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Retirement Reception Honors 2 DCS District Leaders


Picture of Mr. Cary Powers, retiree      Mrs. Tarla Smith, Retiree   

Retirement Reception Honors 2 DCS District Leaders

Kenansville, North Carolina- June 1, 2021- Duplin County Schools Board of Education members and district staff recently honored two district leaders who will be retiring from Duplin County Schools. Mrs. Tarla Smith, Chief of Staff for Innovation and Mr. Cary Powers, Assistant Superintendent of Federal Programs, Exceptional Children, Student Support and Athletics were honored prior to Tuesday night’s Board of Education meeting.

Mr. Cary Powers came to DCS to serve as Assistant Superintendent in 2008. From there he would move into the area of Federal Programs and Operations before transitioning into the role of Chief Officer and then Special Advisor where he dedicated his service to the Exceptional Children’s  program, Global and Cultural Arts and Student Support Services. Currently, Mr. Powers serves as Assistant Superintendent for Federal Programs, Student Support Services, Exceptional Children’s Programs and Athletics. Mr. Cary Powers will be retiring after serving more than 30 years in education with the past 13 years of service in Duplin County Schools.

Mrs. Tarla Smith began her career in Duplin County Schools as a vocational teacher at North Duplin Jr/Sr High School. From there she would move into Career Exploration as an IEC teacher, VOCATS Coordinator and Workforce Development Director. Ms. Smith continued to be a tremendous asset to the students and staff of this county as she became Director of CTE. From there she would take her amazing leadership and commitment to student success through CTE and serve the district as Executive Director of CTE & Innovative Programs, before moving into the role of Special Advisor and then Chief of Staff for Innovation. Mrs. Smith will be retiring from Duplin County Schools where she has served for more than 35 years. 

Board members, Mrs. Pam Edwards and Mr. David Jones, along with Board Chairman Mr. Brent Davis attended the ceremony and offered words of appreciation and encouragement to both retirees.They shared memories of working with both leaders and they thanked Mr. Power and Mrs. Smith for their exemplary leadership to Duplin County Schools where their combined service to education totals more than 65 years. 

Dr. Austin Obasohan, Superintendent for Duplin County Schools also shared his appreciation to both retirees. “On behalf of the Board of Education, we are truly grateful to Mrs. Tarla Smith’s outstanding dedication to our school system and her commitment to not only the CTE program, but especially to our students, staff, and DCS community.  Tarla is a proven leader who exemplifies leadership and has truly made a difference in the lives of our students, staff, DCS community and beyond. She has made a mark on our school system that will be cherished forever. We wish you all the best and we are so thankful for your faithful service to Duplin County Schools. We appreciate Mr. Powers’s commitment to our district, staff and most importantly, our students. He has remained a true advocate for children and has always kept student success at the forefront.  His service and leadership to our school system and community will be missed and we wish him all the best in his retirement.”