New Hanover superintendent makes grade on evaluation; board extends contract is your source for free news and information in the Wilmington area.

Dr. Tim Markley. Photo courtesy New Hanover County Schools.
Dr. Tim Markley. Photo courtesy New Hanover County Schools.

New Hanover County Schools superintendent Dr. Tim Markley has received favorable marks for his job performance over the past year, and a contract extension through 2019.

But the extension came as a result of a recent divided vote from the board of education, as some members took issue with the length of Markley’s contract.

Chairman Don Hayes said the board was “generally pleased” with the direction in which the school system is headed under Markley’s leadership. He added that Markley has been “responsive to concerns and input brought forward by the board of education and the community,” although he did not go into further detail.

In a closed session review of Markley, the board gave the superintendent an overall average ranking of “accomplished,” just under “distinguished.” He scored the highest–4.1 out of 5–in the individual categories for his community engagement.

Hayes noted Markley’s work with the school bond referendum, which was approved by county voters in 2014.

“The board appreciates the superintendent’s efforts in educating the public on the needs of the system, which resulted in the passage of the…referendum,” he said.

Markley also received positive scores for his management of business and finance and his “personal qualities”–moral and work ethics and interaction with colleagues being among the evaluating factors.

His lowest rating–3.5 out of 5–came under the category of staff and personnel, which included his ability to promote morale, hire the best candidates and conduct thorough employee evaluations.

During a meeting this week, board member Ed Higgins made a motion to extend Markley’s contract by another two years so that it runs through June 30, 2019.

“I will not be voting for this, and I want to make it clear it is not a reflection on Dr. Markley’s performance,” Lisa Estep said in response to the motion. “Instead it is a fundamental difference with lengths of contract. I have a problem with approving a contract that does not serve our school system well.”

Tammy Covil agreed.

“I think Dr. Markley has done a fantastic job…But I agree with Ms. Estep in that I am not a proponent of long-term contacts, in that they do put us in a difficult position in terms of that things that may arise,” she said.

Covil and Estep, along with Bruce Shell, voted against the Higgins motion, which passed 4-3.

Hilary Snow is a reporter at Port City Daily. Reach her at (910) 772-6341 or