportunity to use wisdom versus status quo, excellence versus mediocrity, strength and fortification versus what is politically expedient for someone else and reason versus inappropriate tactics.
‘It has been my genuine pleasure to work for Halifax County Schools,” Middleton concluded. “I have enjoyed working with the fine staff of professional colleagues and will miss my association with them. I will keep Halifax County Schools in my prayers.”