The biggest hire of the past week saw a big-city, southern school district pick a first-timer as its next superintendent. Marie Feagins will take the helm of Memphis-Shelby County Schools at the end of the school year after serving as chief of leadership and high schools at the Detroit Public Schools Community District.
Feagins, who describes her leadership style as “whole-soul,” was previously a principal in the Cleveland Municipal School District in Ohio and an assistant principal at Huntsville City Schools in Alabama. She will replace interim superintendent Toni Williams, who also serves as the district’s chief financial officer.
There was a promotion from within at another city district, as Albuquerque Public Schools promoted Chief Operations Officer Gabriella Durán Blakey to its become its next superintendent. Blakey, who was chosen unanimously by the district’s school board, has spent 20 years as a teacher, assistant principal, principal and associate superintendent in the 68,000-student district, from which she also graduated high school.
“Her familiarity with APS, track record of improving student outcomes, and the fact that she helped create our Emerging Stronger strategic plan—the road map that is going to help us reach our academic goals—made her the ideal pick,” school board President Danielle Gonzales said in a statement.
In a similarly sized district, interim superintendent Anita Huggins has agreed to become the permanent leader of South Carolina’s Charleston County School District, The Post and Courier reported. Huggins has worked in the district for 25 years, having also served as deputy superintendent and interim chief transformation officer. She fills the vacancy created in October when Eric Gallien parted ways with the district after having served for only about four months.
Also in South Carolina, Anderson School District One Board has promoted from within, tapping Seth Young to replace Superintendent Robbie Binnicker, who is retiring at the end of the school year. Dr. Young has been with Anderson School District One for 21 years, starting as a high school math teacher and serving most recently as director of student services.
Superintendent Erin Keating will take the helm at Pennsylvania’s Scranton School District in April after having led the Old Forge School District since 2019. Keating had previously served Scranton as its chief of leadership development and school operations.
Among the other administrators earning their first superintendencies is Amy Zielinski, who will become the superintendent of Missouri’s Brentwood School District in July. Zielinski currently serves as the assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction in the Ladue School District, also in Missouri, and began her career as a social studies teacher.
Erika Bare will take the helm of the South Umpqua School District in Oregon on July 1. She is now the assistant superintendent of the Ashland School District. And in Iowa, Matthew Leeman will become superintendent of the Mount Vernon Community School District this summer. Leeman is currently the associate superintendent/6-12 curriculum director of the Clear Creek Amana Community School District and has been an administrator in two other Iowa school systems.
More new hires
- Derick Austin, Putnam County Charter School System (Georgia)
- Susan Burris, Litchfield Public Schools (Minnesota)
- Cynthia M. Deevers, Streetsboro City School District (Ohio) *Starts Aug. 1
- Leslie Garza, Woodsboro ISD (Texas)
- Richard Gross, West Valley School (Montana)
- David Hill, Waverly-Shell Rock Community School District (Iowa) *Hill is currently superintendent of North Tama County Community School District
- Matt Jensen, Kalispell Public Schools (Montana)
- Paul Peppmeier, West Bend-Mallard CSD/Gilmore City-Bradgate Community School District (Iowa)
- John Ramirez Jr., Douglas County School District (Nevada)