Durham school board names new superintendent

DURHAM, North Carolina (WTVD) -- On Monday, the Durham Board of Education called a special meeting to finally name the new leader who will manage the system of 53 schools and 33,000 students.

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After a short closed-door huddle, board members emerged to announce Dr. Pascal Mubenga as the new superintendent Monday afternoon.

Mubenga was chosen from a field of 42 candidates, the school board said.

"I am grateful for the opportunity afforded to me as the Superintendent of Durham Public Schools," Mubenga said Monday. "I look forward to working with the Board of Education members as we strive to make Durham Public Schools the best choice for parents and students. I believe high expectations coupled with support, accountability, and celebrations will yield desirable outcomes for all stakeholders."

In April, Durham Public Schools Superintendent Bert L'Homme shocked the school board when he announced his upcoming retirement

For five months, the Durham Board of Education has been discussing his successor and looking for the perfect replacement.

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L'Homme announced April 3 that he would retire this summer.

"It is hard to retire when the job's not yet done," L'Homme said at the time. "But in a progressive community such as Durham that stands for every child without exception, I have no doubt that the next superintendent will build on those accomplishments and move DPS into a great future."

Mubenga has been superintendent of Franklin County Schools since August 2015.

Before that, he spent four years working as a District Transformation Coach, School Transformation Team Lead, and School Transformation Coach for the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI).

He previously served as principal of Jones High School in Jones County.

Mubenga holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Shaw University, a Masters of Arts in Secondary Education from Liberty University, and a Doctorate in Educational Leadership from Capella University.

Mubenga and his wife, Chantal, have three children.

A Durham BOE Q&A with Dr. Mubenga

What interested you in applying to lead Durham Public Schools?
My interest in applying to serve Durham Public Schools as the superintendent is linked to nearly 30 years of living in the Research Triangle area. I know the history and challenges of DPS and view this as an opportunity to strategically connect human, material and financial resources to targeted areas that yield desired outcomes for all children and the greater Durham community.

What is your approach to leadership, and how do you apply it to your vision of excellence in public education?
I operate from a transformational leadership approach which is guided by four principles: 1) Raise the bar for the level of performance through high expectations; 2) Provide outstanding support through a service oriented approach to our schools (teachers and principals) and our students and their families; 3) Hold everyone accountable in their roles and responsibilities for increasing student achievement; and 4) Celebrate successes along the way.

What opportunities do you see for improving our schools?
The opportunities for improving our schools are endless. Through stakeholders' development, buy-in and ownership of a vision for our district, we will transform low performing schools, increase growth for our higher achieving students, provide educational innovation as well as collaborate with community and business partners.

What strengths do you think we can leverage?
We will leverage the talents and resources of teachers, principals, district level staff, businesses, the community, and faith based organizations in the rebranding of our district. This is necessary for parents to view DPS as the best choice for their children.

What can families, teachers and staff look forward to in the coming months?
Within the first 90 days, all stakeholder groups can look forward to interacting with a visible leader involved in gathering both quantitative and qualitative data. The district and school level administrators can look forward to meeting with me to share their perspectives on the current state of the district and offer suggestions for improvement. Families can look forward to regional level meetings where they are provided an opportunity to share their perspectives as well as feedback on how we can partner to make DPS the choice for parents and students. It is my hope that together we will begin the process of developing our strategic plan that will guide our work.
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