NEW HANOVER COUNTY -- The New Hanover County school board has made some decisions in its search for the next superintendent. It's appointing someone on the inside until a permanent replacement is found. During Wednesday night's school board meeting, board members decided who would be stepping in. County Assistant Superintendent Al Lerch said, "Change is always a challenge and it is always exciting." The county has named a temporary replacement for current Superintendent John Morris. Lerch will step into the position while the board searches for a permanent candidate. Lerch said, "Dr. Morris is an experienced leader with a broad background, so that's very big shoes to fill." School board Chairman Don Hayes said, "I've been on this school board for 13 years, so I know the people over at the central office and we have some very good people over there." Chairman Hayes says the decision to appoint lurch as interim superintendent was easy. "Many of the topics discussed in the closed session were already previously discussed," Hayes said. Stephanie Harris is the mother of a Coddington Elementary fifth-grader. She supports another decision made by the board -- launching a widespread search to find the next district leader. Hayes says if it were up to him the search wouldn't go far. "I don't mind saying from the very beginning he was my choice. He would not be interim," Hayes said. Hayes says the school board will be meeting with the state board of education to discuss search options by the end of the month. No word yet on just how widespread the superintendent search will be.
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