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Lynn Moody: I’m OK to stay as Rock Hill schools chief

A day after a divided Greenville County school board passed her over for that district’s top job, Rock Hill schools Superintendent Lynn Moody said she’s focused on moving her schools forward.

“I am completely at peace with this decision,” Moody said. “I had very mixed feelings. It would have been a great opportunity, but it would also be hard to leave.

“Now we just keep working. I don’t want to skip a beat.”

The 12-member Greenville school board voted 7-5 to offer the job to Burke Royster, the district’s deputy superintendent of operations. He was one of three finalists, including Moody and Eugene White, superintendent of Indianapolis Public Schools.

They were chosen from among 72 applicants vying to replace Phinnize Fisher, Greenville’s superintendent for more than seven years.

Royster was an assistant principal at Northwestern High School in Rock Hill for five years.

“Everything that I have heard during or before this process about Burke Royster is that he’s an outstanding educator,” Moody said. “I’m sure he will do an exemplary job. I look forward to working with him as a colleague. And will support him anyway that I can.

“I remember when the Rock Hill school board made that same decision for me.”

Moody, 52, came to Rock Hill in 2003 from Wake County schools in Raleigh, N.C. She started in Rock Hill as associate superintendent for planning, making $90,000 a year. In 2006 she succeeded Superintendent Randy Bridges and received a salary of $140,000 a year.

She now makes $164,500 a year plus an annual annuity payment of $19,740. The district also provides her with a vehicle and cell phone.

Search process

Moody said she had not considered the Greenville job until a search firm called and urged her to apply.

After careful thought, Moody said, she decided to pursue the opportunity for professional growth and a new challenge in a bigger district, even though she’s happy in Rock Hill.

Asked whether she was concerned that employees have the impression she’s job hunting, Moody said she knew that was a risk of applying. She often encourages staff to seize opportunities, she said.

“I try to tell all employees ... everybody needs to grow professionally,” Moody said. “At every point in your professional life, you need to push that bar. Sometimes opportunities come from outside of the district.”

Moody said she’s eager to move on and tackle a slate of initiatives.

“It’s been an extremely public process,” she said. “You feel like you’re under a microscope. It’s been a long couple of weeks.

“I just want to focus on the work we’re doing in Rock Hill.”

Coming up in Rock Hill

In the coming months, the district will find a new principal for Finley Road Elementary School, where Al Bogan is retiring.

More than 40 Rock Hill educators will spend part of the summer in China teaching and participating in a cultural exchange program.

Oakdale Elementary and Saluda Trail Middle will transform into magnet schools for science, technology, engineering and math.

Campuses will continue a push to integrate mobile devices into the school day by expanding pilot programs and allowing students to bring their own mobile devices.

New federal teaching requirements will take effect.

Public process

Rock Hill school board chairman Bob Norwood said he’s confident in Moody’s leadership.

“I don’t think it’s a pleasant experience for anyone to publicly apply for a job when they’ve got another one,” he said. “It leads to a little unrest in the district.

“(But) I don’t think it’s unusual for a leader of a school district or any other form of government to look at opportunities to grow. It’s unrealistic for any one of us to think this is Lynn’s last superintendent-ship.”

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