ROWLAND — The new superintendent of the Innovative School District has not met the students of Southside-Ashpole Elementary School yet, but LeTeesa Allen met the Rowland Board of Commissioners on Tuesday night.
Allen replaces Eric Hall, who engineered the state takeover of the low-performing school for the next five years. Hall will supervise Allen in his new role as deputy state superintendent of the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction.
Allen announced that the school will reopen Wednesday after closing for Hurricane Florence on Sept. 12. She believes the school’s innovative programs and inspired teachers will meet the aggressive goals the state has set for student achievement.
“We have lost days, and we’re working to find innovative ways to make up for lost time,” Allen said. “What we want is to see our students grow, achieve and reach their full potential.”
The new superintendent has made the trip to Rowland several times already, and said she hopes to be at the school weekly.
“I have been greeted with smiles, and a community ready to support its school,” Allen said.
The commissioners gave Southside-Ashpole and the ISD a vote of support Tuesday by agreeing to accept a full-time school resource officer for the school. The town will pay one-third of a $50,000 state grant for the position.
Commissioner Paul Hunt cast the lone no vote, saying the town has a full staff of police and cannot afford to match the grant. Commissioner Marvin Shooter said the officer will work for the town when school is not in session.
Allen started her career in education as a classroom teacher. Most recently, she worked as the chief program officer at Communities in Schools of North Carolina, a statewide nonprofit that manages 300 schools in the state.
Before her role at Communities in Schools, Allen was regional director of educational services at AMIkids, Inc. where she led efforts to improve student performance at AMIkids schools across eight states.
Allen received a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and a master’s of education in educational leadership from Florida State University. She currently is completing her doctorate in educational leadership and policy studies, with a focus on successful school turnaround practices, at the University of South Florida.
In other business, Town Clerk David Townsend told the commissioners that he will investigate the town joining the federal flood insurance program that allows homeowners to purchase flood insurance.
The town escaped the worst of flooding from Hurricane Florence. Debris has been picked up and a mosquito truck came by town hall as Townsend spoke.
“We had a lot of standing water and mosquitoes, but no homes were flooded,” Townsend said. “Because the rain fell over such a long period, we fared better than during Hurricane Matthew when so much rain fell so fast.”
The town will work to keep its ditches clear, Townsend said.
The commissioners also got clarification on what constitutes a quorum on a board with four members and a mayor. Town Attorney Rob Price said the state mandates that two commissioners and a mayor constitute a quorum.
Scott Bigelow can be reached by email at [email protected]