Letter to the editor

To the editor,

Dr. Randy Bledsoe will retire on June 30, after serving as Superintendent of Elkin City Schools for seven years. I want to introduce the public to the Randy Bledsoe with whom I have worked during this time. As CTE Director, I am part of the Elkin City Schools “core team” which meets weekly to discuss the status of the school system and to plan for the future. I was not part of this team until Dr. Bledsoe became our superintendent. Other professionals who he included on the team were the maintenance director, food services director, finance officer, testing coordinator… As part of this team, I have been able to see how much Dr. Bledsoe cares for Elkin City Schools — the staff, the community members and most importantly the students.

When he first came on board he immediately began to connect to all members of the system. He met with student groups, a parent advisory team, a business advisory council, and the different school staffs. He put pictures of the school board and central office staff on the walls of the administration meeting room so that the public could more easily identify with them. He made sure that students and staff alike were recognized for exemplary work. He faithfully attended functions at all three schools, sent birthday greetings to both staff and students, and was often seen in the halls and classrooms of the schools. This continued throughout his tenure.

He has been very professional in his dealings whenever I have been in his presence, whether it was just the two of us or at a large meeting. I asked him once why he had a principal representative at the core team meetings. His response was “I want them to be aware of what we are discussing, so there can be no misunderstandings.” Many times I have heard him say “That is the principal’s decision. I do not interfere with the running of the schools.” At the core team meetings, he always gave each of us an opportunity to express our opinions and to have input into the conversation.

It has been said by some that he is politician. I agree with this and am glad that he is getting out and, as his wife says, “making the rounds.” He is always putting what is good for Elkin City Schools and public education first, whether it be by contacting legislators, serving in leadership positions at the state level or just talking to community members about the good things that are happening in Elkin City Schools.

Do I agree with everything that Randy Bledsoe does? No, I do not. Have I told him so? Yes, we have had discussions about some of his ideas and have approached them from different angles. Has he listened to me? Sometimes yes; but sometimes he continues on the path he thinks is right for our school system. Again, he has always done what he thinks is best for the students and staff at Elkin City Schools.

I have been in the education field for almost fifty years and I have never worked with a leader who I thought was more caring and competent than Dr. Randy Bledsoe. I wish him happiness in his retirement.

Barbara Long

CTE Director, Elkin City Schools

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