Pictured (left to right): Carl Woody (DCS Board of Education), Mary Ellon Ballance (DCS Board of Education), David Twiddy (DCS Board of Education Chair), Steve Basnight (DCS Superintendent), Margaret Lawler (DCS Board of Education), and Susan Bothwell (DCS Board of Education Vice-Chair).

Reprinted courtesy of Outer Banks Voice Nov. 2, 2022

By Michelle Wagner

Educator had previously spent 28 years in the district

Steve Basnight, a longtime Dare County educator and former Hyde County Schools superintendent, will return to Dare County Schools as its new superintendent following the unanimous approval of his contract by the Dare County Board of Education during a special meeting on Nov. 2.

Basnight will succeed interim Superintendent Steve Blackstock, who was appointed to that post in July after the sudden resignation of then Superintendent John Farrelly. Blackstock will continue to work as an assistant superintendent in the Dare County Schools.

Steve Basnight. Photo by Peter Vankevich

“This is more than a job,” Basnight, who was accompanied by his family, told board members following the vote. “Dare County Schools is, and always has been, precious to me. I want our school system to be…in Dare County terms, a lighthouse for the rest of the state for how we treat our staff and for the work that we are committed to doing for the students in our schools because they deserve no less.”

Basnight will be sworn in during the board’s Nov. 9 meeting and his contract will be effective Dec. 1. Basnight retired as superintendent of Hyde County Schools in April of this year, marking a brief pause in a distinguished career in education in Dare, Currituck and Hyde counties.

Speaking of Dare County Schools’ new top administrators, Basnight and Blackstock, Board of Education Member and Search Committee Chair Mary Ellon Ballance told the Voice that, “Dare County Schools, for the first time in a long time, have the right people in the right place to go in the right direction.”

Basnight worked alongside Blackstock in the Hyde County Schools where Blackstock was the director of Instructional Programs and Assessments. When Basnight retired from the Hyde post in April, Blackstock was sworn in as interim superintendent in that district until he returned to Dare County Schools this summer to take on his current role.

A graduate of East Carolina University, Basnight was an educator in Dare County Schools for 28 years. He was a classroom teacher and coach at Manteo High School for 20 years before moving into administration, where he served as an administrative intern and assistant principal at First Flight Middle School, interim principal at Cape Hatteras Secondary School of Coastal Studies, curriculum coordinator at the district level and principal at the Dare County Alternative School.

Basnight also served as principal of the J.P. Knapp Early College in Currituck before becoming superintendent of Hyde County Schools.

Basnight extended his appreciation to Blackstock during the meeting for the work he has done as interim superintendent. “I would be remiss if I didn’t take an opportunity to say thank you for the job you’ve done in not only getting the school year off to a phenomenal start, but in beginning to rebuild some of those relationships that are so very important to everything we want to do,” he said.

Basnight added, “I can’t wait to see some familiar faces and colleagues, meet some new people and get in the schools and work alongside our incredible staff to move Dare County Schools forward.”

In its search for the new superintendent, the board of education chose to conduct an in-house search as opposed to hiring an outside search firm. To that end, it named a superintendent search committee made up of three school board members, three principals representing the elementary, middle and high school levels and three central office staff members. Reportedly, 22 candidates had submitted applications for the superintendent position.

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