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School board interviews superintendent finalist Dr. Pruitt

The school board concluded its interviews of superintendent finalists with Erick Pruitt, Area Superintendent of Houston Independent School District (HISD). Dr. Dunsmore, Superintendent of Wayne County Public Schools, was interviewed on Wednesday and Dr. Greene, Superintendent of School District of Manatee County, was interviewed yesterday.

Questions were very specific regarding Dr. Pruitt’s experience and outcomes in working with turnaround schools. Dr. Pruitt mentioned his experiences both in Chicago and Houston in working with low performing schools. He emphasized the work around school culture, relationship with diverse communities (including businesses, and nonprofits) and provided concrete evidence of improvement in reading and math scores. “If kids can’t read, that is going to have an impact in any content area:”

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When asked about the specific results from his work at the low performing schools, Dr. Pruitt said that besides using student performance data, he looks at teacher turnover and leadership changes. He has achieved significant changes in all those indicators largely due to the creation of stability on those schools.

Dr. Pruitt puts a great emphasis on literacy at all levels as he understands that literacy is built in phases. He also spoke about the fact that many students with special needs get overlooked or wrongly diagnosed due to the lack of cultural competency of many teachers and school personnel.

Finally, Dr. Pruitt said that we need to pay closer attention to teachers’ voices. “We can always tell teachers what they need, instead of asking them what they need. Teachers are vital to planning their own professional development.”

What's Next

This afternoon at 4 p.m. the board will hold a meeting to choose its preferred candidate for superintendent. As the leader of our public education system, Duval’s next superintendent will play a critical role in continuing DCPS’ success while working relentlessly to improve outcomes for all our students so they receive an excellent education. This meeting is open to the public and we encourage you to attend. Can’t make it? Watch the board vote live on the DCPS website.

Our Commitment to You

At JPEF, we believe deeply that the public has to be part of important school district decisions like selecting a new superintendent. As the search progresses, we will continue to provide updates by e-mail, Twitter (@JaxPEF) and Facebook (www.Facebook.com/JaxPEF).

If you have any questions about the process, or other thoughts, please share them with us by replying to this message.