Dr. Robert Taylor is slated to be the next Wake County Schools superintendent and friends said he has strong ties to North Carolina that start at Fayetteville State University. That's where Dr. Taylor received his Master's and Doctorate degrees.
"I'm going to say to Wake County, if you don't like Robert Taylor, there's something wrong with you. He has a sense of commitment to duty and responsibility. He will get the job done," said longtime friend Dr. Joseph Johnson.
The relationship between Johnson and Taylor goes back 20 years. Johnson is the former dean of the College of Education at Fayetteville State University. He led Taylor through researching his dissertation as a doctoral student and they've remained in contact ever since.
"I mean look, he's been at state institutions. He's been in public schools. He's been a superintendent in North Carolina," said Johnson. "His primary focus is on student learning and student success. He understands treating them equally is not really fair. You have to be equitable because they come from different paths."
Under Taylor's new contract, he will receive an annual salary of $326,993. It's a four-year term that requires him to live in Wake County. The agreement includes a $ 1,100-a-month transportation allowance for in-county travel. It also includes membership fees for professional development or civic organizations up to $2,000 as long as they help advance the mission of the board.
"We hope he will use his experience as a practitioner to guide his decision-making," said Wake County North Carolina Association of Educators president Christina Spears. "We need a superintendent who is bold and brave. I'll use those words around equity and around closing achievement gaps"
Spears told ABC11 strong leadership, livable wages and collaboration with educators are good places for Dr. Taylor to start.
Earlier this year Mississippi's Republican-led Senate voted against confirming Taylor as Mississippi State superintendent of education, which angered some Black democrats. They said the rejection was partly because he is Black and wrote years ago about the state's racist history.
"The political conditions in Mississippi are the reason why that happened but I think he's landed in the right spot here in North Carolina," said Spears. "He is absolutely welcome."