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Dr. Lisa Herring: New Birmingham Schools Chief On What Success Looks Like

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Dr. Lisa Herring said she is aware of the history of Birmingham City Schools, and she is hoping to form positive relationships with the school board. (Ariel Worthy/The Birmingham Times)

By Ariel Worthy
The Birmingham Times

Dr. Lisa Herring said she is aware of the history of Birmingham City Schools, and she is hoping to form positive relationships with the school board. (Ariel Worthy/The Birmingham Times)
Dr. Lisa Herring said she is aware of the history of Birmingham City Schools, and she is hoping to form positive relationships with the school board. (Ariel Worthy/The Birmingham Times)

Dr. Lisa Herring, newly named superintendent of Birmingham City Schools, said Wednesday she plans to build a strong relationship with the Board of Education and residents in the community to gain their confidence and build a world-class system.

The Birmingham Board of Education on Tuesday voted 6-3 to name Herring superintendent.

Herring, who will be paid $202,000 annually, becomes superintendent immediately. The board also voted to place interim superintendent Dr. Larry Contri on paid administrative leave.

Those votes came during a chaotic meeting where several in the audience loudly voiced frustration at the process.

Herring met with staff on Wednesday. “To be selected as the next superintendent of Birmingham City Schools, not only humbles me but it also excites me,” she said. “I’m humbled that the board has exhibited a level of confidence in my ability to help transition and to help transcend the school district.”

Herring, who most recently was Chief Academic Officer with the Jefferson County Public Schools in Kentucky, said she is aware of the long history of previous superintendents, some who have not lasted long on the job. Her predecessor, Dr. Kelley Castlin-Gacutan, was superintendent for just over a year.

“My intent is to build strong relationships with our board,” Herring said during a 15-minute press conference inside the auditorium of the Central Office in downtown Birmingham. “My vision is a reflection of [the board’s] vision and our vision is a reflection of the community.”

Herring said she can succeed by establishing individual and collective relationships. “I have to do that by maintaining their confidence, being able to speak to what’s happening in our schools, being able to justify and validate success and own (up to it) when we’re not seeing it.”

The second finalist for the superintendent position was Regina Thompson who serves as the chief of teaching and learning for Richland County School District One in Blythewood, S.C.

Board President Wardine Alexander and board members Sandra Brown, Brian Giattina, Lyord Watson, April Williams and Randall Woodfin voted to hire Herring and place Contri on leave. Board members Sherman Collins, Jr., Cheri Gardner, and Daagye Hendricks voted against both measures.

 

Dr. Herring’s resume:

Dr. Lisa N. Herring, Louisville, Kentucky

Most Recent Position:

Chief Academic Officer

Employer:

Jefferson County Public Schools, Kentucky

Experience:

  • Chief Academic Officer, Jefferson County Public Schools, Kentucky, 2016–Present
  • Deputy Superintendent for Academics, Charleston County School District, South Carolina, 2014–2016
  • Chief Academic Officer, Charleston County School District, 2012–2014
  • Associate Superintendent for Instructional Support, Charleston County School District, 2011–2012
  • Executive Director for Student Support Services, Charleston County School District, 2009–2011
  • Director for Student Support Services, Bibb County School District, Georgia, 2006–2009
  • Assistant Director of Student Services, DeKalb County School District, Georgia, 2004–2006

Education:

  • Doctorate, Georgia Southern University, Educational Administration
  • Educational Specialist, University of South Carolina, Counselor Education
  • Master’s, University of South Carolina, School Counseling
  • Bachelor’s, Spelman College, English/Education