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Camden extends Ferrell's contract

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Superintendent Joe Ferrell

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By Reggie Ponder
Staff Writer

Saturday, March 23, 2019

CAMDEN — The Camden County Board of Education last week approved a two-year extension of Superintendent Joe Ferrell’s contract and a $300-a-month raise that is retroactive to the start of this fiscal year.

Camden Board of Education Chairman Christian Overton said this week that the contract amendment was based on the board’s recently completed evaluation of the superintendent, which he described as “very favorable.”

“We feel like he is doing an excellent job for the Camden County Schools and we wanted to extend his contract for the full four years that’s available for a superintendent,” Overton said.

The salary increase was based on a recent increase for the central office staff in the school district and the board’s perception that Ferrell deserved the same raise as other central office administrators.

Overton said the board has great confidence in Ferrell and is extremely pleased with the job he’s doing.

“We’re very pleased with the job he’s doing in leading our schools and making improvements,” Overton said.

School board member Sissy Aydlett offered a similar rationale for Ferrell’s contract extension.

“Dr. Ferrell’s contract was extended because he is doing a great job,” Aydlett said. “He has proven to be an effective leader and his sense of humor and fairness is an added bonus. It is a pleasure to work with him and I am very pleased with the direction our school system is heading.”

Ferrell, who came to Camden from the Alamance-Burlington Schools where he had served as director of secondary education, began work as Camden’s superintendent of schools on Nov. 1, 2017. He was unanimously selected by the Camden Board of Education from a field of 27 applicants to succeed Melvin Hawkins, who retired as superintendent at the end of March 2017.

At the regular meeting of the Camden County Board of Education on March 14, the board unanimously approved a motion by board member Jason Banks to amend Ferrell’s original employment contract from October 2017.

The amendment extends the contract’s termination date by two years, from June 30, 2021, to June 30, 2023. It also: 

* increases the superintendent’s salary from $120,000 annually to $123,600 annually, retroactive to July 1, 2018.

* establishes that the board will increase the superintendent’s salary increase at the time and by the same percentage of any increases that are approved by the state for central office employees of the North Carolina Public Schools.

* removes language from the contract stating “if the superintendent obtains other employment prior to the termination date of this agreement, said severance pay shall be reduced in the amount of the salary or other monetary compensation received by superintendent from such employment.”

Asked about the removal of the severance pay limitation, Overton said “that was just a negotiation between us and Dr. Ferrell on his contract.”

Overton also was asked whether the controversy that arose last year in the Elizabeth City-Pasquotank Public Schools over the Board of Education’s payment of $318,000 to departing Superintendent Larry Cartner under the terms of a “resignation agreement” had given the board any pause about changing the contract language on the issue of severance pay.

The Camden board sees the Pasquotank situation as an entirely different matter, according to Overton.

“What happened in Elizabeth City has no bearing on this decision between the board and Dr. Ferrell,” Overton said.

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