School leader to retire

Catawba County Schools Superintendent Glenn Barger will retire at the end of the school year — again.

Barger previously retired as superintendent in 2000 after holding the post for 10 years. He rejoined the county system as interim superintendent Oct. 1, 2010, and assumed the full-time position in late February of this year.

"I told the school board Monday night I plan to go back into retirement at the beginning of this school year, effective July 1," Barger said.

"I need to get back to the golf course and the beach and some other things. My golf game has suffered miserably. I have full confidence that the board can find a superintendent to lead this system in a very positive way, take care of our students and take care of our employees."

The Catawba County Board of Education has not yet discussed possible replacements for Barger, said Chairman Joyce Spencer. She added that the school board has been focused on Barger's leadership through stiff state budget cuts and reductions in force.

Since Barger's hiring, the board has not taken action to search for a permanent superintendent, she said.

"The board is scheduling a meeting to discuss the process we'd like to follow and where we will go from here," Spencer said. "We're hoping, prior to Christmas, to go ahead and initiate the process. We're just in the very beginning stages."

Barger took over the superintendent post last year when Tim Markley left the job to become superintendent of New Hanover County Schools in Wilmington. When Barger was named full-time superintendent earlier this year, he asked the board to continue searching for a superintendent.

"When I signed on, I emphasized I am not the permanent solution for Catawba County Schools," Barger said Tuesday. "With all the uncertainty with budgets and the proposal on the table for a merger of the school systems, I told (the board) at the time I'd be glad to give them security with the understanding that I had no intention of serving four years."

Barger's contract with the system runs through June 30, 2014, so he will have two years remaining when he retires.

"At Mr. Barger's request, the board will accept his resignation from that contract and that will terminate his contract," Spencer said.

"There will not be any financial payout or anything of that nature. If he gave a 90-day notice he could terminate that contract."

Barger, a Catawba County native, has served all 37 years in his education career in the school system. He shared his retirement plans with system principals and staff members Tuesday.

"These past two years have been as rewarding as any in my tenure of Catawba County Schools," he said. "Catawba County has had a strong school system for a long time, and I have every confidence in the world that it will get stronger."

Spencer called Barger "an exceptional leader" and said his lengthy notice will give the board ample time to find his successor.

"We're fortunate he was willing to assume the interim role and fill that position during this time," Spencer said. "We're just very appreciative that he's been willing to give us the leadership and dedicated service that he has."