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Dr. Jim Merrill  |

The Wake County Board of Education voted June 18 to appoint Dr. Jim Merrill as superintendent of the Wake County Public School System, effective August 1, 2013.

Merrill, a former Wake County Associate Superintendent of Finance and Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources began his career in 1973 as an English teacher, spending a total of 16 years in Wake County. He has served as the Superintendent of the Virginia Beach City Public Schools and Alamance-Burlington School System.

Dr. Merrill has earned numerous accolades and awards, including the 2005 North Carolina Superintendent of the Year award and the 2013 Virginia Superintendent of the Year honor. The UNC-Greensboro School of Education awarded him the Outstanding Achievement Award and the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Education honored him with its Distinguished Leadership Award.

Dr. Merrill was a Morehead Scholar at UNC-Chapel Hill, earning a bachelor’s degree in secondary English. He earned his master’s degree in education administration from Appalachian State University and his doctorate from UNC-Greensboro.

Chief Officers

dr. marvin connelly

Chief of Staff and Strategic Planning 
Dr. Marvin Connelly |

Dr. Marvin Connelly joined Central Services in 2006 after serving as principal of Knightdale High (2004-06) and Wake Forest-Rolesville Middle (2001-04). He was assistant principal of Athens Drive High from 1998; prior to that he was program coordinator for the Longview School.

Cathy Moore

Deputy Superintendent for School Performance 
Cathy Moore |

Cathy Moore was named deputy superintendent for school performance on September 6, 2011. She was an area superintendent for the Central region from 2008 until that time. She was principal of Sanderson High from 2000 to 2008. Before that she was an assistant principal at Apex and Enloe high schools, where she began her career as a teacher.

david neter

Chief Business Officer 
David Neter |

David Neter served as the associate dean for finance and administration for the School of Social Work at UNC-Chapel Hill. Prior to that he was the Vice President and General Manager of two Companion Technologies subsidiaries of Blue Cross Blue Shield of South Carolina, and held similar positions with Dataflow Companies, Inc. of Durham. He earned his MBA in 1992.

Tim Simmons

Chief of Communications 
Tim Simmons |

Tim Simmons was named Chief of Communications on March 10, 2014. Immediately prior, he served as vice president for policy and communications at Wake Education Partnership beginning in 2008. He began his reporting career in 1981 and earned numerous state and national awards while covering education for The News & Observer in Raleigh from 1987 to 2008. He graduated from Michigan State University with a degree in journalism.

Area Superintendents

(View Area Superintendent Regions Map, 2013-14 8.5"x11")

rose anne gonzalez

Central Area Superintendent 
Rose Anne Gonzalez | 

Rose Anne Gonzalez joined the team in August 2012 after a 22-year-career in the New York City public school system. Ms. Gonzalez began her career as a middle school math teacher and went on to serve as a staff developer, assistant principal, and eventually a founding principal of a middle school in East New York, Brooklyn. In addition to her school experience, Rose Anne held Central Office positions as Regional Director of Middle School Mathematics and Achievement Manager for a cohort of successful Early College Schools.

andre smith

Eastern Area Superintendent 
Dr. Edward McFarland |

Dr. Edward McFarland came to Wake County in 2000 after teaching in Franklin and Guilford County. He began his career in Wake County as an assistant principal at Middle Creek Elementary and later served as the principal at Aversboro Elementary. He worked briefly as a Senior Director in Human Resources, Employee Relations before moving to the principalship at Fuquay-Varina High School. He was named the Eastern Area Superintendent in 2013.

andre smith

Northeastern Area Superintendent 
Andre Smith | 

Andre Smith began his career in the Buffalo City Schools as a teacher, assistant principal and principal. He came to WCPSS as a Millbrook High assistant principal in 1994, before coming to Central Services as a student assignment administrator in 1996 and becoming principal of Wake Forest-Rolesville High in 1997. He became an area superintendent in 2008.

dr. pamela kinsey-barker

Northern Area Superintendent 
Dr. Pamela Kinsey-Barker |

Except for a two-year stint as a principal for Montgomery County (MD) Public Schools, Dr. Pamela Kinsey-Barker has made her career in WCPSS elementary schools, including teaching at Durant Road, being an assistant principal at Wilburn, and serving as principal to Morrisville and Brassfield. She became an area superintendent in 2011. She earned her doctorate in 2000.

