By Richard Sullins |

Dr. Chris Dossenbach was hired Tuesday by the Lee County Board of Education to serve as its next Superintendent of Schools. He will be sworn into office on November 21 by state Rep. John Sauls.

The unanimous vote by the school board ends the process of finding a new superintendent that began six months ago following the resignation of Dossenbach’s predecessor, Dr. Andy Bryan, in May. The school board hired the North Carolina School Boards Association to provide expertise and professional consulting services as the search was conducted.

Republican School Board Chair Sherry Womack said contract negotiations had been completed, allowing the board to move forward with the hiring process expeditiously. As required by law, the vote took place in open session.

The board received 17 applications from candidates in six states. The search was advertised nationwide and was not limited to a particular state or region.

Dossenbach’s initial contract will run through November 2027. Salary terms were not available Tuesday evening.

Republican Vice Chair Eric Davidson made the motion to hire Dossenbach.

“I knew you were the right man from the very beginning,” Davidson said. “I am so honored to be able to do this, and I want you to know that this board supports you. Thank you.”

Dossenbach is a native of Lee County whose experience with Lee County Schools began as a student. He has been employed by the school district for the past 16 years, starting in 2007 as a teacher at Southern Lee High School. In 2018, he was chosen as Lee County’s Principal of the Year. Prior to assuming duties as interim superintendent this summer, he served as assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction.

Dossenbach is a graduate of N.C. State with a bachelor’s degree in English and certifications to teach in middle and high schools.  He earned his doctorate in educational leadership from Wingate University in 2017. He did his student teaching in Lee County.

“I am deeply honored to be named the next superintendent for Lee County Schools,” Dossenbach said. “This is not just a professional milestone for me, but a true calling to give back to a community that has given so much to me and my family. Most of all, I appreciate the confidence the board has placed in me as well as the staff, parents and all who have encouraged and supported me throughout my career. There are a lot of exciting opportunities ahead and I look forward to working with everyone and helping our students, staff and entire community thrive.”

The Lee County position is one of a handful of choice positions that have now been filled in 2023, including others in Charlotte-Mecklenburg, Wake, and Buncombe counties. The search got off to a slow start when the School Boards Association was the only consulting firm to express an interest in assisting Lee County in finding the right fit for its system of 17 schools that serves around 9,200 students every day.

But once the work began, advertisements placed in national trade publications and websites began to produce results and by late September, board members were able to review the applications received and winnow the number of candidates during the month of October. Womack heaped praise on her fellow board members for their dedication to seeing the process through to finding just the right fit for Lee County, saying that they put in many days of 14 hours or more in completing the task.

Democratic board member Patrick Kelly said Dossenbach’s selection “is not only the best choice. It’s the right choice.”