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By Connie Leinbach
After years of apprenticing in county government, native Hyde County main lander Kris Cahoon Noble has slipped easily into her new role as Hyde County manager.
“I’m humbled and honored to be able to do this,” she said with her trademark Southern grin in an interview at Ocracoke Coffee Company. “I want what’s best for Hyde County.”
Noble, who is a member of the mainland Cahoon clan, graduated from Mattamuskeet High in 1993.
She has worked in government for the last 10 years, most recently as assistant county manager and as the economic development director and county planner.
Having earned an MBA from East Carolina University, Noble had been a real estate broker since 1999.
“I backed into local government,” she said. That was when she started with the county in 2007 as the part-time, contracted special projects manager. As such, she administered the Swan Quarter dike construction and helped with property revaluation.
She worked her way up the ranks in county government.
“Then I became the full-time grant administrator and eventually the economic development director and county planner,” she said.
During all of this time, Noble, a single mother with two daughters, furthered her education through the UNC School of Government, earning certifications in rural economic development, leadership, municipal and county administration and other governmental areas.
“The county needs continuity of leadership to sustain long-term projects and goals,” she said. So, having worked for five years with retired County Manager Bill Rich, she expects that continuity to be seamless.
Now, since July 1, her role with Rich has flipped and she is his boss as Rich has assumed the contracted position of special projects coordinator.
“Bill stabilized the (county government) environment financially and culturally,” she said. Rich will oversee the Ocracoke passenger ferry and tram projects, the revolving loan program and county land sales.
An avid fisherman with salt water in her family’s veins, Noble has been a frequent island visitor, but now when she visits the island every other week it will mostly be for business.
Rich, who lives on the island, will be her “boots on the ground.”
Residents may also call Rich or County Commissioner Tom Pahl about concerns.
“We all work well together,” she said.
And communication between the mainland and Ocracoke will be key.
“I’m striving for super good communication and looking for great things to happen here on the island and across all of Hyde County,” she said.