Movers and Shakers: Leaders oversee improvements in graduation rates, test scores

District superintendents in Georgia, Illinois, New York and Tennessee recognized for success
By: | Issue: November/December, 2019
November 6, 2019
Superintendents in Georgia (Jason Branch, pictured, top right), Illinois (Habeeb Quadri, bottom right), New York (Eudes S. Budhai, left) and Tennessee (Monique Felder, center right) are recognized for success in their districts.Superintendents in Georgia (Jason Branch, pictured, top right), Illinois (Habeeb Quadri, bottom right), New York (Eudes S. Budhai, left) and Tennessee (Monique Felder, center right) are recognized for success in their districts.

Superintendent Jason Branch’s Oconee County Schools has regularly been ranked as Georgia’s top county system and best district for financial efficiency. Oconee County has a 97.7% graduation rate and a 90% employee retention rate, and many schools have achieved the state’s highest school climate rating. Branch is a recent recipient of the Georgia School Superintendents Association’s Bill Barr Leadership Award.


Monique Felder, formerly chief academic officer of Metro Nashville Public Schools in Tennessee, now heads Orange County Schools in North Carolina. During her three years at Metro Nashville, Felder saw graduation rates improve among minority students. Under her watch, the district also introduced a comprehensive literacy plan, improved ACT scores and increased industry certifications for students.


Read: Movers and Shakers: Leaders form partnerships, give back to the community


Superintendent Habeeb Quadri of the Muslim Community Center Academy in Illinois has balanced the private elementary school’s budget, paid off its debts, and established an endowment for a new building. Test scores have also risen from 72% to 88%, and Quadri is one of five private school leaders to be named a National Distinguished Principal by the National Association of Elementary School Principals.


Superintendent of Schools Eudes S. Budhai has overseen graduation rates increase from 81% to 84% since he started leading Westbury Union Free School District in 2017. Every school in the New York district has received the “good standing” designation, and the district’s high school was recognized as one of 12 in the state to graduate the most students of color. During his first year, Budhai passed a $58.4 million bond referendum for a state-of-the-art expansion of the middle and high schools.