by: Ken Lemon Updated:
CLEVELAND COUNTY - Dr. Stephen Fisher had barely accepted the appointment as new school superintendent when the Cleveland County NAACP demanded he step down.
“Resign this position effective immediately, and spare this school system and the community the agony which lies ahead,” said NAACP President Dante Murphy.
The NAACP says Fisher, an assistant superintendent in Cleveland County, is part of a regime that has hired only 14 percent of black professionals in the schools, while blacks make up nearly a third of the population.
They claim several of the board members overlooked the other 19 candidates and voted for Fisher, who lives in their community and attends the same church, just like the current superintendent.
“If we continue down the same road of having the same people, then there will never be consistent change,” said Melvin Clark with the NAACP.
The NAACP called on other civic groups to protest at all school-sponsored events, including sports.
They will also protest at the American Legion World Series games in Shelby.
The NAACP said the school board also ignored a survey that shows about 50 percent of Cleveland County residents wanted a superintendent selected from outside the county.
Administrators paid consultants $15,000 to question residents.
“We wasted taxpayers money,” said school board member Danny Blanton.
Blanton and two other board members voted against selecting Fisher.
Fisher’s supporters said he was the best candidate.
“I didn’t go in with any bias,” said school board member Jerry Hoyle.
“Dr. Fisher was full of energy and showed his compassion towards our students," said Phillip Glover, another school board member.
Fisher would not comment about the NAACP's demands. He said he is focused on helping students and looking forward to serving as superintendent for the next four years. His first day is July 1.