Public Schools of Robeson County Central office gets 34 years of experience

LUMBERTON — The Public Schools of Robeson County’s two newest assistant superintendents will bring more than three decades of educational experience to the central office.

Robert D. Locklear and Thomas Benson III will fill positions left vacant by the retirement of Linda Emanuel, assistant superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction, and Stephen Gaskins, assistant superintendent of Human Resources. Benson will replace Gaskins in Human Resources, and Locklear will be the system’s new assistant superintendent of Instruction and Support.

Elizabeth Younce, an assistant superintendent who was previously assigned to Instruction and Support, will replace Emanuel as the Curriculum and Instruction superintendent.

Locklear, who had 19 years of educational leadership in the local system, has served as the principal of Magnolia, Southside-Ashpole and St. Pauls elementary schools; as an assistant principal at Pembroke Elementary School; and as a teacher at Green Grove Elementary School.

In addition, Locklear taught Inclusion and Elementary Foundational Reading courses part-time at The University of North Carolina at Pembroke and has experience in grant-writing.

“What I look forward to when it comes to working with the Public Schools of Robeson County is hoping to meet the daily educational challenges we face,” Locklear said. “As an assistant superintendent, I want to work collaboratively with all stakeholders to move Robeson County forward.”

Before working for the Public Schools of Robeson County, Locklear served as an administrative officer in the United States Navy for 10 years.

He received a bachelor of science in Elementary Education with a concentration in geography from UNCP, where he also received a master’s in Education. He received a master’s in School Administration from East Carolina University and doctorate in Educational Administration, both from South Carolina State University.

He is a member of the Robeson Association of Educators, the North Carolina Association of Educators and the North Carolina Association of Administrators. He was the 2009-2010 Public Schools of Robeson County Principal of the Year award and was named the 2014-2015 Public Schools of Robeson County Outstanding Administrator of the Gifted.

Benson has spent much of his 15-year career in the Cumberland County. He served as a teacher and athletic trainer at 71st High School and Westover Middle School, both in Fayetteville; as an assistant principal at Jack Britt and Pine Forest high schools, both in Fayetteville, and at Hoke County High School in Raeford; and served as a principal at Turlington Alternative School in Raeford, and Spring Lake Middle School in Spring Lake. He was most recently principal of Westover High School in Fayetteville.

“I’m looking forward to working with the students and teachers of Robeson County,” Benson said. “I look forward to using my experiences to help as best I can.”

He received a bachelor of science in Sports Medicine from Wingate College; a masters of School Administration at UNCP; and a doctorate in Education Leadership from Wingate University.

He is a member of the North Carolina Association of Educators; the North Carolina Association of School Administrators; the North Carolina Principals and Assistant Principals Association; both the National and North Carolina Athletic Trainers Associations; and 100 Black Men.

He has certifications in distinguished leadership, first aid and CPR and athletic training, and was a 2014-2015 nominee for Cumberland County Schools’ Principal of the Year.



By Gabrielle Isaac

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Gabrielle Isaac can be reached at 910-816-1989 or on Twitter @news_gabbie.