February 9th was the last monthly board meeting for retiring Johnston County Schools Superintendent Dr. Ed Croom.
Dr. Croom’s last day on the job will be March 1st.
To his surprise, Dr. Croom was awarded the Order of the Long Leaf Pine, the highest state honor given to a citizen, by Representative J.H. Langdon. Langdon, who was emotional during the presentation, said he knew Dr. Croom since he was a small boy. He said he has tremendous love and appreciation for the retiring superintendent.
As the award was being presented, Dr. Croom’s family also surprised him by being in attendance. Principals from Johnston County Schools walked in together and stood as the award was presented.
School Board Chairman Larry Strickland said he was filled with sadness to see Dr. Croom retire but said the leadership he leaves behind in Johnston County Schools will be his biggest legacy.
School board member Keith Branch said the school system is in a better place because of Croom. Board member Butler Hall, fighting back tears, reflected on the first time they met at North Johnston High School. Hall said however he remembers Dr. Croom and his wife, Phyllis, the most for being with him during the pass of his wife, Beth.
Dr. Croom said the first six months as superintendent were rocky, but he learned from the school board to always be transparent.
Rep. Langdon said, “Ed has proven that he is a great school person. He has got a wonderful record. I think he certainly deserved the Order of the Long Leaf Pine.”