In a surprise move, Johnston County School Superintendent Dr. Ed Croom announced his retirement on Tuesday. Dr. Croom’s last day on the job will be March 1, 2016.
In the school board’s monthly meeting held Tuesday afternoon, Dr. Croom told school board members serving as school superintendent had been “a life changing experience.”
“It has been a pleasure serving the children and employees of Johnston County for nearly my entire career. The last six and a half years have been a challenging, but rewarding experience. A heart felt “Thanks” goes out to all administrators, teachers and staff for their commitment to our children. I appreciate the leadership the Johnston County Board of Education has provided during my tenure and know that they will continue to make decisions that benefit all children.”
Dr. Croom said he was very proud of the “trusting relationship” formed between school officials and county leaders, specifically mentioning the Johnston County Board of Commissioners and County Manager Rick Hester. Croom said “many challenges still lie ahead” but said it was time for someone else to assume his duties. “From the bottom of my heart thank you for being great Christian leaders,” Dr. Croom told the school board, as many board members appeared to be in shock from the announcement. “This is one of the best group of people you could ever work for,” referring to the school board.
Dr. Croom thanked his wife, faculty, and even the students in the school district. “The children in this district are unbelieveable.”
“It’s time for change. I’m tired. It takes an enormous amount of energy.”
Dr. Croom made his retirement announcement at the same podium he accepted the superintendent’s job in 2008.
Dr. Croom was a Deputy Superintendent when he was hired in December 2008 to replace retiring Superintendent Dr. Anthony Parker. Dr. Croom assumed the role as superintendent on March 1, 2009.
Board Chairman Larry Strickland said, “I would like to thank Dr. Ed Croom for the service he has provided to the citizens and students of Johnston County. Since he has taken the position of superintendent here in Johnston County, he has worked tirelessly day and night to improve and sustain the high level of academic achievement in the school system. He has brought an era of transparency to the citizens and officials in the county and has worked to foster excellent relationships with county, municipal, and state governments in all his dealings. Dr. Croom has shepherded the school system through some trying economic times and has been able to keep the school systems facilities at a high level while maintaining an excellent staff of teachers and administrators throughout the county.”
School board member Mike Wooten described Croom as a “true friend with Christian attributes.” Board member Donna White, brought to tears by the announcement said Croom made Johnston County Schools a “gentler and kinder school system.”
Vice Chair Dorothy Johnson and Board Member Butler Hall were too emotional to make a statement.
Board member Keith Branch said Croom worked for the school system 24/7. “Thank you for the opportunity to serve with you. Thank you for being my friend.”
Dr. Croom had been the Deputy Superintendent for Administrative Services from 2003 to 2009. Previously, Croom was a principal at South Johnston High School for 6 years. He also served as Workforce Development Director for Johnston County Schools from 1995 to 1997 and an agriculture education teacher at Princeton High from 1988 to 1992. From 1992 to 1995 he worked with the Wayne County School System. Croom was named Johnston County School Administrator of the Year in 2001.