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Carroll school chief retiring

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Strader Blankenship plans to step down July 1; school board begins search for new superintendent

By Sara Blankenship

HILLSVILLE – Dr. Strader Blankenship, Carroll County Public Schools superintendent, has announced his retirement effective July 1.

The Carroll County School Board will begin an immediate search for his replacement.

Blankenship announced his retirement during closed session of the March 14 meeting of the school board. His wife, Ruby, who serves as a special education assistant in the county, also is retiring.

Brian Spencer, chairman of the school board, expressed appreciation for Blankenship and his service to Carroll County’s schools, while expressing they will look for a candidate who will focus on the same priorities.

“We have been fortunate to have had the benefit of his leadership these past few years, and have benefited greatly from the way he performed his duties,” Spencer said. “Dr. Blankenship’s style of leadership was much like that of [former superintendent Dr. Oliver] McBride’s in years past and it is our goal to find a candidate who will provide a seamless transition and continue in that manner. Our focus to empower the teacher in the classroom will not change and our desire to improve individual student achievement is our priority.”

The school board released its hiring timeline on March 17 and said it hopes to have a new superintendent announced by June. “We will start a search tomorrow and as before, we will be asking for student, parent, faculty and administration participation and input,” Spencer said.

The advertisement of vacancy will be posted today, Monday, and a public hearing for citizen input will be held on April 11 at the regular monthly meeting of the school board. Applications will be due by May 1 and interviews will be conducted May 13-19.