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Dr. Willie J. Gilchrist Named Interim Chancellor
Kesha Williams
July 6, 2006

Dr. Willie Gilchrist UNC President Erskine Bowles announced today that Willie J. Gilchrist, superintendent of Halifax County Schools since 1994, will become interim chancellor of Elizabeth City State University as of August 1, 2006.

Following the September 1 departure of Chancellor Mickey Burnim, who is leaving to become president of Bowie State University in Maryland, Gilchrist will serve as interim chancellor of ECSU until a permanent campus leader is elected by the UNC Board of Governors. In order to take on this new assignment, Gilchrist will step down from his post as school superintendent and resign from his seat on the Board of Governors.

In announcing Gilchrist’s appointment, President Bowles said: “Willie Gilchrist is a proven leader who is absolutely passionate about strengthening public education, this University, eastern North Carolina, and Elizabeth City State University. His extensive administrative experience, his understanding of the educational challenges and opportunities facing our state, and his demonstrated love for his /alma mater/ make him well qualified to lead ECSU through a period of transition. Over the past three decades, Willie has earned the trust and respect of citizens throughout the region, and I am immensely grateful that he has accepted this important assignment. ECSU will be in very capable hands during the search for a permanent chancellor.”

Gilchrist holds an undergraduate degree in health and physical education from ECSU (1973), a master’s degree in administration from Brockport State University in New York (1975), and a doctorate of education in administration from Nova Southeastern University in Florida (1998). He has completed additional graduate work at Virginia Polytechnic Institute.

After graduating from ECSU, Gilchrist spent four years as a teacher and counselor in the Rochester, NY, public schools before returning to northeastern North Carolina. He began his administrative career as an assistant principal at Eastside School in Jackson in 1977 and was soon promoted to assistant principal of Gumberry High School. He was named principal of Gumberry High in 1979, and after three years in the post was named principal of Northampton County High School-West in Gaston.

After 11 years in that post, he was recruited to serve as associate superintendent of schools for Northampton County. Less than a year later, in May 1994, he was named superintendent of Halifax County Schools, overseeing a rural district serving nearly 5,500 children.

In 2001, Gilchrist was elected by the NC Senate to the UNC Board of Governors, the policy-making body for the 16-campus University of North Carolina. Now in his second four-year term, Gilchrist has chaired the Board’s Committee on Educational Planning, Policies, and Programs, the Task Force on Teacher Supply and Demand, and the Gardner Award Committee. In addition, he has served on the Committee on University Governance, the Committee on the Future of Information Technology, and several other ad hoc committees. The Senate will name an individual to serve the remainder of Gilchrist’s term, which expires in 2009.

In addition to his work on the Board of Governors, Gilchrist has served on the Governor’s More at Four Committee, the Governor’s Education First Task Force, the Halifax County Airport Authority, the Halifax-Warren Smart Start Board of Directors, and the boards of the Roanoke Valley Chamber of Commerce, the Halifax Development Commission, and the BMB Shelter Home.

Active in professional and civic organizations, Gilchrist has received numerous awards and other recognitions for his contributions to education and service to children. A 1994 recipient of ECSU’s Outstanding Alumni Award, he has also been named Middle-level Superintendent of the Year by the NC Middle School Association (2003), Halifax County Schools Administrator of the Year (1999), Region 3 Superintendent of the Year by the NC High School Administrators Association (1998), and Principal of the Year for Northampton County Public Schools (1986, 1992-93).

Gilchrist and his wife, Jacqueline, have three adult children, all of whom are ECSU graduates.