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Dr. Moore retiring as superintendent

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By Hannah Strong

Dr. Gene Moore, superintendent of the Lancaster County School District for the past 11 years, announced his retirement Tuesday, effective July 31.

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Moore, 63, said he is ready for a break and more "grandparent time" after 23 years as superintendent in three different counties.

“I’ve been doing it for a long time, and I appreciate what I’ve had here in Lancaster County,” Moore said. “The world of education is all about relationships. I will really miss the people.”

Moore announced his plans in a letter to school board Chairman Bobby Parker and notified all district employees in an e-mail Tuesday afternoon.

“I’ve been very impressed by the smart, dedicated people who work here," Moore said in the e-mail. "You care so much about your students, you work so hard to do great things for children and you believe in supporting each other, in work and as friends.

"I’ve also been very impressed by the people and leaders of our county, the energy they put into supporting schools and creating opportunities inside and outside school….

"You know I grew up in Lancaster County, and I was afraid the old saying ‘you can’t go home again’ might come true, but my time here has been so good for me personally and professionally and for my family.”

Parker has served as chair for six years under Moore’s superintendence.

“He’s been in the business 40 years,” Parker said. “I’m thinking he’s ready to do some other things.

“The superintendents we’ve had haven’t left here for other jobs. They’ve left to retire. That says a lot,” Parker said.

County Council member Charlene McGriff served on the school board when Moore was hired in 2006, and then she became chair shortly after.

“I hate the fact that we will lose the best superintendent that we’ve ever had, but I do understand there comes a time where folks are ready to move on,” McGriff said. “Dr. Moore is a visionary, and he’s so approachable by staff and students and the community.”

McGriff said the next superintendent will have “big shoes to fill.”

“He’s the best superintendent in the world,” McGriff said. “Lancaster will definitely miss him.”

David Knight, the district’s public information director, said he’ll always remember one phone call he received from Moore. It was the first day of classes in the superintendent's first school year.

“I pick up my phone, and it’s Dr. Moore. He’s calling to tell me he’s riding a bus with students,” Knight said. “I’d never heard of any superintendent doing that.

"That’s one of the big secrets to why he’s such a successful superintendent. He’s constantly in schools, at games, on buses. He leads by being there, by knowing what’s going on in schools and sharing his vision for what he expects from good teachers and administrators.”

Knight said the district will miss Moore’s leadership, energy and passion.

Moore, an Indian Land native, was previously superintendent of the Cleveland and Stanly county school districts in North Carolina. He led both counties, which had multiple school districts, through consolidations to become one district.

“Both of those (superintendent) jobs have helped me to prepare for change, like growth and economic” change, Moore said.

Moore said his time in Lancaster County has been the highlight of his career.

“To be able to return to Lancaster County where I grew up, it’s been a great experience, very rewarding,” Moore said.

During his time at LCSD, he’s computerized board meeting materials, assisted in building and opening Harrisburg Elementary School and launching the new Indian Land High School, implemented a safe-driving program and passed the largest bond referendum in the district’s history.

Moore said school board members have been “so good to work with over the years.”

“The ability of the board, the experience of the board – it’s just invaluable,” he said. “Whoever inherits this job will be very fortunate because of the board and district.”

Moore said the two things at the top of his agenda between now and retirement are the AdvancedEd accreditation in April and continuing work on the construction, security and technology projects funded by last year's bond referendum. The largest of those is the new Indian Land High.

Moore graduated from ILHS in 1971. He attended Wingate College, where he played basketball for two years before transferring to the University of North Carolina Greensboro.

Moore received his bachelor’s in math, master’s in educational administration and doctorate in educational leadership from UNC Greensboro.

In 1977, Moore began his career in the Winston-Salem area, as a math teacher at East Forsyth High School in the Forsyth County School District.

He continued to work for Forsyth County schools as assistant principal of R.J. Reynolds High School, computer-assisted-instruction specialist for the district, principal at Hanes Middle School, principal at East Forsyth High and special assistant for strategic planning.

Moore began his superintendent career in 1994 as superintendent of Stanly County Schools in Albemarle, N.C. He became superintendent of Cleveland County Schools in 1999.

Moore is married to Susan Moore and has two sons, Morgan and Michael.

Moore said after July he plans to stay in the area, spend more time with his two grandchildren and play some golf.

“Right now I’m focused on finishing out the school year,” he said.

 

Follow reporter Hannah Strong on Twitter @HannahLStrong or contact her at (803) 416-8416.