07/07/14 — Dr. Steven Taylor says he will see two new schools built before retirement

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Dr. Steven Taylor says he will see two new schools built before retirement

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on July 7, 2014 1:46 PM

Steven Taylor

Wayne County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Steven Taylor says he hopes to stay in the role until the two newest schools are built. Target date for them to open is the fall of 2015.

"I have a year left on my contract, and it's my intent to complete the year," he said last week.

Taylor had originally announced his retirement date of July 1, 2013, on April 19 of that year.

A search had begun for a replacement, but the board had not taken any formal action to accept his letter of retirement when Taylor decided in May 2013 to rescind his decision for an undetermined amount of time.

The superintendent was hired by the district in 2000, at age 42.

In the years since, the school board has annually extended his contract to keep it at four-year status. That changed a couple years ago.

"I stopped asking for the extension because I was planning for retirement," he said. "Then all of a sudden the facilities thing gained traction and after you've worked with it all this long, you hate to walk out and not be a part of that."

Taylor said the decision to stay on was prompted by his desire to see efforts to build new middle schools in Grantham and Spring Creek come to fruition. The county commission has been working closely with the Board of Education and just this week, the Local Government Commission approved financing for the projects.

"I want to see some dirt turned, some things started on both sites, new schools and then renovations (at Charles B. Aycock and the central attendance area)," he said. "I'm excited about seeing those projects through. And I think once that is done, then I'll make a determination as to what my retirement plans are.

"Obviously I'm going to retire. It's just once we get through this."

Taylor said the climate may be good for construction in the district, but there was a down side to delaying his departure. Three of the five members of his leadership team at central office retired in recent months.

"It's been a tough year, losing my three leadership team members because they were very valued members of the leadership team," he said. "They've done a great job for this school district and replacing that experience is tough.

"Now we've had some good people to come on board as replacements and we will move forward. But obviously when you lose three people in a year, it's tough. But we're all retirement-eligible. It's not a matter of if, it's a matter of when. In their cases, they decided to go on and retire this year. At some point in time, I'll not be too far behind."