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Being in the spotlight isn't something Catawba County Schools Superintendent Dr. Tim Markley prefers. But Monday night, Markley couldn't help but have all eyes on him as he was honored by the school system and board members.
"Dr. Markley loves to work extremely hard, but doesn't like to be in the spotlight," said CCS Board Chairwoman Joyce Spencer.
Markley and his wife, Sara, were showered with gift cards from the Catawba County Principals Association, CCS central office staff and Board of Education members. Board members also presented Markley with two Catawba County pottery pieces to take to his new home in Wilmington. Longtime board member Betty Blackburn was given the honor of picking out the pieces for Markley.
The Markleys were presented with a bowl made by a fourth-generation county potter. Along the side of the bowl was artistic work described as Carolina Cameo, which was one of the first art designs created in North Carolina. It was purchased from Judy Petrie of Conover.
The second piece of pottery was a decorative vase. Blackburn said she picked a piece of pottery Markley can use every day and another as a keepsake from Catawba County.
"You don't know what a joy it was to pick out this pottery for you," Blackburn said to Markley.
After Markley was presented with gifts, each board member, as well as assistant superintendents for CCS, were given an opportunity to give farewell words to the departing superintendent.
"It's been a privilege working with you," said Sherry Butler, board member. "I can honestly say there wasn't an issue when you didn't put students first."
Board vice chair Charlie Wyant agreed.
"You always put students first," Wyant said. "There was never a time when you didn't reflect that."
Board member Steve Hilton commented on Markley's progress in the school district.
"You were proactive instead of a reactive individual," Hilton said. "You left us better than when you came five years ago."
Markley, who was at a loss of words for a few seconds, thanked the board and staff for their generosity Monday night.
"It's been a great five years for me," Markley said. "I won't be able to replace any of these people. The district had great people when I got here and will have great people when I'm gone. The board will carry on long after I'm gone."
As Markley wrapped up his speech, staff and board members at the meeting were wiping tears from their eyes and holding on to Markley's final words at his last CCS Board of Education meeting.
"I couldn't have asked for a better place to be," Markley said. "Thank you, and I'll take these memories with me."
Markley will start his job at New Hanover County Schools in October. CCS hired Glenn Barger as interim superintendent. Barger's first day is Oct. 1.