LEXINGTON, Ky. (WDKY) – After a months-long search for a new superintendent, the Fayette County School Board says it is in the final stages of choosing a new leader for its district.
“More than 50 leaders applied. Over 50 leaders who want to help us meet our challenges, ”said Chairman Tyler Murphy.
The five finalists come from as close as Columbus, and as far away as Nebraska, Texas and even Nevada, all with some background in diversity and equity, which are areas that the district says are most concerned about families.
“It was really one of the things that really exploded at the top when we looked at the polls and looked at the contribution sessions. Our community is committed to finding a candidate committed to diversity, equity and inclusion, ”said Murphy.
Murphy said more than 5,000 people have given feedback to help shape the profile of an ideal candidate. However, the Lexington chapter of the NAACP states that they were not included in the research as much as they would have liked.
“I can say that I have been the education chair since 2013 and the board has been more responsive to the NAACP than it is currently,” said Shambra Mulder, Lexington Chapter Education President. of the NAACP.
In response, the district says there will be multiple opportunities to contribute through virtual forums and meet and greet over the next week.
“We are committed to involving all stakeholders. We recognize that this new superintendent will be a community leader and that he will be active and engaged in the community, ”said Murphy.
Students will have the chance to interview applicants on Tuesday. There will also be virtual public forums on Wednesday and Thursday, and on June 2, an in-person meeting is scheduled.
Here is a full list of candidates:
- Dr Christopher S. Bernier, Ed.D. – Dr. Bernier is Chief of Staff for the Clark County School District (CCSD) in Las Vegas, Nevada. As an executive member of the firm in the 5th largest school district in the United States since 2019, Dr. Bernier leads and implements the student-centered vision for more than 310,000 students and 42,000 employees. Dr. Bernier is chair of the Diversity, Inclusion and Equity Goals and Objectives Committee. It has achieved a more than 10% increase in graduation rates, revitalized Magnet programs and created unique partnerships for college and career paths for students.
- Dr Melvin J. Brown, Ed.D. – Since 2017, Dr. Melvin Brown has served as Superintendent of Schools for the City of Reynoldsburg, a district of 7,300 students in the Columbus, Ohio, metropolitan area. Previously, he was Associate Superintendent of Public Schools in Prince William County, Virginia, a district of 89,000 students and a population of 400,000. While in Reynoldsburg, Dr. Brown worked diligently to address district inequalities in high school programs, including Advanced Placement and College Credit Plus enrollment.
- Angela Dominguez – Ms. Dominguez is the Assistant Superintendent of University Services for the Edgewood Independent School District in San Antonio, Texas, a large urban district of about 10,000 students. Previously, she served as district secondary school principal and general manager of the school administration. Ms. Dominguez is making great strides in providing equitable opportunities for academics in Edgewood, a very poor district. Achievements during his 26 year career include working with external partners (e.g. Texas A&M, Texas Council for International Studies and others) to create unique learning opportunities for Edgewood students, better accountability academic from a D to a C level, selection as Principal of the Year, semi-finalist by a Texas-based company, and recognition as Bilingual Administrator of the Year by a local section of educators bilingual.
- Dr Tawana Grover, Ph.D. – Dr. Tawana Grover is the Superintendent of Grand Island Public Schools in Grand Island, Nebraska, a district of over 10,000 students. Prior to becoming superintendent in 2016, she held leadership positions at DeSoto Independent Schools – a suburban district of Dallas, Texas with 10,000 students – as Director of Human Resources, Executive Director of Federal Programs, Director of special programs and director.
- Dr Demetrus Liggins, Ph.D. – Dr. Demetrus Liggins has served as Superintendent of Schools for the Greenville Independent School District, an urban district of 5,000 students outside of Dallas, Texas, since 2016. Previously, Dr Liggins was a bilingual / Spanish teacher; a deputy director; a primary, middle and secondary school principal; and a regional director of schools, in districts with up to 35,000 students. In his current role, Dr Liggins has improved student outcomes at all levels, including minority and economically disadvantaged student outcomes, led the creation of a 5-year strategic plan and graduate profile, and transitioned from several traditional schools to preferred schools, which helped improve equity in the district.
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