DeKalb County Schools has announced three candidates in its search for a new superintendent. The trio will address the school board and the public in a forum on March 31 at 6 p.m.
Candidates Gloria Davis, Arthur Culver and Lillie Cox each will be given 50 minutes to introduce themselves and answer 10 written questions from the public.
The candidates come from systems with less than 10,000 students, compared to 99,000 students in the county system.
Davis has been superintendent of the Decatur Public School District in Illinois for the past five years and serves a district of approximately 9,000 students.
According to DeKalb County, Davis’ philosophy is that “all children can be successful under productive leadership.” In her present job Davis developed a strategic plan that led to an increase in the high school graduation rate, an increase in advance placement (AP) classes and doubling the number of honors classes.
Also, 13 of the 17 schools in Davis’ district have received awards from the state of Illinois based on their high performance in areas with diverse populations and low socio-economic backgrounds.
Culver, who has been the superintendent for the school system in Champaign, Ill., for the past nine years, comes from a system serving approximately 9,000 and has been responsible for financial reform.
He has also been recognized for increasing academic achievement for all schools in the system while narrowing the achievement gap for Blacks. According to DeKalb County, since Culver has been superintendent the math and reading scores in both elementary and middle schools in his system have increased dramatically and enrollment of Black students in honors and AP courses have almost tripled.
Cox has been superintendent of Hickory Public Schools in North Carolina since May 2009. During her tenure the district’s dropout rate, which was the highest in the state, has dropped from 8.65 percent to 5.23 percent. The district has approximately 5,000 students.
Beverly Snowden, a spokesperson for Hickory Public Schools, said Cox knows what it takes to work in a larger district and cites her work for Guilford County Schools as the executive director of organizational development as an example.
“She’s had quite a bit of experience in two larger districts. She worked in the Alamance Burlington School System, which serves around 23,000 and Guilford County Schools which serves 73,000,” Snowden said. “She’s done a great job here and we’ve been glad to have her. She has a lot of experience.”
The forum will be held at DeKalb County Schools’ Administration and Instructional Complex at 1701 Mountain Industrial Blvd., Stone Mountain. Parents and community members are encouraged to ask questions, which must be submitted at the forum by 5:30 p.m. on March 31.
After each candidate is finished, those attending the forum will be asked to fill out a form to evaluate each candidate. The forms will be collected and considered by the school board during the selection process.