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Patrick begins search for new superintendent

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

By DEBBIE HALL - Bulletin Staff Writer

The Patrick County School Board on Monday voted to use the Virginia School Board Association (VSBA) to help search for a new superintendent, and the board named Bill Sroufe the interim superintendent.

Sroufe, 45, took the post effective Monday, leaving his job as coordinator of human resources.

Dean Gilbert, who was named acting superintendent when former superintendent Roger Morris went on medical leave last year, will return to his former post as assistant superintendent.

Gilbert was not interested in serving as interim, and the board elected to appoint Sroufe, partly because “he has worked really well” with Gilbert, according to J.D. Morse, board chairman. “They make a wonderful team.”

Morse said he contacted the school board association Tuesday. The next step is to hold a joint meeting between the school board and the association. “From what I understand, that meeting” will be open to the public, he said.

Public input throughout the process also is being sought, he added.

The VSBA also will compile a survey for members of the community, business leaders, basically “anyone who would like to input their wishes or criteria” on the qualities needed in the next superintendent, Morse said.

The VSBA will use that information to compile a list of candidates, and the school board then will decide which applicants to interview, he said.

Morris resigned effective Jan. 31, and beginning Feb. 1, the board had 180 days to fill the slot. If it is unable to do so, Morse said the state Department of Education will appoint a superintendent.

“We will have to work hard to make this happen” in the allotted time, Morse said.

Competition for superintendents also may be a factor, according to previous reports.

Patrick will be added to the list of localities also searching for a superintendent, according to Other localities include Lancaster, Bland, Highland and New Kent counties and Charles City County, it showed.

The board has not discussed giving preference to a local candidate, “but I will not rule out anyone local,” Morse said.

That is good news to Sroufe, who plans to apply for the post, providing he meets the criteria as laid out in the VSBA survey.

“I think I would certainly take it on full-time if given the opportunity,” he said. “We will see what” the VSBA search brings and go from there.

The interim position is “a chance to get my feet wet. I think it’s certainly an opportunity for me” and will offer a seamless transition between Sroufe and Gilbert, who Sroufe said “has been doing a fantastic job. I think Dean has done a great job of holding the system together and taking forward at the same time. Will it ever be the same? No, never, but I think we can make it better,” Sroufe said.

The first order of business is to get through the budget process, Sroufe said. “We have a liaison meeting tonight with the” Patrick County Board of Supervisors. “We’re not asking for the moon. We’re just asking for the necessities,” he added.

Sroufe has worked in the school division for eight years, serving as principal at both Meadows of Dan and Woolwine elementary schools before he was named coordinator of human resources at the start of the 2013-14 school year.

He grew up in Virginia Beach, served in the Air Force and was stationed overseas during the first Desert Storm conflict, he said. When his tour of duty was up, Sroufe went back to school, and he and his wife decided to move to southwest Virginia.

They have lived in Christiansburg for the past 15 years with their three children.


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