Durham superintendent resigns

November 6, 2009 11:51:16 AM PST
Durham School Superintendent Dr. Carl E. Harris has resigned.An internal memo was circulated amongst high school principals Monday morning confirming the news. District officials said he's accepted a position as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Education for Policy and Strategic Initiatives with the U.S. Department of Education within the Obama administration.

Harris has served as Superintendent of Durham Public Schools since July 1, 2006. He previously served as Deputy Superintendent.

In a news release, he said he's worked hard to focus on advancing academic achievement and fostering relationships with parents, businesses and the community. Among his accomplishments has been lowering the dropout rate.

“Durham is a community that truly cares about its children. I am proud that we have earned the respect and support of our community,” said Harris.

Parents say it's his personal touch.

"He is very popular, he was very into when my son was going to another school," parent Myra Sneed said "He was always there I don't know what the other one is going to do."

Some parents say Harris' legacy also leaves behind a few schools struggling to make the grade under his leadership.

"Some schools he has there's still a lot more work to do," parent Sean Cooley said.

Six new schools opened in Durham under Harris’s administration, with a seventh in the works.

“It is with heavy but deeply grateful hearts that the members of the Durham Public Schools Board of Education accept the resignation of Dr. Carl Harris. Dr. Harris has provided a quiet strength in his leadership of our district over the past three-and-a-half years,” said Minnie Forte-Brown, Chair of the Durham Public Schools Board of Education.

“Dr. Harris leaves a school system that has improved academic achievement, a significantly lower dropout rate and a slate of new schools that offer support targeted to specific student needs. Durham’s loss is definitely our nation’s gain. We wish him well as he takes his wisdom and his experience to Washington to improve schools across our country,” she continued.

Harris will remain on the job until the end of the year. His temporary replacement has not been named yet.

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