lloyd gardner

Southern Area Superintendent 
Lloyd Gardner |

Lloyd Gardner became an area superintendent in 2005, coming to Central Services after eight years as principal and six as assistant principal of Enloe High School. He previously taught at Fuquay-Varina High.

clinton robinson

Southwestern Area Superintendent 
Dr. Clinton Robinson |

A veteran of United States Air Force, Dr. Clinton L. Robinson, Jr. began his education career in 1995 as a mathematician for the Department of Defense Dependent Schools teaching children of military families in Okinawa, Japan and Kaiserslautern, Germany. In 2005, he joined Cumberland County Schools as an Assistant Principal at Grays Creek High School and in 2007 became the Principal at E. E. Smith High School. In September 2011, Clinton joined Wake County Public School System as the principal of Wake Forest-Rolesville High School. He was named Southwestern Area Superintendent in July 2012.


Western Area Superintendent 


Assistant Superintendents and Officers

dr. howard 'todd' wirt

Assistant Superintendent for Academics 
Dr. Howard "Todd" Wirt | 

Dr. Todd Wirt came to WCPSS from the Mooresville Graded School District where he served as Executive Director of Secondary Education as well as principal of Mooresville High School from 2007 to 2011. Prior to that Dr. Wirt served as a middle and high school principal and assistant principal as well as teacher in the Alamance-Burlington School System.

joe desormeaux

Assistant Superintendent for Facilities 
Joe Desormeaux |

Joe Desormeaux became assistant superintendent for facilities in 2009, after serving as senior director of maintenance and operations from 2001. From 1997 to 2001 he held facility maintenance director and operations and maintenance director positions in the United States Air Force at Kelly AFB in Texas.

Doug Thilman

Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources
Doug Thilman |

Doug Thilman was named Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources in 2013. Prior to coming to Human Resources, he served Wake County Schools for sixteen years as a teacher and administrative intern at Southeast Raleigh High School (1997-2001), as assistant principal of Millbrook High School (2001-2004), and as principal of West Cary Middle School (2004-2006) and principal of Cary High School (2007-2013).

Bradley McMillen

Assistant Superintendent for Data, Research, and Accountability
Bradley McMillen |

After receiving his Masters and PhD in Education from the University of North Carolina, Dr. McMillen has held research and evaluation positions at both the state and local school district level since 1999. He has served in leadership roles for professional organizations related to educational research and assessment at the state and national level, including the North Carolina Association for Research in Education and the Directors of Research and Evaluation. 

Karen Hamilton

Assistant Superintendent of Special Education Services 
Karen Hamilton |

Karen Hamilton was named Assistant Superintendent for Special Education Services in February, 2013. Prior to joining WCPSS, she worked as a special education teacher in Hoke and Cumberland Counties in North Carolina and in Bethlehem, Pa. Before returning to special education, Karen had previously worked in a number of central level positions in WCPSS Special Education Services (1990 -1998) and served as principal of Longview School from 1998- 2007. She returned to Central Services and served as the Director for Counseling and Student Services in 2007 – 2013.

Brenda Elliott

Assistant Superintendent for Student Support Services 
Brenda F. Elliott |

Brenda (Bren) Elliott was named Assistant Superintendent for Student Support Services in May 2014. From 2009 to 2014, Bren served as the Executive Director for Student Services in Guilford County Schools. She has 20 years of experience as a public school educator and has served as a high priority schools’ advocate,  area director, high school principal, middle school principal, and high school teacher. Bren graduated with a B.S. in Chemistry from UNC-Wilmington in May 1987 as a Distinguished Military Graduate and served an officer in the United States Army prior to becoming a teacher. She received a M.Ed. in 1995 from Tennessee State University.

mark winters

Finance Officer 
Mark Winters |

Mark Winters became WCPSS's finance officer in 2000. His previous service to the school system's accounting department includes senior director from 1998, director from 1992, associate director in 1992, and accounting supervisor in 1991. Before joining the school system he was controller of Caroline Management Corporation.