Kim Elliott named Jackson County school superintendent
By Dave Russell / WNC News Share
SYLVA -- Kim Elliott reached out and turned the desktop name plate that read, “Dr. Kim Elliott, Interim Superintendent” face down on the Jackson County School Board meeting table on Feb. 2.
The board voted 4-1 to name Elliott the new school superintendent at the specially called meeting. Flanked by family members, Elliott took an oath of office, a new requirement by the state. She signed a four-year contract and was instructed by board chairman Ken Henke to begin work immediately.
Board members announced Feb. 2 their decision had been made, following interviews with four candidates who had been selected from a field of 18 applicants.
Board member Wes Jamison, who represents District 3 (Webster, Savannah and Greens Creek), cast the dissenting vote.
“We interviewed four candidates, and there was one other candidate I liked better,” Jamison said. “I thought they’d be a better fit.”
Jamison said he would have no problem working with Elliott in the future.
“I have nothing against her,” he said.
Elliott said she was honored, humbled and excited to take the post and continue work already in progress.
“We have implemented initiatives over the past five years that I strongly believe in,” she said. “These initiatives are moving the district forward, along with the redesign of our five-year District Strategic Plan.”
She plans to hire an associate superintendent by June 15. The post has been vacant since she moved from that position to interim superintendent.
She will also revive the Superintendent’s Council to include PTO presidents and other community members, she said.
The council will advise and give advice on district needs and celebrations.
“My funding priorities will include teaching positions, teacher supplement increases, along with
capital projects to improve our facilities,” Elliott said.
Elliott joined Jackson County Schools as assistant superintendent in July 2013. She was later promoted to associate superintendent, and was named interim superintendent when Mike Murray left the post for Cherokee Central Schools in May.
She has three degrees, including a doctorate from Appalachian State University. She began her career as a teacher and administrator in Ashe County.
From there, she went to the N.C. Department of Public Instruction where she was in charge of recruitment, retention and staff development.
Elliott worked at Western Carolina University as director of the office of rural education and as interim assistant superintendent and director of curriculum for Alleghany County Schools.
She served as the director of elementary and middle grade education in Transylvania County.
Elliott’s four-year deal calls for a salary of $120,132 annually, with a benefits package worth an additional $25,000, said Jackson County Schools Finance Officer Gwen Edwards.
Elliott’s entire salary comes from state funds with no local money added, she said.
“She gets the same raises as anyone,” Edwards said.
The school board said in a release, “Dr. Elliott has a long history of partnership development, strategic planning, grant management, fiscal management, program evaluation, and most importantly teaching and learning.
“She is focused on student success and educational interventions partnered with professional learning communities. She is relationship-driven and believes strongly in the use of collaboration with families and communities to create school systems of excellence.”