New superintendents—including two first-timers—are set to take the reins in three big districts as U.S. public schools continue to experience an extraordinary level of turnover at the top.
The largest of the districts, Baltimore County Public Schools, chose Myriam Yarbrough on Tuesday as its next superintendent. Yarbrough, who is now the district’s deputy superintendent, began her education career as a chemistry teacher in Baltimore County in 1996.
As deputy superintendent, Yarbrough oversees the implementation of the strategies and initiatives identified in the district’s strategic plan, The Compass. She has also served as the district’s chief of organizational effectiveness, executive director for secondary schools in the West Zone, and director of school performance. She was also the principal of Francis Scott Key Middle School and Paint Branch High School in Montgomery County Public Schools, also in Maryland.
“My educational career began at Woodlawn High School in Baltimore County more than 26 years ago and now, as deputy superintendent, it has been my mission to listen and to learn from our students, staff, and stakeholders that are the foundation of this school system, and to lead and empower teams to remove barriers to student success,” Yarbrough said in a statement.
Also on Tuesday, interim superintendent Angela Chapman was been promoted to permanent superintendent and CEO of Ohio’s largest school district, Columbus City Schools. Chapman will replace Talisa Dixon, who is retiring at the end of the school year.
Chapman joined Columbus City Schools in June 2019 as the chief of transformation and leadership, the member of the superintendent’s cabinet in charge of principal leadership and development, and the regional support of school communities. Among her priorities were school improvement, the administration of grant funds to support effective teaching and learning, and helping to establish a new six-region district model.
She had previously spent five years as an instructional superintendent and interim chief of elementary at the District of Columbia Public Schools. Before that served as the director of curriculum for Massillon City Schools in Ohio and as a principal in Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools and in the Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District, where she began her education career as an elementary school teacher.
“Dr. Chapman exhibits the character and determination needed to uplift the great work of Columbus City Schools while addressing the challenges of the state’s largest school district and ensuring the best academic and personal outcomes for our students,” Christina Vera, vice president of the board of education and co-leader of the search process, said in a statement.
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Ian Roberts, the current leader of a Pennsylvania district who competed in track and field in the 2000 Olympics, has been named superintendent of Des Moines Public Schools, the largest district in Iowa. Roberts, a lifelong educator, is now the superintendent of Millcreek Township School District in northwest Pennsylvania.
Roberts, who will become Des Moines’ first leader of color, has served as a chief schools officer, superintendent of secondary schools, principal, and senior vice president of a charter management organization. He has led schools in large and mid-sized cities, including Washington D.C., Baltimore and St. Louis. “Dr. Roberts’ focus on creating equitable experiences for students to thrive, paired with his commitment to continuous improvement, creates an exciting opportunity for our students, staff and community,” Des Moines Public Schools Board Chair Teree Caldwell-Johnson said in a statement.
Roberts replaces longtime Des Moines superintendent Thomas Ahart, who resigned at the end of the 2021-22 school year and was among six finalists for the superintendent’s post in Columbus City Schools.