Becoats named as Durham superintendent

Posted April 28, 2010

— The Durham County Board of Education appointed Guilford County Chief Administrative Officer Eric Becoats as its new superintendent Wednesday.

Durham names Becoats as superintendent Durham names Becoats as superintendent

Becoats has worked for Guilford County Schools since 2005. He also worked as a school administrator and planner for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools and Baltimore City Public Schools.

"I’m excited. I think Durham is a great community. I think there is great promise, and I’m looking forward to working with the principals, the teachers. I’m ready to come in. I’m ready to listen. I’m also ready to learn, and I’m ready to lead,” Becoats said.

In a 6-1 vote, board members approved Becoats for the post. Member Kirsten Kainz voted against Becoats. WRAL News couldn't reach her for comment Wednesday evening.

Becoats' appointment comes as Durham Schools face a potential loss of about $20 million in local and state funding for the 2010-11 school year.

Becoats said the school system will need to look at its programs and reevaluate how funds are spent.  Tough challenges that Becoats said he is ready to tackle.

"I want to make a difference," he said. "My passion is to work with children and to make an improvement for the students that are here in Durham County."

Becoats earned his bachelor’s degree in business and accounting from Lincoln University in Pennsylvania. He earned a master’s degree in financial planning from Johns Hopkins University in Maryland and an educational leadership doctorate from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

Effective July 1, Becoats will replace Carl Harris, who left in December to start a new job as the deputy assistant secretary of education for policy and strategic initiatives with the U.S. Department of Education.

Harris had served as Durham's superintendent since July 1, 2006.


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  • jervin6 Apr 29, 2010

    With 15 schools in DPS system under review for poor performance. More than 50% of these students are not reading on grade level. How is it that Harris gets a promotion to the national level? If DPS is a good example of how things should be done I would hate to see the rest of the country's reading level. No wonder our country is falling beind. I hope Becoats is ready for a challenge. I'm not sure what the expectation is, but given the ongoing budget cuts it is very hard to do more with less.

  • anneonymousone Apr 29, 2010

    We also need to find ways to encourage the academic middle; students who are doing pretty well, who may never fail a class or be in the honor society, and whose need for recognition is just as valid.

    We need to find ways to support good teachers who want to become better without signing us up for every cutesy-sounding acronym-bearing program that begins with the assumption that everything we are doing is wrong.

    We need to find ways to have school nurses available to see children more than one or two days a week in schools with several hundred students, many of whom are without health care.

    We need access to more books and fewer middle managers.

  • anneonymousone Apr 29, 2010

    My best to Dr. Becoats. It is my hope that he can find a way to encourage schools with poor records to improve without setting lockstep programs in place that hamper schools that are already succeeding. Maybe we can redefine student achievement beyond test results and teacher success beyond their students' test results.

    Maybe we could remember that elementary students have (or have not) been prepared for school by their families, that middle school students have (or have not) been prepared by their families and their elementary schools, and that high school students have (or have not) been prepared by their families, their elementary schools, and their middle schools. A high school junior of typical intelligence and experience who reads at a fourth grade level has not necessarily been failed by his or her current teachers. I understand not wanting 16-year-olds in classes with 11-year-olds, but there have to be alternatives to social promotion---for everyone's sake.

  • Boogalooboy Apr 28, 2010

    haven't found it in writing, but I think Guilford and Durham are equally low performing sooooooo