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Two finalists named for superintendent of Ferguson-Florissant schools

Two finalists named for superintendent of Ferguson-Florissant schools

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The Ferguson-Florissant School Board has announced two finalists for the superintendent position, both from out of state with some years of experience at the helm of a district.

At forums this week, the public will have the opportunity to hear Bryan Davis of Columbus, Wis., and Joseph Davis of Plymouth, N.C., answer questions about their ideas for the district.

Bryan Davis is in his fifth year as the superintendent for the Columbus School District, which has about 1,200 students and is located northeast of Madison. He previously served as a high school principal in the Green Bay Area School District. He earned his doctorate in urban education from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

According to his biography, his research interests include urban education and the influence of race on school environments. As a high school associate principal at Green Bay Preble High School, he helped organize an African-American student group.

The other finalist, Joseph Davis, is in his third year as superintendent of the Washington County Schools, a high-poverty district of about 2,000 in North Carolina. He previously served as deputy chief of schools in Chicago Public Schools. Joseph Davis also served as principal at the elementary, middle and high school levels in the Wilson County Schools system and as a special assistant to the superintendent there. He earned his doctorate in administration, planning and social policy and a master’s degree in education from Harvard University.

He designed a mentoring program that specifically targets young men at risk of falling behind in school, which is targeted at blacks but open to all young men in need of support.

District leaders have posted the résumés and more information about both candidates’ backgrounds on the district website. Each will share his vision for the district in four public meetings.

“I’ve been adamant about making sure we release as much information as possible,” School Board President Rob Chabot said.

“The entire board believes that the superintendent will be the face of our school district, so it’s important for them to be out with the public as well.”

The district is searching for a new leader after the controversial removal of the previous superintendent.

Dozens of parents, residents and students blasted the School Board for placing Art McCoy on administrative leave in November 2013. It was the decision of a School Board consisting of white members in a district where the majority of students are African-American.

McCoy, the district’s first black superintendent, left Ferguson-Florissant last spring for reasons that were never disclosed, but there were allegations that he may have violated privacy rules by giving a former board member inappropriate access to records.

The first public forum is planned for Thursday at 4:30 p.m. at McCluer South-Berkeley High School, with a second Friday at 6:30 p.m. at McCluer High School. In addition, the public can attend meetings with administrators Friday at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. at the district’s administration center.

There were 141 applicants for the position.

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

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