03/24/06 — Teachers' organization picks Taylor as top superintendent

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Teachers' organization picks Taylor as top superintendent

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on March 24, 2006 1:45 PM

WINSTON-SALEM -- Dr. Steven Taylor, superintendent of Wayne County Public Schools, was named 2006 State Superintendent of the Year Thursday night during award ceremonies at the 36th annual North Carolina Association of Educators' convention.

Taylor said he had prepared a brief speech "just in case," but admitted afterwards that he was still in shock that he had actually won.

"It's quite an honor. I'm quite surprised," he said. "It's a tough job, but it's nice to be recognized for something positive."

Taylor had announced at the recent school board meeting that he had been notified that he was a finalist. News of his being selected had been kept under wraps until the award ceremonies.

Tasha Christian Adams, Edgewood Community Developmental School principal and a member of the committee that nominated Taylor, made the presentation. Before revealing his name, she said it would be "much to his surprise, but it will come as a surprise to no one in the community" that he won.

She said the selection committee had been most impressed with the nomination package submitted on Taylor. On a lighter note, she told the crowd Thursday night how Taylor had actively participated in many of the local association events.

"He danced the electric slide and the cha cha slide with members," she said. "His camaraderie, sense of humor and delightful personality endeared him to all."

Putting children first and helping them develop into productive citizens has been Taylor's goal, Mrs. Adams said.

"He promotes and practices the saying that 'people don't care how much you know until they know how much you care,'" she said.

Mrs. Adams said Taylor "enjoys the support of the Board of Education, principals, teachers and support staff."

She conveyed the board's heartfelt congratulations as well as those of his wife, Pam, a teacher at Eastern Wayne Elementary, who had a family commitment and could not attend.

Calling Taylor a man she truly admired, Mrs. Adams said, "I'm proud to have you as a superintendent. It's a privilege to serve under your leadership."

Taylor, 48, has been superintendent since 2000. A Wayne County native, he graduated from Charles B. Aycock High School in 1976.

Accepting the plaque and cash award, he shared the credit for his success. Thanking the school board for its support, he also acknowledged his support staff and the more than 3,000 employees in the 31 public schools.

"All positions have value and contribute to the whole of what we do for children every day. The job of superintendent is a difficult one but made much easier when you're able to work with a supportive board and competent staff," he said. "The job we do as educators is so important, and organizations like NCAE are to be commended."

Paying tribute to his family, he said he received the honor "on behalf of my wife, Pam, son, Steven, and daughter, Natalie, for their constant love and support and on behalf of my dad who is still living and my mother who passed away this past year, (who) would be so proud," he said.