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The Catawba County Board of Commissioners took time during its meeting Sept. 20 to thank and honor Glenn Barger, who is ending his service on the board early to begin serving as interim superintendent of the Catawba County Schools.
Barger was referred to as “a leader with insight and determination” and a person of “trust, integrity, responsibility and concern for fellow citizens” in a Distinguished Public Service Award presented to Barger during the meeting.
“Catawba County, throughout its history, has had many individuals who have volunteered for public service and have made us justifiably proud,” said Board Chairwoman Kitty Barnes, as she read from the Distinguished Public Service Award. “Trust, integrity, responsibility and concern for fellow citizens and the community guided the decisions and actions of these leaders. Glenn E. Barger, retiring member of the Catawba County Board of Commissioners, is one of those unique individuals.”
Barger took office as a member of the Board of Commissioners on Dec. 2, 2002.
During his tenure, he was also a member of the Public Health Board, Social Services Board, Community Service Block Grant Advisory Board, Workforce Development Board, CBA Youth Services Advisory Council, Subdivision Review Board, Catawba Valley Community College Board of Trustees and the Greater Hickory Classic Foundation Board.
A Catawba County native, Barger spent his career ensuring the quality of education of Catawba County’s children. He started his career with the Catawba County Schools as a teacher at Fred T. Foard High School. He was later named assistant principal at St. Stephens High School and served as principal at Bunker Hill and St. Stephens high schools before being named associate superintendent in 1985. He retired as superintendent of the Catawba County Schools in 2000, after 10 years of service in that position.
The Catawba County Board of Education recently appointed Barger to serve as interim superintendent, effective Oct. 1, to lead the system during a time of transition while the Board of Education searches for a successor to Dr. Tim Markley. Markley is leaving Catawba County to become superintendent of the New Hanover County Schools on Oct. 1.
The Board of Commissioners continued a tradition of presenting gifts to retiring board members. Barger was presented with an engraved brass paper weight which bears the county seal and learned that an Okame Cherry tree will be planted on the grounds of the Catawba County Government Center in Newton in his honor.
“It’s very appropriate that the tree you planted is a flowering tree because, as a high school principal, in my spring speech to my teachers, I would tell them spring is coming, the sap is rising, all of the flowers and trees will bloom and so will the students, so make sure you keep them busy.” Barger said to the board members and audience. “The last eight years have been truly one of a learning experience for me. It’s one that I have truly enjoyed by serving the people of Catawba County.
“Catawba County is a great place to live, to raise your children and enjoy the many benefits associated with this county,” Barger said. “The last eight years have been challenging, working hard to make sure that we can maintain that quality of life and, through the dedicated service of this Board of Commissioners, that has been the utmost goal and we have succeeded in doing that. It’s been a pleasure to be a part of that. I know that you will follow this same mission, to continue to improve the quality of life in Catawba County. I can’t tell you how proud I am to be a resident of this county, and to have people like you leading this county in the future.”