Tuesday, April 3--Superintendent Bert L'Homme tonight announced his plan to retire from Durham Public Schools effective August 4, 2017. He writes:
We have made good progress in the last three years, and I had hoped to continue that work and complete my contract in 2020. But the landscape of public education in our state and nation is shifting dramatically. In January, I realized that I likely will not have the physical or mental energy to respond to those challenges, while at the same time dramatically accelerating our academic growth, for the duration of my contract.
I have asked the Durham Public Schools Board of Education to give me enough time for our board and staff to adopt a 2017-18 school budget without disruption, open our year-round and traditional schools, and establish a transition plan for an interim superintendent and search plan for DPS’s next leader.
The next superintendent will find that our team has laid a strong foundation for achieving greater success. We have strong principal leadership, committed teachers and staff, fiscal integrity and transparency, stability in the district office, and academic growth. Our board, staff and community have come together to foster greater equity among our students and schools, especially as demonstrated by the Code of Student Conduct Task Force’s work and all that has followed.
It is hard to retire when the job’s not yet done. But in a progressive community such as Durham that stands for every child without exception, I have no doubt that the next superintendent will build on those accomplishments and move DPS into a great future.
Updated with statement from board chair Mike Lee:
We are grateful to Superintendent Bert L’Homme for his leadership of Durham Public Schools. While we are sorry he has chosen to retire, we are glad that he will be with us long enough to ensure a smooth transition.
Dr. L’Homme has been a listener and an action oriented Superintendent. He has made much needed steps to improve equity in our district, and he has been relentless in pursuing greater academic achievement for all students. He has always put students first and there wasn’t an exception here at DPS. His hard work for our schools and his dedication to our Durham community have been evident.
Our board now has the difficult task of choosing a superintendent who will continue our schools’ march toward greatness. We will take the time to conduct a deliberate, thoughtful search with many opportunities for Durham citizens to provide input on the needs of the district. Our board will soon begin the conversation about how we will proceed with the superintendent search.
Durham has strong schools, outstanding teachers and staff, and a diverse and progressive community that champions public education. We look forward to bringing to Durham a new superintendent who will also be that champion for our students.