Tony Tata got out of the country after being fired in September as the superintendent of Wake County schools.
As noted in today's Road Worrier column by Bruce Siceloff, Tata decided he needed to get away after the board vote. He took his surfboard and went for a week at Encuentro Beach, on the northern coast of the Dominican Republic.
“There’s nothing like being out by yourself, … out in the ocean, and just thinking about where you’ve been and where you’re going," Tata said in the interview. "The solitude out there was good for me, to reflect on things.”
Fast forward to early December, where Tata says he was invited to meet with Pat McCrory, the newly elected governor.
“I really thought I was talking about an education role," Tata said.
Instead, what the meeting led to was Tata's appointment this month as the new state Transportation Secretary.
While some critics of the appointment have brought up Wake's school bus problems, Tata says his military career, where he worked on planning and infrastructure issues, will serve him well in his new state role.
Tata points to examples such as his helping plan the 1994 invasion of Haiti for the 82nd Airborne Division and his work in Kosovo and Afghanistan.