New superintendent brings experience, new ways to district

Olivia Hines, Staff Writer

For the first time in 17 years, Dare County Schools started the school year with a new superintendent. John Farrelly succeeded long time superintendent Dr. Sue Burgess July 1, 2017.

Selected from a pool of 78 applicants, Farrelly brings strong leadership experience and knowledge with him to the schools. Before taking this position, Farrelly served as the superintendent in Edgecombe County. He began his tenure there in 2012. Prior to Edgecombe County, Farrelly was the superintendent of Washington County Schools in Plymouth, NC, and assistant superintendent of Allegheny County Schools in Sparta, NC.

Farrelly is originally from Auburn, New York, and he comes to the Outer Banks with his wife, Rena, and his two small children, Jack and Cate. The school system and community attracted him to the Outer Banks.

“I did a lot of studying on different school systems [and] quality of life, and this is a great place for my kids and my wife,” Farrelly said. “It’s a great system, a fantastic community – truly a great place. [The school system has] a rich tradition of great success, [a] great board of education [and] great relationships in the community.

Education is extremely important to Farrelly. While holding this position, Farrelly is pursuing a doctoral degree from East Carolina University.

“I feel as though no matter where you are from, how much income you have coming in, [or] what you’re family does, everyone deserves an opportunity for a great education,” Farrelly said. “Everyone has talents and special capabilities that should be used.”

In his first few months in the position, Farrelly has made positive impressions on long-time school employees with new approach to the position and his innovative ideas. He has meet with each school’s faculty and he has been seen around town at school and community events.

“I’m very excited about Mr. Farrelly being our new superintendent,” administrative secretary Connie Francis said. “The ideas he has presented to the faculty are innovative and seem to really be in the best interest of the students”.

As superintendent, Farrelly intends to have strong communication with parents, staff members and the community. He also plans to reorganize central office and have the school system more present on social media to highlight what’s taking places in the schools.

“I am a promoter of proactive communication,” Farrelly said. “I would like to update our website, [and] I’ve tried pushing more social media.”

Farrelly signed a four year contract with the district. And if his track record from his first few months as superintendent is an indicator, the schools and community will see a lot more of him in the future.

“I’d like to hold about 30-35 community meetings where anyone who’d like to attend can. “I’m [also] going to be visiting schools and speaking to students,” Farrelly said. “My family and I have been attending different churches which is a great way to meet people and get familiar with the community, [and] I’ve tried to attend as many civic events, festivals and athletic events as well.”