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Cumberland County Schools superintendent recovering from cancer surgery

Fayetteville Observer - 3/14/2019

March 14-- Mar. 14--The superintendent of Cumberland County Schools is back at home after having surgery to remove a cancerous tumor from his jaw.

Marvin Connelly Jr., who became head of the school system in July, released a statement Wednesday after his medical condition.

"I have begun the journey to conquer cancer," he said.

Connelly, 56, said he was released from the hospital earlier this week.

"According to my doctors, I am responding extremely well to their treatment plan, and my recovery is exceeding their expectations," he said.

Connelly announced Feb. 14 that he had a cancerous tumor in his jaw and was scaling back his hours. He said then that the cancer did not appear to be spreading, and the prognosis was good.

Two weeks later, the school board named Mary Black acting superintendent while Connelly was undergoing treatment. Black is the school system's associate superintendent of student support services.

Connelly said he looks forward to being back in the office once he is medically able.

"In the meantime, Dr. Black and our leadership team will continue to keep me updated," he said.

School board Chairwoman Donna Vann asked residents attending the board's meeting Tuesday to keep Connelly and his family in their thoughts and prayers. She said the board thanks everyone for their support of the superintendent.

"Dr. and Mrs. Connelly wish to convey their deepest appreciation for your prayers and continued encouragement," she said. "They have been overwhelmed by the tremendous support shown by our school system and community."

Connelly shared those feelings in his statement.

"Words are not sufficient to convey how grateful I am for the tremendous support shown by our Board of Education, school system employees, and individuals in our community and beyond," he said. "We remain Cumberland Strong."

Before Connelly had surgery, school employees bought red T-shirts that said "#CCS Cumberland Connelly Strong." Some surprised him by wearing the shirts at a meeting.

Staff writer Steve DeVane can be reached at or 910-486-3572.


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