New Wake Co. superintendent plans to keep out of board politics - WNCT

New Wake Co. superintendent plans to keep out of board politics

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Wake County School Superintendent Jim Merrill Wake County School Superintendent Jim Merrill
RALEIGH, N.C. -

Sarah Roe is getting a head start on back to school shopping for her rising Conn Elementary second grader.  She loves the faculty there.

"I think there's very qualified staff," Roe said, "but I don't think they all get the support they need."

She has not always been as happy with the school board making decisions.

"I think it's a shame there's been so much politicizing going on in the arguing on the school board and that kind of thing," Roe said.

Thursday, Wake County Schools turned a page as Jim Merrill officially took over as superintendent.

"I'm either naive, completely insensitive, or I don't just plain feel the political atmosphere," Merrill said.

Merrill downplayed the politics that have often defined this board. The former Virginia Beach school superintendent got the job with the backing of Democrats and he replaces Tony Tata, a Republican choice, who was fired last year by the democratic majority after a bussing debacle tainted the start of the school year.

Merrill says he will deal with those political battles very simply by staying out of them.

"Let our elected officials handle the politics here," Merrill said.

During a press conference on Thursday, WNCN asked him if he had any concern there might one day be a power shift, possibly resulting in his firing.

"Anything's possible," he replied, "but in my career, if I tend to my work, then that takes care of itself. That's how I approach it."

It's an approach Roe hopes will help keep the politics in the past.

"I think it's brought the school system down a bit," she said.  "Overall, I think we have good schools in Wake County."

Derick Waller

Derick is a reporter for WNCN covering crime, education, politics and just about everything in between. He has a knack for adapting to any story and consistently delivers information quickly across multiple platforms. More>>

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