First day of meet and greet politics or coincidence?

Anthony Tata

January 4, 2011 4:18:02 AM PST
One of the first groups that will meet the new Wake County schools superintendent is the conservative Wake County Taxpayers Association.The association's president says it was just good timing that Tony Tata's first day of meet and greet's as Wake County's new superintendent is the same day as their meeting. He says it's not politics at play.

"We're not trying to put any undue influence on him at all," Russell Capps said.

Tata's first day of meetings on Thursday are still being finalized and a group that has yet to receive an invitation is Great Schools in Wake Coalition.

The organization has been seen as one of the loudest critics of the Republican led school board.

Chairwoman Yevonne Brannon disagrees with the way the board conducted the search and hired Tata -- all behind closed doors.

"You are elected officials, you're an elected body," Brannon said. "This is public information. We'd like to have input on who is applying for the job and how you make the decisions."

But this is not the first time a superintendent has been hired in Wake County in secret. ABC11 Eyewitness News went back through the school board meeting minutes when Tata's predecessor, Del Burns, was hired -- the internal candidate was interviewed and promoted in a matter of weeks all behind closed doors.

The Taxpayers Association says it isn't so concerned about the so-called secrecy or the lack of extensive education experience in Tata's resume. They say they see his military leadership and business background as the keys to his success.

"We do like the idea that he has a lot of business management, because we do think that the largest business in Wake County, the school system, does need a good business manager," Capps said.

Tata was a career paratrooper, rising to the ranks of Brigadier General with the 82nd Airborne Division. He recently served as the chief operating officer in the nation's capital before accepting the Wake County superintendent's role.

Despite its disagreements with the board's decisions, Great Schools in Wake Coalition says it's ready to welcome Tata and work with him.

"We need to wish him good luck and hope that he is successful, because really we need to remember the prize that we have here and that is for our children to be successful as adults in this society," Brannon said.

Meanwhile, Thursday's Taxpayers Association meeting is open to the public. It will be held at 6:30 p.m. at the Barbecue Lodge in Raleigh. Tata is expected to address the media on Friday.

Tata has said he plans to keep interim superintendent Donna Hargens as the chief academic officer.

His first true day on the job is Jan. 31.

One of the major issues Tata will have to tackle is the ongoing reassignment battle.

Several parents will also be keeping a close eye on changes the board makes to next year's reassignment plan.

Some families in the Carpenter Village Community want to be assigned to a middle school closer to home. There's also concern that if the board decides to move thousands of southeast Raleigh and Garner students closer to their homes, it could lead to re-segregation.

There will be five public hearings on re-assignment starting next week.

Anyone can sign up online at to speak out.

Classifieds | Report A Typo |  Send Tip |  Get Alerts | See Click Fix
Follow @abc11 on Twitter  |  Become a fan on Facebook

Load Comments