WILMINGTON -- New Hanover County schools have a new leader. Not all school board members agree with the decision. John Morris resigned as superintendent in May and Saturday his replacement was announced. The school board voted four to three to hire interim Superintendent Al Lerch as Morris's replacement for the next two years. New Hanover County School Board member Nick Rhodes voted against the decision -- saying the school board should have looked at candidates from across the country to find the best possible superintendent. School Board Chairman Don Hayes says he wanted to promote from within and feels Lerch is the best person to lead the school system. Hayes said, "We can go from here to Maine to New York to San Deigo or to Washington State I don't honestly feel we could find a better qualified person for our system." Rhodes said, "Dr. Lerch may be that person, but I have no basis for saying that until we compare him to other candidates. The world is a big place." Rhodes also says the decision was rushed and that the public didn't get a chance to give its input on who should be superintendent.
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