Wake superintendent arrives in Raleigh

January 5, 2011 9:08:47 PM PST
The man poised to take over Wake County Schools arrived at RDU International Airport Wednesday night and spoke with ABC11 Eyewitness News about what he faces over the next 24 hours. "I'm looking forward to meeting the great people of Wake County," Wake County Schools Superintendent Tony Tata said.

Thursday Tata will hit the ground running --touring schools and meeting with the Wake County Taxpayers Association and a divided school board still split over policy and the decision to select him as the county's eighth superintendent.

"There are many challenges out there, but the thing I look forward to is improving student achievement and bringing the board together, bringing the county together and keeping the students first," Tata said.

Keeping students first is Tata's top priority. He says amid millions of dollars in budget cuts and possible layoffs, improvement among teachers and principals is important.

"We're going to hold them accountable; we're going to give them the professional development they need," Tata said. "We are focused on all students across the county. I am the agent to increase student achievement here in Wake County."

The retired Army Brigadier General could face an uphill battle, though as some in the community and even some of his board members will doubt his intent if an economic diversity policy is dismantled under his leadership.

"We're going to increase student's ability to achieve whether they're at the high-end of scale right now or the low end of the scale," Tata said. "We are focused on all students across the county."

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.

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