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City Schools of Decatur announces superintendent finalist

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City Schools of Decatur announces superintendent finalist

Gyimah Whitaker will serve as the next superintendent of City Schools of Decatur. Photo courtesy of CSD.

Decatur, GA — The Decatur School Board has named Gyimah Whitaker as the sole finalist in its superintendent search. She will officially assume the role of superintendent on July 1, if her contract is approved by the school board.

“Dr. Whitaker has a long track record of being a results-oriented educational leader with the proven ability to create sustainable outcomes by leading through impact and influence,” School Board Chair James Herndon said in a press release. “We are thrilled to have her helming CSD, particularly at the start of ‘All In Decatur,’ the district’s new five-year strategic plan.”

He added that one of the hallmarks of a strong school district is its ability to transition from one leader to another while still building on success.

“I am confident we will do that here, and I am more excited than ever about the future of City Schools of Decatur,” Herndon said.

The school board recently adopted the strategic plan, which emphasizes bringing out the best in students, educators, families, and the city through outstanding, inclusive public education. Progress is already underway to launch and implement the plan.

“I am humbled and delighted to serve as the next Superintendent of the City Schools of Decatur,” Whitaker said. “I was drawn to this district because it is truly a gem – a rare and special find. I am proud to be all in Decatur to ensure we reach an even higher level of brilliance.”

Whitaker has more than two decades of leadership experience. Most recently, she has been serving as deputy chief academic officer for Fulton County Schools, where she supervised the assistant superintendents of student support services and learning and teaching, and oversaw a budget of $48 million general funds, $61 million federal funds, and $47 million ESSR funds.

“Whitaker brings deep experience in development and oversight of innovative instructional programs, diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives, community engagement and communications, and system-wide budgets,” the press release says. “The trajectory of her career has always been focused on improving access to excellent education experiences and being a change agent for academic systems.”

She earned a bachelor of arts in African American studies and a master of science in elementary education from the University of Pennsylvania. She holds a doctoral degree from Georgia State University in educational leadership and administration.

She is a proud wife and mother to two children of her own.

Superintendent Maggie Fehrman announced on March 24 that she was no longer seeking the position.

“As the Board is preparing to name the finalist for superintendent, I want to share that I am not seeking the superintendent position in City Schools of Decatur at the conclusion of my current contract,” Fehrman previously said.

Fehrman has not announced her plans and said she is still considering several options.

“The City Schools of Decatur Board of Education has been conducting a search for the school system’s next superintendent,” the school board said in a statement. “Dr. Maggie Fehrman is not planning on continuing as Superintendent beyond the 2022-2023 school year and is pursuing other opportunities. She has served as superintendent since 2021 and, among many other accomplishments, led the development of ‘All In Decatur,’ the current strategic plan.”

Fehrman took over for former superintendent David Dude in April 2021 after he left the district following months of investigative stories by Decaturish.com that examined allegations raised by the school district’s former human resources director. The School Board gave Fehrman a one-year contract in May 2021. In January 2022, the school board said it needed more time to search for Dude’s replacement. The school board extended her contract in February 2022 for another year, and her current contract began on July 1, 2022.

The school board has been working with the Georgia School Boards Association to find Fehrman’s replacement. The application process closed on Dec. 18, 2022. GSBA received 34 applications.

Community meet and greets with Whitaker will be held on Tuesday, March 28, at 10 a.m. in the CSD Board Room at the Wilson Center, 125 Electric Ave., and Thursday, March 30, at 5:30 pm in the Decatur High School cafeteria, 310 N. McDonough Street.

Editor and Publisher Dan Whisenhunt contributed to this story.

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