Coming Into Focus
The Superintendent of Moore County Schools brings his own student and teaching experience to his new role
Story and Photos by Christine Hall
It is often said that what you are looking for is right under your nose. That was certainly the case for Moore County native Tim Locklair when the Board of Education unanimously voted yes to selecting him as the next Superintendent of Moore County Schools.
But this decision was not made lightly nor was it a simplified output of “home team advantage”. After an exhaustive nationwide search and the review of eighteen prospects, Locklair’s credentials and experience ultimately rose to the top. Not only did he hold the desired pack leadership acumen for the job, he also possessed a unique blend of knowledge as a professionally trained educator and the passion of a natural born coach.
Perhaps where the rubber really met the road was his historical insight into the distinctive communities in which Moore County Schools operate. After all, he grew up here. He was educated here. This is his home. It ultimately was this blend of credentials that made Locklair the blazingly apparent choice. The school board and its stakeholders clearly saw that he embodied the characteristics that could help push Moore County Schools to the next level.
Locklair realized at an early age that he was destined to put his stamp on the world through teaching and coaching. From the sandy pines of Moore County to the cradle of Cullowhee, North Carolina at Western Carolina University, Locklair’s continuous drive for top educational training and the broadening of skill sets was distilled over nearly three decades of experiences in public schools across the state.
As a graduate of Pinehurst Middle then Pinecrest High School, he attended Western Carolina University where he officially set off his educational career trajectory. There he added new abilities to his toolkit and honed his communication moxie using each new skill he encountered as a foundational steppingstone. He furthered these credentials earning his Educational Doctorate at Eastern Carolina University.
Identified as a particularly formative experience along his path was his college job as a phone-a-thon operator. Regular tasks included calling on Western Carolina’s alumni network for philanthropic endeavors, which opened his eyes to the personal fulfillment attained through outreach to others.
As a young adult, Locklair found additional drivers that fueled his psyche. Whether it was pushing himself physically and mentally as a runner, riding thrill rides like Expedition Everest at Disney World with his wife and children or being “all fired up” about the start of a promising new school year, the enthusiasm and clear-eyed confidence he exuded was proof he could position Moore County schools, our students, and educators to tackle the challenges that lay head.
Attaining the ranks of School Superintendent is no easy task. In fact, it is quite a weighty endeavor. It involves serving a diverse range of departments, balancing inner and external workings, managing resources and financial stewardship, and partnering for change. These intermingled elements create challenges that push accountability and teamwork to the highest levels. After spending 12 years in Wake County School systems in the early to mid-2000s, Locklair was convinced of his professional calling and determined that he and his family would relocate back to Pinehurst for their next chapter. An opportunity to lead in a newly created role as chief officer for academics and student support services at Pinecrest ushered in the next phase of Locklair’s career, one which brought things back around full circle.
Within his framework of accomplished leadership, Locklair has already begun work with stakeholders to set forth a path of productivity, connection, and higher levels of support as the next school year gets underway.
“School safety, including expanding our police presence on Moore County campuses, is a top priority,” says Locklair. “A goal for this year is also to update our district’s strategic master plan, which is no small accomplishment. Using that unifying framework will help us interpret what is going on in the environment and will be a guidepost for our progress with projects and priorities.”
Several operational projects are already underway, such as building new modernizing school gymnasiums at Highfalls Elementary, Westmoore Elementary and Cameron Elementary.
“I am humbled by the opportunity to serve my home community as Superintendent,” adds Locklair. “I feel my role is to help steward some of the community’s most precious resources. And for that, I am incredibly thankful. In fact, I’m all fired up.”
With fire flowing through his veins, and mountain lion-like pride as a former Catamount of Cullowhee, we wonder with anticipation what this new school year will hold under his leadership. If one thing is for sure, we are fortunate to have this boomerang back.