RALEIGH, N.C. – SECU Board Chairman/ Almance-Burlington Schools Superintendent Dr. Jim Merrill has been named the 2005 North Carolina Superintendent of the Year. “SECU is proud of Dr. Merrill’s achievement and continued dedication to the public school system in North Carolina.” said SECU President/CEO Jim Blaine. Superintendent since 2000, Merrill previously served as Associate Superintendent for Administration and Finance for the Wake County School System. “Our superintendent has led our system to a focused mission statement to have at least 90% of students in all student groups at or above grade level by the year 2006,” wrote Tom Lambeth, chairman, Alamance-Burlington Board of Education, in his nomination letter. “Simply put, our school board members believe we have the best superintendent in the state and in the nation.” Merrill has been recognized for his unwavering commitment to safe and progressive schools including the initiation of “Operation Safe Schools”, an undercover sting that resulted in 49 drug arrests among county students, including some high-profile athletes. “We will not look the other way,” Merrill said, “regardless of how painful our actions become. Our campuses must remain safe and our students must believe and feel that they are safe and free from the influence of drugs. Our mission is teaching and learning, and we will not let anything stand in our way of fulfilling that mission.” The 2005 North Carolina Superintendent of the Year will compete for the National Superintendent of the Year award, which will be given at the American Association of School Administrators’ National Conference on Education February 17-20, 2005 in San Antonio, Texas.

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