“My priority is good customer service,” Butler told the board and a large audience in attendance at the high school cafeteria. “I still believe in public education. I know this board has done great things. I want to know which direction you need to go.”
Butler said he and his wife, Brie, have enjoyed visiting the community. “This is a great community. We think it's a great place that reflects our moral values. I'm very excited to be here.”
Butler noted John Parker, who has served as interim superintendent, “has done an outstanding job.”
The school system said in a statement, “Dr. Butler has enjoyed a successful career in public education spanning nearly 17 years in North Carolina.”
He currently serves as executive director for school administration for the Alamance-Burlington Schools — a position he has held for the last four years.
As a key member of the superintendent’s cabinet, Butler is responsible for legal, administrative, and operational issues, including board policies, student discipline appeals, grievances, student assignment, alternative education programs, and school safety and security.
Prior to his current position, Butler served as director of school improvement and accountability from 2008 to 2012.
He began his educational career in Alamance-Burlington Schools as a middle school teacher before moving up to an assistant principal and ultimately a principal position at local elementary schools.
He earned a bachelor’s degree in history from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. He attended graduate school at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, where he earned his master’s in school administration in 2002 and his doctorate in educational leadership in 2012.
Board Chair Jay Carlisle said during a break in the meeting he was impressed with Butler's approach to education. “He's strong in curriculum. We felt like he could lead us to where we need to go in future.”
Brewer said she was impressed with Butler's values. “I like that he seems so ethical. He's very open. He's going to be a good listener. He's obviously committed to education. I'm so happy to have him come here.”
Brewer said it is too early to craft a direction under Butler's leadership. “I think the plan is to listen. I think we've got a good hire.”
In the statement, the school system said the board carefully reviewed applications and supporting documentation from a diverse field of 28 excellent candidates. “Although many qualified candidates applied, the board felt that Dr. Butler’s leadership, breadth of experience, and dedication to students would best serve the RRGSD students, staff, and community for years to come. The board is confident that Dr. Butler will lead the district to even higher achievement.”
Butler said in the statement, “I am honored and humbled to join the Roanoke Rapids community and school district. I look forward to working closely with all stakeholders to continue the academic progress and well-being of each child in our care.
“I hope to encapsulate all of my diverse leadership experiences and share with those who are just as passionate about the advancement of each student’s educational future. In turn, I am excited to learn from the dedicated staff, parents, and students who have worked diligently to serve RRGSD. I am excited to serve as superintendent and to become a community member of Roanoke Rapids.”
Parker, who plans to travel and write, said, his tenure as interim superintendent, “Has been a labor of love for me. I'm leaving with mixed emotions. I feel like Dr. Butler will move the school district in a positive direction.”