ORANGE COUNTY – Donna Coffey, Chair of the Orange County Board of Education, says newly-named Superintendent Dr. Gerri Martin’s experience and strong communication skills make her the best fit to lead the school system.

Coffey says the Orange County Schools Board of Education reviewed 30 applications, with applicants from 11 states.

“Dr. Martin definitely stood out as the best candidate to our board,” Coffey says.  “Her credentials, her skills, her passion, her dedication, along with her experience just led us to believe that she will serve our students, our staff and our community for many years to come.”

Martin comes from the McDowell County Schools in Marion, N.C., where she served as superintendent. She’s been working in education for 27 years, including four years as Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction prior to her role in McDowell.

“She has worked at all levels in schools, from teaching on up through the central office administration, and she’s had a little bit more than a year’s experience being superintendent,” Coffey says.

Martin received her Bachelor of Arts in Spanish and Politics from WakeForestUniversity and is fluent in Spanish. Coffey says about 14 percent of Orange County Schools students’ are Hispanic

“I think she is just going to bring a whole other level to our non-English speaking students and their parents,” Coffey says. “She will help us lead the way in providing more services.”

Martin received a Master of Arts in Educational Leadership from Appalachian State University and continued her education at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, where she received her Doctorate of Educational Leadership and Cultural Foundations.

Martin succeeds Patrick Rhodes, who retired in June. Del Burns has served as interim superintendent and will remain in the position until Martin takes over sometime in October.