Interim Beaufort County school superintendent Jackie Rosswurm and senior staff have congratulated Jeffrey Moss after he was selected to lead their district -- even though they preferred someone else for the job.
The Board of Education last week chose Moss, currently the superintendent of Lee County, N.C., schools, over Gloria J. Davis of Decatur, Ill., to be the district's next superintendent. By doing so, the board did not follow a recommendation by Rosswurm and other top-level district officials who said they favored Davis.
The board voted 9-2 Thursday -- with Laura Bush and Michael Rivers dissenting -- to select Moss, who said Monday he is inclined to accept the job offer if his lawyer can negotiate an acceptable contract. Board Chairman Bill Evans said he hopes to have Moss under contract by the end of the week, and the new superintendent would start July 1.
Rosswurm called Moss on Friday to congratulate him.
Moss said the phone conversation was brief, and the Feb. 19 letter from Rosswurm and the district's chief operations, instruction and student-services officers did not come up. The letter was written to Bush, who led the school board's search committee.
"I really don't have a comment on their letter, or what their intention might have been," Moss said. "They called to congratulate me and looked forward to me arriving in the county. That was the extent of the conversation."
Rosswurm said the group felt the call "was the professionally appropriate thing" to do. She added that the group believes Moss will be a capable superintendent, but the staff was impressed by Davis' collaborative leadership style and her ability to rally support for her district's plans.
Rosswurm said Bush, the board's secretary, asked for the recommendation. Rosswurm added that she did not think the request was unusual or inappropriate.
District chief instructional services officer Dereck Rhoads -- who signed the letter along with Rosswurm, Phyllis White and Gregory McCord -- does not believe the recommendation will be an issue and thinks the staff and Moss will work well together.
Moss lauded Beaufort County teachers and administrators for their "genuine interest" and dedication.
"I got a good feeling of their dedication to students and the district," he said of his tour last month.
Moss receives a $196,000 salary from Lee County, an $8,000 annual bonus, $800 "longevity" payment and $18,000 in deferred compensation.
The Beaufort County school board advertised the superintendent's salary "in the range of $215,000."