CRAIG COUNTY – School board members are happy that their quest for a new superintendent of schools has finally ended. Kelly Wilmore signed the contract last week to fill the position that has been vacant since Craig County School Superintendent Ron Gordon retired at the end of the 2012 school year.
He comes from a background of small and rural schools.
Wilmore will take over Feb. 1 from C. Hampton “Chip” Gray who has been serving in the position as interim superintendent for the past six months. Gray said his contract will end this week, Jan. 31.
Craig County School Board Members members interviewed two new candidates last week, and offered the contract to Wilmore, who holds a M.Ed. and whom they had previously interviewed. He is from Fluvanna County.
“Because I’ve had a successful game plan in smaller schools before, I feel I understand what needs to be done here,” Wilmore said, “and I am really looking forward to working in this community with parents, teachers and children.”
Another feather in his cap is the fact he has worked with both small and large budgets and knows something about making “efficient use of limited resources.”
Wilmore has served in Virginia and West Virginia schools in a diversity of positions over the last 10 years. He comes to Craig from the position of director of student services in the Fluvanna School system. He previously held the position of assistant superintendent of schools in Monroe County, W. Va., where he was director of instruction and wrote more than $200,000 worth of successful grants.
While he was principal and superintendent of schools in Highland County, the high school earned the prestigious National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence Award from the U.S. Department of Education. The tiny high school with only about 230 students was the only school in the state in 2010 to be designated a National Blue Ribbon School, Wilmore said.
“This award is given annually to schools with high performance or that make significant progress in closing achievement gaps,” he added.
Wilmore could also be credited for helping to establish high test scores and graduation rates while at Highland, with his efforts netting the school the distinction of achieving Adequate Yearly Progress benchmarks three consecutive years. “Out of 20 graduating students, 18 were enrolled in college in the fall,” Wilmore said. Through his efforts at Highland County, elementary students improved 35 points on the Virginia Standards of Learning social studies tests for 3rd, 4th and 5th grades.
Wilmore who says he is a life-long learner is currently enrolled in a doctoral program and is expecting to complete his doctorate in Administration and Supervision in May of this year. “I know that quality leaders are second only to quality teachers in their impact on student learning,” Wilmore said. “Our children deserve passionate educators who see their educational experience as the single most life-changing experience that they may have. The kids are the reason we are all here.”
Wilmore’s wife, Jackie, teaches in Roanoke. He has a daughter in the 10th grade in Monroe County, W.Va., a stepson is is 13 and a stepdaughter who is 11. He also has two German shepherds he says are spoiled and quite friendly.