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Hazelwood School Board appoints new superintendent

Hazelwood School Board appoints new superintendent

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ST. LOUIS COUNTY • The Hazelwood School Board has named its new superintendent.

The job goes to Nettie Collins-Hart, currently the superintendent of Proviso Township High Schools in Forest Park, Ill. She is the first black woman to hold the position in Hazelwood, although for the past six months a black woman has served as an interim leader. A majority of the district’s 17,800 students are black.

“I cannot express how elated I am as the new superintendent of Hazelwood,” said Collins-Hart, who gave a statement during a press conference Monday via phone. She said she felt the energy of the community during a visit last month, and wants to be a part of that and moving the district forward.

Collins-Hart, 61, will begin in Hazelwood on July 1, and will be the fourth person in that position in six years. Before the current interim superintendent, the previous two superintendents agreed to resign or retire after the School Board removed them.

The School Board’s vote selecting Collins-Hart was unanimous. Hazelwood officials would not immediately release her contract, which includes her salary and benefits. In response to a public records request, a spokeswoman said the district would do so within 72 hours, as required by law. The previous superintendent in Hazelwood made about $230,000.

At Proviso, the school board approved a two-year contract in 2014 that paid Collins-Hart a base salary of $241,370, plus an annuity and other benefits that totaled nearly $58,000 more, according to the Forest Park Review.

The Proviso district in Forest Park has about 5,000 students in grades 9-12. In September, Collins-Hart announced that she would be resigning that position after eight years when her contract expired.

She has been a superintendent in a pre-K though 12th grade district in North Carolina and was an assistant superintendent in Chapel Hill, with a student population of 12,500, and Lawrence, N.C., with 10,500 students.

Collins-Hart also has served as a director of curriculum and curriculum specialist, director of educational talent search, director of Upward Bound, assistant principal, principal and high school English and reading teacher and has been an instructor, adjunct and assistant college/university professor.

Collins-Hart was among three finalists to lead Hazelwood.

Ingrid Clark-Jackson has been serving as interim superintendent while the Hazelwood School Board searched for a permanent replacement. Clark-Jackson took over last June when Grayling Tobias retired after three years as superintendent.

The School Board hired BWP & Associates last year to handle the superintendent search. As of April 1, the district had paid the firm $17,230, which includes ads and travel expenses. Of 34 candidates, 12 were interviewed and seven were presented to the School Board.

The district hosted community forums create a profile of their ideal superintendent and to get feedback on the finalists, who visited last month.

“Your participation helped the board tremendously in the decision-making process,” said Desiree Whitlock, board president, during the announcement.

The two other finalists were Dennis Carpenter, superintendent of the Hickman Mills School District in Kansas City, Mo.; and Tyrone McNichols, principal at Barrington Elementary School. He was previously superintendent of schools in Normandy.

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Jessica Bock is a reporter for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

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