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Maggie Fehrman will serve as the next superintendent of Asheville City Schools

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Maggie Fehrman will serve as the next superintendent of Asheville City Schools

Dr. Maggie Fehrman. Photo by Dean Hesse

Decatur, GA — City Schools of Decatur Interim Superintendent Dr. Maggie Fehrman will serve as the next superintendent of Asheville City Schools in North Carolina.

Asheville City Schools announced the appointment on June 8. Fehrman’s first day on the job will be July 17.

“I was attracted to Asheville City Schools for several reasons; the community’s and district’s unwavering and deep commitment to equity, an actively engaged and supportive community that is focused on doing what is best for students, the highly qualified and immensely talented teachers and staff, and the deeply committed school board members who are willing to do whatever it takes to meet the needs of each and every student,” Fehrman said. “I am most looking forward to building strong relationships with the staff, Board members, and the entire community to build on the excellence that is already in place in Asheville City Schools as we take the district to new heights.”

ACS is one of 15 school districts in North Carolina. It is similar in size to City Schools of Decatur with about 4,500 students and 10 educational campuses, according to the ACS website.

Fehrman took over for former CSD 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 Decatur 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. Her contract expires on June 30, 2023.

In March, she announced she was no longer seeking to become the superintendent for CSD.

Fehrman grew up on a dairy farm north of Pittsburgh, Pa., and is one of seven children. She said in a previous press release that “growing up on a farm embedded a strong work ethic that guides me to this day.”

Fehrman moved to Georgia in June 2001 and began her career teaching seventh-grade social studies at Summerour Middle School in Gwinnett County, Decaturish previously reported.

During that time, she started her master’s program in leadership. She was hired as an assistant principal at Summerour in 2005. Fehrman worked in several areas, including curriculum and instruction and managing the school’s Title I program.

She then served as the North Gwinnett Middle School sixth grade assistant principal beginning in 2009. She was responsible for state assessments, special education, and other areas. In 2014, Fehrman became the principal of Bay Creek Middle School in Grayson, Ga.

Fehrman joined the City Schools of Decatur in 2018 as the executive director of schools and served as an assistant superintendent before becoming superintendent in 2021.

Here is the full press release from Asheville City Schools:

Asheville City Schools is thrilled to announce the appointment of Dr. Maggie Fehrman as the district’s new superintendent. Dr. Fehrman is an exceptional and visionary servant leader, known for her strategic thinking and innovative approach. She has a proven track record of building strong relationships with all stakeholders, fostering trust and support through transparency, engagement, and open two-way communication. Driven by a deep commitment to equity, she will work to ensure that ALL students, families, and staff feel welcome, included, and valued.

“We are absolutely thrilled to welcome Dr. Maggie Fehrman as our new superintendent,” said George Sieburg, Chair of the Asheville City Board of Education. “Her exceptional leadership, strategic thinking, and unwavering commitment to student success are truly inspiring. With her innovative approach and genuine dedication to fostering inclusive and supportive learning environments, we are confident that Dr. Fehrman will take our district to new heights of educational excellence. We eagerly look forward to the positive impact she will have on our students, staff, and entire community.”

Dr. Fehrman joins Asheville City Schools from City Schools of Decatur, a top-rated school district in Georgia, where she has served as superintendent since May 2021. Her leadership has propelled the district to remarkable success, ranking first in the state of Georgia for student performance in crucial categories such as 3rd-grade reading, 5th-grade reading, and English language arts. Furthermore, the district achieved an outstanding high school graduation rate of 96.73% and secured the top spot in the state for SAT and ACT performance in 2021 and 2022.

“Serving as Superintendent in City Schools of Decatur was truly an honor. I was humbled to have the opportunity to work with such talented educators, staff, and leaders,” said Dr. Maggie Fehrman. “I believe the role of the superintendent is to create an environment where all the work in the district is centered on what is best for students and empowering teachers as professionals so they can be highly effective educators.”

Superintendent Fehrman consistently focuses on achieving important goals, including equitable outcomes for students, practicing financial stewardship, enhancing stakeholder engagement, and increasing transparency and communication throughout the community. During her tenure in Georgia, she spearheaded the establishment of a “Leadership Academy” to develop a pipeline for aspiring leaders across all staff groups, resulting in a remarkable 70% increase in the percentage of leaders of color in the district. Additionally, she initiated a Superintendent’s Student Advisory Team, providing a platform for student voices in decision-making processes while the district implemented a new grading tool and reporting structure.

Before becoming superintendent in Decatur, Dr. Fehrman also served as assistant superintendent, executive director of schools, principal, assistant principal, and social studies teacher.

“Research has shown that the school principal is second, only to the classroom teacher as the most critical factor to ensure student success,” said Dr. Fehrman. “As a former principal and principal coach, I know how hard our school leaders work each and every day. I am committed to ensuring the principals in Asheville City Schools have the support and resources they need to effectively lead their schools while supporting and empowering teachers.”

Dr. Fehrman earned her bachelor’s degrees in Anthropology and Secondary Education from Clarion University in 2000. She earned her Master of Education and Education Specialist degrees from Georgia State University in 2005 and 2007, focusing on educational leadership. In 2013, she went on to earn her doctorate in Educational Policy Studies at Georgia State University with a focus on Research, Measurements, and Statistics.

Raised on a dairy farm in Western Pennsylvania, Dr. Fehrman’s upbringing instilled a strong work ethic and a deep appreciation for community. She and her husband, Joel, share a passion for outdoor activities such as traveling, mountain biking, and hiking. Their family also includes three beloved pets: Caesar, Sandy, and Camo.

In the coming weeks, Asheville City Schools will facilitate opportunities for students, staff, families, and community members to meet and engage with Dr. Fehrman.

George Sieburg expressed his unwavering belief in Dr. Fehrman’s enthusiasm and eagerness to connect with our exceptional students, staff, and the community. According to Sieburg, this will undoubtedly foster a strong sense of unity, promote open communication, and encourage mutual respect.

We invite you to join us in extending a warm welcome to Dr. Maggie Fehrman as she assumes her role as the superintendent of Asheville City Schools. With her visionary and collaborative leadership, we are confident that the district will continue to flourish, providing an exceptional educational experience for all students. Dr. Fehrman’s official start date is July 17, 2023.

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