MAYNARDVILLE (WATE) - The embattled Union County school district is getting a new leader. Jimmy Carter, a life-long resident, will officially take over as director on July 1.
The school system had several years of budget problems under superintendent Wayne Goforth, who was suspended last year. Union County also runs the state's Virtual Academy, which has come under fire as well this year.
With a career as a teacher, principal and central office supervisor, as well as three grandchildren in the school system, Carter said he didn't think twice about accepting the top job, which has come with so much scrutiny in recent years.
"I felt like we had good people in place and maybe if we worked together we could improve our educational system," he said.
Recent problems range from a state audit finding financial flaws to a budget that cut bus service last spring.
"We made sure that the money was there in budget for this school year," Carter said.
There was also head-butting with the county mayor, commissioners and school board.
"Whatever issues we've had in the past, we all need to be able to put those behind us and work together," he said.
There's also been the online school's alleged grade-fixing scandal and test scores the state commissioner of education called "unacceptable."
"I would like to see, now that we're going into our second year of testing, what our test scores are. I want to evaluate them on their merits after some growing pains," Carter said.
He hopes the public and elected officials will give him a chance to make a difference.
"I do want the people of Union County to be proud of their school system," Carter said.
He said he is open to suggestions from all sides on how to get Union County schools back on track.