LAURINBURG — A few weeks after Superintendent Rick Stout’s announcement that he will be leaving to head Onslow County Schools, the Scotland County Board of Education on Tuesday named the man who will temporarily take the reins.
Randy Bridges will step into the office as interim superintendent in March, following Stout’s last day on Feb. 28. Most recently, Bridges served as interim superintendent in Franklin County. He has held the superintendent’s position in Stafford County, Va., the Alamance-Burlington School System in Rock Hill, S.C., and Orange County Schools.
Bridges began his career in education in 1977 as a teacher at Scotland High School, where he remained until 1988. He served as assistant principal at I. Ellis Johnson Middle School from 1988-1990.
On Monday, board attorney Nick Sojka began advertising in earnest for a permanent superintendent. Board Chairman Charles Brown described the ideal candidate as “someone who’s been experienced in all areas of the school system: school policy, curriculum, and the latest developments as far as Common Core basically across the board from primary, middle, high school, and even the early college.”
Brown added that, though the position requires a superintendent’s certificate, applicants need not have served in a superintendent’s position. The N.C. School Boards Association will assist the board in their search.
The board hopes to announce a new superintendent in mid-March, with an expected start date of July 1.
Brown said that the board elected to bring in an interim superintendent from outside the system, rather than placing one of the three associates superintendents in the position temporarily, in order to maintain a level playing field should any or all of them apply for the system’s top job.
“I think they will; I think they’re all interested,” Brown said. “We decided that it would not be fair to choose any one of them at this time but to have somebody interim where each one of them can apply for the position of the permanent superintendent and give them equal chances at becoming superintendent.”
Bridges’ professional achievements include N.C. Association of Educators Superintendent of the Year in 2010, N.C. School Boards Association Superintendent of the Year in 2002, and N.C. Association of Education Office Personnel District 8 Administrator of the Year in 1998.
Bridges holds a bachelor’s degree in Health and Physical Education and a master’s degree in Education Administration from the University of North Carolina at Pembroke, and a doctorate of education from Fayetteville State University.