Greenwood County School District 50 announced on Tuesday four candidates, two of them currently working in Lakelands school districts, to succeed outgoing Superintendent Darrell Johnson.
Johnson announced his retirement in December, and the board wants to hire a successor by June 30, his last day with the district.
The candidates are: Cynthia Ambrose, deputy superintendent of learning services at Charleston County School District; Julie Fowler, chief administrative officer of Abbeville County School District; Steve Glenn, assistant superintendent at Ninety Six School District; and Eric Thomas, chief turnaround officer at the Georgia State Board of Education.
“Their background, their skill sets, are aligning with what we set out in the initial job description,” said David Trent, District 50 board chairman. “And also in feedback that we’ve received from the community.”
He added the local ties of two candidates, Fowler and Glenn, had little bearing on their selection by the District 50 trustees.
Meetings to introduce the candidates to Greenwood residents could start as early as next week.
Cynthia AmbroseAmbrose has been the deputy superintendent for learning services at Charleston County School District since July 2017.
“My educational philosophy is built upon the moral imperative to ensure that all students have equitable opportunities to reach their fullest potential,” Ambrose wrote in her cover letter. “I know there are many students just like me for whom educators and Boards of Education are their best chance to break the cycle of poverty.”
Ambrose received her bachelor’s degree and two master’s degrees, one in educational administration, from the University of South Carolina.
Julie FowlerFowler has been the chief administrative officer of Abbeville County School District since 2018.
In her cover letter, she cited the “stellar academic achievement in districts where I have served” and her “love for Greenwood County as a former resident, teacher and parent.”
“Based on my preliminary research of Greenwood School District 50, I have identified leadership practices, student achievement, support systems, and culture as key areas in need of immediate attention,” she wrote. “I will bring a network of colleagues and resources from within the state and across the nation to support me in the implementation of my vision for the district.”
Before joining Abbeville County School District, Fowler was the deputy state superintendent for college- and career-readiness in South Carolina, assistant superintendent at Greenwood County School District 51.
Fowler earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Winthrop University and her doctorate at Clemson University.
Steve GlennGlenn has been the assistant superintendent of curriculum, instruction and human resources in District 52 since July 2018. Previously, he was the principal of District 50’s Westview Middle School where, according to his resume, the “Met” percentage on state test scores went from the worst in the district to the best in one year.
He has also served as the director of the G. Frank Russell Technology Center and the principal of Abbeville High School.
Glenn received his bachelor’s degree in physical education from Mars Hill College in North Carolina and his master’s and Doctor of Education degrees from Clemson University.
Eric Thomas Thomas has served the 14-member Georgia State Board of Education as the state’s chief turnaround officer since 2017. In that role, he oversaw the improvement of the state’s worst schools.
Before that, he was the chief support officer at the University of Virginia’s Partnership for Leaders in Education program, which partnered with 20 struggling rural, urban and suburban school districts each year to help them devise an improvement plan. According to his resume, the program “increased overall reading and math scores by at least 10% over two years in 58% of partner schools.”
Before that, he had spent 18 years in Ohio’s public school system, where he began as a social studies teacher and left as the chief innovation officer of the school district in Cincinnati.
He earned his bachelor’s and Master of Education from the University of Cincinnati and his doctorate in educational leadership from Concordia University of Chicago.