NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) - Norfolk Schools swore in a new superintendent and three new school board members July 2.
Newly-appointed Superintendent Dr. Samuel King worked in Georgia for 28 years, including seven years as superintendent of Rockdale County Public Schools.
Pediatrician Noelle Gabriel, Technology Consultant Rodney Jordan and Attorney Joseph Lindsey were also sworn in as new school board members.
King said there are a lot of similarities in demographics between Rockdale County Public Schools and Norfolk Public Schools. In Georgia, King said he was successful in boosting graduation rates, something he will look to do in Norfolk as well.
During the cremony, Mayor Paul Fraim acknowledging that Norfolk Public Schools is at a crossroads.
"The school system has struggled with some standardized testing," Fraim said.
King said he would focus on test scores, accreditation rates and graduation rates. In the seven years King was superintendent in Georgia, he says graduation rates moved from 70 percent to 86 percent.
King said the difference is due to what he calls a cycle for results.
"If you're going to get students to a point where they are going to graduate on time, that's just not a high school issue," King said. "That's an elementary issue. That's a middle school issue."
King also advocated teaching to each individual student.
"From a conceptual standpoint it does mean that we're going to understand the needs of each child," King said.
He also said that could mean additional teacher training and perhaps additional teacher compensation.
"I don't know the depth of the training that they've already had," King said. "Any opportunity that we can take from a creative standpoint to pay them for what they do I think that we should do that."
While King is very familiar with graduation rates, the use of pepper spray in schools is new to him.Norfolk public schools upheld its pepper spray policy after school security officers used it to break up fights.
"I need to be able to study those situations to see what happened," King said.
Norfolk's last superintendent, Dr. Richard Bentley, resigned approximately 15 months into his four-year contract.
"It was a short tenure for Dr. Bentley but we hope Dr. King stays you want all of your superintendents to have long tenures," Fraim said.
King was named Georgia's 2011 Superintendent of the Year by the Georgia School Boards Association and the Georgia School Superintendents' Association after being a finalist for three consecutive years.
A Suffolk man told police an HVAC system weighing about three tons was stolen from his property sometime last week.
A Newport News mother was arrested in York County for drug charges while she was with her children, according to the York-Poquoson Sheriff's Office.
Sgt. Chris Meier with Smithfield Police confirmed a sexual assault took place at the Smithfield Foods packing plant last month.