Education

Durham schools announce new superintendent

Posted October 16, 2017 4:41 p.m. EDT
Updated October 16, 2017 10:29 p.m. EDT

— The Durham County Board of Education announced its next superintendent at a meeting Monday evening.

Dr. Pascal Mubenga, who currently serves as the superintendent of Franklin County Schools, was unanimously voted as the superintendent shortly after the start of Monday's school board meeting.

"I'm excited for the years ahead of us and the challenge to make this school system one of the best in the state," he said.

Mubenga has worked in public education for more than 20 years and has previously worked as a district transformation coach, school transformation team lead and school transformation coach with the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction. Prior to that, he served as the principal of Jones Senior High School in Jones County, an assistant principal in Franklin County and math teacher in Johnston County.

Early in his career, he served as a math teacher at Chewning Middle School in Durham for three years.

"I know the challenges of Durham Public Schools as well as the opportunity we have here," Mubenga said.

When Mubenga arrived in Franklin County, he said there were seven low-performing schools, which he cut down to just one in three years. Recently, two troubled schools in Durham were nearly taken over by state leaders, but protests by educators and parents reversed the decision.

School board chairman Mike Lee is hoping Mubenga will work his magic in Durham.

"Right now, we are about 85 percent black and brown. He's raised up black and brown scores," Lee said.

Mubenga said students in Durham are looking outside the district for education, to places like charter schools.

"They are pulling the best students out of the district, so my job is to work with our board to bring everybody back," he said.

Mubenga has a Ph.D. from Capella University and holds a Master's Degree in secondary Education from Liberty University and a Bachelor of Science in mathematics from Shaw University.

More than 40 people applied to be the next Durham Public Schools superintendent, but that number was reduced to 10 candidates who were interviewed this summer by the Board of Education.

Previous superintendent Bert L’Homme retired, effective Oct. 1. The district has been under the leadership of an interim superintendent for the past two weeks.

Mubenga is expected to take over as superintendent after Thanksgiving.