Former city schools superintendent dies

Lauren Williams Staff Writer

January 14, 2014

Former Clinton City Schools superintendent Dr. Michael G. Basham passed away over the weekend in Virgina after a battle with cancer. Both city school board members and central office staff began their week remembering Basham and his two years of service to the school system.

“I’m very sorry that Dr. Basham has died. He came to us and really tried to do a good job for Clinton City Schools,” shared school board vice chairman E.R. Mason on Monday. Mason was chairman of the school board during a portion of Basham’s stint as the system’s school chief.

“He was a humble, committed man to his position with Clinton City Schools,” he added. “My prayers and thoughts are with the family.”

“I’m really sorry that he passed away. It was unexpected to hear,” echoed current school board chairwoman Georgina Zeng who was a school board member during Basham’s time in Clinton. “He was wonderful to work with, and he guided me as a new board member.”

“We learned a lot from him,” she continued, recalling his wealth of knowledge and experience. “I send my condolences to his family.”

Assistant superintendent Nancy Dillman described Basham’s passing as “a great loss because he was truly an educator at heart.”

“We were deeply saddened to hear of Dr. Basham’s passing. We enjoyed working with him the two years he was here,” she said, “and feel that he filled a great void for us and did a great job while he was here in pulling together community, staff, and students.”

Although he only met Basham once before taking the helm of Clinton City Schools, current superintendent Stuart Blount shared that “the entire Clinton City Schools family sends our thoughts and prayers to his family,” adding that, regardless of familiarity, the passing of a colleague in education is always a significant loss. “We extended our deepest sympathies.”

Basham, originally from Shawsville, Virgina, preceded Blount, coming to Clinton City Schools to fill the vacancy left by Dr. Gene Hales. Although his original contract was for four years, Basham served only two, retiring July 1, 2012 to Wise, Virgina after working for 44 years in the education field. In addition to leading Clinton City Schools for a time, he also served as superintendent of schools in Virginia’s Scott and Wise counties.

Basham passed away at Mountain View Regional Medical Center in Norton, Virginia on Saturday, Jan. 11, 2014 at the age of 71, leaving behind his wife of 50 years, Betty Jo Maddux Basham, one son, one daughter, and five grandchildren. His funeral will be held in Virgina tonight with burial and a graveside service following tomorrow.

Lauren Williams can be reached at 910-592-8137, ext. 117 or via email at