Johnston County Schools Superintendent Dr. Ross Renfrow celebrated the start of the school year by visiting every school in the district on their first day.
“We need to demonstrate to not only our students and teachers, but to our community as well, that we’re about supporting what goes on at each of our schools,” said Dr. Renfrow. “What better way to demonstrate that support than being physically present at each school on the first day.”
In a county roughly 800 square miles with more than 40 schools opening their doors to students Monday, the trip to visit all of them in a day came with challenges. In fact, to help prepare for the expedition JCS Transportation Services mapped out Dr. Renfrow’s 175 mile journey to make the route as efficient as possible.
“The folks in transportation do such a tremendous job in routing our buses and being so efficient each and every day, so I asked them to give me a one-day route to start at home, visit every school, and end up back at the office,” said Dr. Renfrow.
Dr. Renfrow started his journey at 6:30 a.m., then strategically made his way throughout the county, even dropping his own son off for the first day of middle school.
As the first day of of school is an emotional day for many, Dr. Renfrow said he shared the same excitement as students, parents, and teachers in part because this is his first full year serving as superintendent.
“I want to see a lot of smiles this year. I think when students are happy at school it makes for a better school day,” said Dr. Renfrow. “We want everybody to enjoy their public school experience. Most importantly we want everyone to learn, grow, and become more proficient as they grow.”
During his visits Dr. Renfrow met with community members, students, parents, teachers, and administrators.
“I believe this sets the expectation for our students and staff. It lets them know that he has a vested interest in what’s going on throughout the district,” said Cleveland High Principal Kendrick Byrd.
Byrd, like all principals in the district, had the opportunity to meet one-on-one with Dr. Renfrow and share with him the day’s progress.
“Having a superintendent that comes out to the building and talks with staff and students is something you can’t put a price on,” said Byrd. “It’s great to have that support and to know that he’s willing and able to come talk to us about our needs and desires.”
As a former teacher and principal, Dr. Renfrow said he knows the importance of making the first day of school visit.
“I can go out on the first day and within two or three minutes do a snapshot of what the first day is like,” he said.
With school back in session, Dr. Renfrow urged community members to be cautious of students traveling to and from school.
“The prayer every morning and every afternoon is that every student gets to school safely and returns home safely,” said Dr. Renfrow.