Johnston County Schools new Superintendent, Dr. Ross Renfrow, marked his first day at the helm with a Read Across America school tour.
Dr. Renfrow spent Tuesday delivering books to students at Clayton High School and McGee’s Crossroads Middle School, as well as Benson, West Smithfield and Micro-Pine Level Elementary Schools.
“Reading is fundamental,” said Dr. Renfrow. “If we’re not good readers at any age group then it only exacerbates our problems. In order to model those things that are important we need to be in the elementary, middle, and high schools so people see the importance of reading.”
The National Education Association’s Read Across America Week celebrates reading in cities and towns all over the country on the week of March 2, the birthday of children’s author Dr. Seuss.
“Read Across America is a wonderful event because it starts students thinking about reading and the importance of reading,” said Deanne Holcombe, Media Coordinator for Clayton High School.
Educators, politicians and athletes alike take part in hundreds of events to get children excited about reading.
“It means the world to me, out of all of the schools in Johnston County he picked this one,” said Michael Synoracki, a McGee’s Crossroads Middle School student when asked about Dr. Renfrow’s visit.
“I think it’s a huge honor that he chose our school out of all of the schools in the county to come to on his first day,” said Joseph Whittington, a senior at Clayton High School.
Dr. Renfrow is a lifelong Johnston County native and has served the school system for more than 24 years in several different roles including teacher, coach, assistant principal, principal and deputy superintendent.
“If we’re not growing we’re dying. For me growth is a great opportunity to have,“ said Dr. Renfrow. “As good as we’ve been in the past, for me our brightest days are ahead because of all of the diversity we’ve got in Johnston County now.”
Dr. Renfrow will continue participating with the Read Across America tour, visiting several more schools throughout his first week as superintendent.
“We hope that parents take time to read with their students in the evening and set a good example,” said Dr. Renfrow.
Dr. Renfrow has taken over the role as superintendent, replacing Dr. Ed Croom who served the district as superintendent from 2009 through Feb. 29, 2016.
“We hear about all the negative and all the problems with public education. But when you take time to get into a school building and see what students are capable of, it reassures you that they are better today than they’ve ever been before,” said Dr. Renfrow. “So before somebody picks up a rock and throws it at public education, I would encourage them to go visit their neighborhood school and see the great things that are happening.”