VIRGINA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) - Virginia Beach City Public Schools announced Tuesday night that Superintendent James Merrill plans to leave the city this summer and make a move to Wake County Schools in North Carolina.
The Wake County Board of Educators voted to appoint Merril on Tuesday, shortly before the announcement of his leaving Virginia Beach.
"This is a bittersweet time for me," wrote Merrill in a Virginia Beach Schools press release. "I am proud to have been part of the development of our strategic plan, Compass to 2015, and the outstanding work that teachers, administrators and support staff are doing here in Virginia Beach to create meaningful, relevant learning experiences for children. However, I am excited about the new opportunities that await me in Wake County."
Merrill has led Virginia Beach schools since 2006 and has won several awards for his work there. He was named the 2013 Virginia Superintendent of the Year and was appointed in 2009 by then-Governor Tim Kaine to serve on the Virginia Council on the Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children.
"Jim Merrill is a visionary in K-12 education," wrote School Board Chairman Dan Edwards in the same release. "... We are fortunate that a man of his caliber was at the helm of our schools for the last seven years."
The Virginia Beach School Board will work with an Illinois-based firm to find Merrill's successor. Until Merrill's replacement is found, Deputy Superintendent Dr. Sheila Magula will serve as interim superintendent.
Merrill worked in the Wake County Public School System for 16 years, starting in 1973 as an English teacher and working his way to Associate Superintendent of Finance and Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources.
His work in North Carolina earned him several awards, including the 2005 North Carolina Superintendent of the Year award.
"Dr. Merrill outlined and impressive program for growth for Wake County Schools, and brings with him the skill set and institutional knowledge to lead [North Carolina's] largest public school district into a new era,' wrote Wake County Board Chariman Keith Sutton on the Wake County School System's website.
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