Purser Gets Extension On Contract
"Certainly I'm very honored to have my contract extended," Purser said. "I have very much enjoyed working with Moore County schools. I think we've got some exciting things going on, and I'm delighted to continue the initiatives we've started."
The board approved the extension after a closed session July 5. Jennifer Garner made the motion to approve the personnel report, which included the amendment to add a year to Purser's contract. Bruce Cunningham Jr. made the second. Purser's contract was originally slated to run until 2008.
Purser became superintendent in June 2004, replacing Dr. Pat Russo, who resigned to take a job with a school system in Virginia. She came to Moore County from Pontotoc, Miss., a school district with 2,250 students.
Prior to that, she was an assistant superintendent in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School system. She began her career in education as a mathematics teacher.
Improved community relations have been the hallmark of her years in Moore County, according to school board members.
Board Chairman Charles Lambert said the board is pleased with how Purser has improved community relations.
"She's great in PR," Lambert said. "She's done a lot to let the communities and businesses know and what we're trying to do. She works with the Chamber, and she meets with a lot of parents and a lot of students."
Lambert also praised her efforts in promoting the school system's $143-million, 12-year Facilities Master Plan.
"She's been a valuable asset in dealing with the community and the (county) commissioners," he said. "I think the honesty she and our board have been trying to exhibit -- I think that's helped us out a lot."
Lambert added that her salary is also under negotiation, but no final dollar figure has been reached.
Kathy Farren, vice chairwoman of the board, said the contract extension was a vote of confidence for Purser.
Most superintendents like to have a three-year contract, and after the first year expired, the board added another.
"We talked about it and discussed it," Farren said of the extension. "Right now, we agreed with what she had been doing and implementing with the (school) system. We felt things were moving in a positive way and we wanted to continue that."
Farren was also pleased with Purser's "community-oriented" leadership.
"I think she is one who can connect well with people from different ways of life," she said.
Farren said she also appreciated Purser's hands-on approach, which she saw as a change from former superintendents.
After a stormy end to Russo's administration, many saw Purser as a calming and steadying influence in the county.
"I think that, given some of the unrest in the school system at the time of her hiring, she has done a good job of reviewing the systems in place and making some changes," Garner said.
Garner said during Purser's time in Moore County she has done a good job of recruiting and filling key principal positions.
"I felt we needed to give her a comfort level of thinking that she was doing a good job," Garner said, referring to the one-year extension. "I think she's a quiet leader."
Caroline Kornegay can be reached at 693-2484 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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