Hillsborough and Providence Name New Leaders, Longtime Long Beach Superintendent to Retire
Addison Davis will be the new superintendent of Florida’s Hillsborough County Public Schools in Tampa, the nation’s eighth largest district with more than 200,000 students. He has served as the superintendent of Florida’s Clay County School District since 2016.
Under Davis’ leadership, the district’s graduation rate improved and the number of schools receiving an A and B rating increased from 63 percent to 92 percent. In addition, for the first time in district history African American students graduated at a higher rate than the district average.
Before serving as superintendent, Davis was chief of schools for Florida’s Duval County Public Schools in Jacksonville.
Current Hillsborough superintendent Jeff Eakins will retire in June after five years in the post. His tenure was notable for winning community support for a half-cent sales tax to fix school air conditioners and other capital needs, for improved graduation rates and for an early childhood education initiative.
New Leader in Providence
Veteran educator Harrison Peters was recently named the State Turnaround Superintendent for Rhode’s Island’s Providence Public School District. He will succeed interim superintendent Frances Gallo.
Peters was appointed to the position by Rhode Island’s education commissioner Angélica Infante-Green, who took over the city schools last year in the wake of a Johns Hopkins University report detailing the district’s struggles with discipline, teacher absenteeism and low expectations for students. The Council of the Great City Schools also conducted a major review of the district’s efforts on behalf of English language learners.
Peters is the Deputy Superintendent-Chief of Schools for Tampa’s Hillsborough County Public Schools, where he was responsible for the day-to-day operations of the district’s 250 schools. He has also held senior level positions in the Chicago Public Schools, the Houston Independent School District and North Carolina’s Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools.
“I understand what it’s like to be both a student and an educator in a struggling school system,” said Peters at a press conference announcing his selection. “…We have an incredible opportunity before us, and I do not intend to squander it. I will work diligently alongside Providence students, families, educators, and community leaders to transform this school district. I’m excited to get to work.”
Longtime Leader in Long Beach to Retire
Chris Steinhauser, superintendent of the Long Beach Unified School District for 18 years and the longest serving urban schools chief in the nation, recently announced he will retire in July.
Under his leadership, the 72,000-student school district, the state’s third largest, earned a national reputation for improving student performance and closing the achievement gap. In 2003, the district won the $500,000 Broad Prize for Urban Education as the top improving big-city school district in the country. The Long Beach Unified School District was also named one of the top twenty school systems in the world in a report released in 2010 by business firm McKinsey & Company.
Long Beach school board president Felton Williams lauded Steinhauser for his efforts to improve achievement for students of color and noted that more minority students are taking Advanced Placement classes and graduating from the school district.
“He’s one [heck of a] superintendent,” Williams said in an interview with the Long Beach Post News. “The main person he cares about is each and every kid. No matter what color or creed, he cares about them.”
Steinhauser is a graduate of the Long Beach school system and returned to the district after college as a fifth-grade teacher. Former Long Beach superintendent Carl Cohn recalled how Steinhauser transferred his own children to Signal Hill, a poorer performing school, when he became principal there.
“He was sending a message that all schools needed to be performing at a high level,” Cohn told the Long Beach Press Telegram.
In 1999, Steinhauser was named deputy superintendent and was selected to take the reins of the school district in 2002.
Steinhauser’s wife Alida is a retired Long Beach teacher, and both their children graduated from Long Beach schools. His son Edward is an assistant principal and his daughter Patricia is a teacher in the district.
“I know the future of Long Beach Unified is bright and I look forward to what the journey holds for all of us,” Steinhauser said in a video message. “Take care and thank you.”
Cavazos wins contract renewal
Texas’ Arlington Independent School District recently approved a five-year renewal contract for Marcelo Cavazos, who has led the 62,000-student school system since 2012.
Kecia Mays, school board president, described Cavazos as “a strong and impactful leader.”
During his tenure, “our district has experienced exponential growth in student opportunities that includes two transformational bond packages exceeding $1.6 billion, an increase in our state accountability rating, revolutionary new specialized programs and so much more,” Mays said in a news release.
Cavazos, who was named 2016 Superintendent of the Year by the Texas School Boards Association, said he was honored to continue in the post.
“Arlington ISD is a district that I’m proud to serve because our students, teachers and staff share a passion for educational excellence. We share one common goal – that 100% of our students graduate exceptionally prepared for college, career and citizenship. I’m honored to be a part of this team,” said Cavazos in a press statement.