APS announces Spelman graduate as finalist for Superintendent

DR. Lisa Herring
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Dr. Lisa Herring


The Atlanta Board of Education has announced Lisa Herring, Ed.D. as finalist for the position of Superintendent of Atlanta Public Schools (APS).

In October, the Board launched a nationwide search with an extensive community engagement period, interviewing a diverse group of candidates before advancing Herring as the finalist. A Georgia native and Spelman College graduate, Herring brings more than 25 years of progress and achievement in urban public-school systems across the Southeast. She has a proven track record of success in school turnaround and academic achievement along with building strong partnerships across the entire community.

“Over the last six months, the APS community played a significant role in crafting the leadership profile the Board used to identify potential candidates,” said Board Chairman Jason Esteves. “We believe with her passion for serving students paired with her focus on equity and achievement for all, Dr. Herring is the best leader to take APS to a new level and close the achievement gap for so many of our students.

For the past three years, Herring served as Superintendent for Birmingham, AL City Schools, stewarding the system to full district accreditation after being put on probation prior to Herring’s arrival. Under her leadership, the system made significant strides moving its state-issued report card grade from an underperforming F to a passing grade of C. By focusing on “children first” and researched-based interventions, the district also decreased the number of F-rated schools from 22 to six and 67% of all schools improved on their individual state report card with 13 schools moving up a letter grade or more.

Herring built strong civic and corporate partnerships to provide innovative and equitable opportunities for all students across the diverse Birmingham community. In collaboration with Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin and United Way of Central Alabama CEO Drew Langloh, she helped develop and launch The Birmingham Promise to offer last dollar scholarships and new career and college opportunities for any graduate of Birmingham City Schools. In partnership with Apple, Alabama Power, Tech Birmingham and city leadership she helped with the design and implementation of ED FARM, a first of its kind program to build technology skills in students, teachers and community members.

Herring holds a Doctorate in Education Administration from Georgia Southern University and an Educational Leadership Certificate from the University of Georgia. With an Educational Specialist and Master of Education in School Counseling from the University of South Carolina, Dr. Herring is uniquely qualified to lead the district during the COVID-19 pandemic which has been a traumatic experience for so many students and their families.

Originally from Macon, Herring earned her undergraduate degree from Spelman College and completed her observational field work at Atlanta Public Schools’ Therrell High School. During her time at Spelman, Herring also volunteered and worked at Warren Memorial Boys and Girls Club of Atlanta. She is a 2008 graduate of Leadership Georgia and spent several years as a school counselor and assistant director of student support services in DeKalb County with a similar role in Bibb County. More recent education leadership roles include Deputy Superintendent of Academics of Charleston County, SC School District and Chief Academic Officer of Jefferson County, KY Public Schools.

“My calling is truly to serve all people regardless of their background or influence and it would be an honor to serve the people of Atlanta,” said Herring, “I am a trained counselor who knows to listen and learn in order to better serve the community, so I look forward to hearing your questions and concerns as we seek unique ways to engage together during this time of social distancing.”

In compliance with Georgia law, the Board must wait a minimum of 14 days between announcing a final candidate for the position of Superintendent and making the appointment official. Given the current social distancing restrictions in place, the Board may extend that period to ensure Atlanta Public School stakeholders have a chance to learn more about Dr. Herring. This will be accomplished through a series of virtual meetings, virtual question and answer sessions and local media opportunities.

Questions and concerns may be submitted through the following channels:

Atlanta Board of Education|130 Trinity Avenue SE| Atlanta, Georgia 30303

Let’s Talk https://www.atlantapublicschools.us/domain/14240 (Select Superintendent Search)

Throughout the waiting period, updates will be shared on the Board’s Superintendent Search page, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.  The Board asks for the community’s help in sharing this information with friends and neighbors during this unprecedented time.

About Atlanta Public Schools

Atlanta Public Schools is one of the largest school districts in the state of Georgia, serving approximately 52,000 students across 87 schools. The District is organized into nine K-12 clusters with 58 traditional schools, 18 charter schools, six partner schools, two citywide single-gender academies and three alternative programs.– or visit us online at www.atlantapublicschools.us.

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