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Lassiter To Assume Interim Superintendent Duties

Lassiter To Assume Interim Superintendent Duties

Dr. Steve Lassiter will serve as Pitt County Schools Interim Superintendent, effective August 1, 2024, following the retirement of Superintendent Dr. Ethan Lenker. The decision was made and announced by the district's Board of Education during its regularly scheduled monthly meeting Monday night.

Lenker, who disclosed on March 4 a retirement date effective this July 31, has served in his current position since 2013.

Lassiter, before being promoted to deputy superintendent April 8, held previous roles within the county for a collective 15 years that include assistant superintendent for education programs and services (2018-2024), principal, assistant principal and teacher.

In addition to his tenure in Pitt County, Lassiter spent two years (2016-18) as an assistant superintendent in the Elizabeth City-Pasquotank Public Schools system and one (2012-13) in Martin County as a principal to account for his 18-year career as an educator.

Before providing successful curriculum and instruction oversight, and spearheading professional development for a district of 24,000-plus students and 3,000-plus employees with PCS, he supplied leadership to all operational aspects of human resources, transportation, child nutrition and maintenance departments during a two-year central office tenure in Elizabeth City.

Lassiter earned National Distinguished Principal designation and Wells Fargo North Carolina Principal of the Year honors in 2015 while heading Pactolus School. He was credited with implementing Professional Learning Communities across the all content areas and securing $35,000 in recurring funds for afterschool programs, which helped reduce teacher turnover rate by 50 percent in one year. Additionally, Pactolus was named a Model Positive Behavior and Intervention Support School through his award-winning efforts. Lassiter also served as assistant principal there for two years before accepting his first top on-campus leadership role at Martin County's Edna Andrews Elementary School, which was recognized as a "Reward School" by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction in 2012-13.

Included among many of his other honors spanning back to 2004, were recent selections to the ECU College of Education, Department of Educational Leadership Advisory Council and North Carolina Cognia Advisory Committee in 2023, and as a recipient of the 2024 First Bank Out of this World Educator Award.

Lassiter currently serves on the North Carolina Association of Supervision and Curriculum Development Board, North Carolina Science, Technology Education Center Board of Directors and Education North Carolina Board of Directors, along with being a North Carolina Governor Appointee to the Pitt Community College Board of Trustees.

An oft-requested speaker and presenter at national, regional and state leadership, professional development and curriculum conferences, Lassiter's innovative expertise has also been featured in three educational publications.

He began his educational career in Pitt County, teaching fifth grade at W.H. Robinson Elementary School and sixth-grade science, social studies and language arts at E.B. Aycock Middle School.

An Edenton native, Lassiter received his bachelor's degree in elementary education from East Carolina University in 2004 before following with a master’s degree in school administration from ECU in 2010. He completed a doctorate in educational administration and supervision from North Carolina State University in 2019.

"Unlike public universities and community colleges in North Carolina, boards of education are given wide latitude how superintendent vacancies are filled. The board is only required to elect an individual to the role of superintendent who meets the qualification standards set by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction. No method of election is specified or required.

The current board is satisfied with Dr. Lenker's leadership for Pitt County Schools and believes a successor with ties to our area will continue to provide robust academic opportunities to our students. Ultimately, Dr. Lassiter is a well-qualified instructional leader who is a clear successor to Dr. Lenker and who is known and respected throughout the state of North Carolina.

On April 8, the Board voted unanimously to immediately promote Dr. Lassiter to the role of deputy superintendent with a plan for him to shadow Dr. Lenker before being named interim superintendent upon Dr. Lenker's retirement. Dr. Lassiter is to serve as interim superintendent beginning August 1 on a month-by-month basis to ensure the promotion meets the needs of our school system and community. The Board's goals in taking this path are to provide a smooth leadership transition when a well-qualified candidate with deep ties to Pitt County Schools can be promoted internally, and to offer a candidate who has spent most of his career in education serving PCS the opportunity to lead our system with a judgment to be made by the November, 2024 Board meeting on whether he becomes a permanent superintendent."