Superintendent turnover: 2 important hires and a big departure

Oklahoma City Public Schools and the Washoe County School District install new leaders while Cincinnati Public Schools' superintendent steps down after no-confidence votes.

Three high-profile districts made changes in leadership during yet another busy week of K12 superintendent turnover.

Jamie C. Polk
Jamie C. Polk

Oklahoma City Public Schools has promoted Assistant Superintendent Jamie C. Polk as its new leader. Polk has focused on innovation, leadership development and partnerships with teachers and staff, the district said in its announcement.

“For example, 11 schools are no longer on the ‘F’ list, 12 schools are on track to exit state designation and we’ve increased the retention of skilled teachers despite teacher shortages in other districts,” the statement explained.

Joe Ernst
Joe Ernst

In another big promotion, the Washoe County School District has selected Joe Ernst, its chief continuous improvement officer, as its next superintendent. Ernst has worked for the Reno, Nevada-based district since 1996 as a co-lead area superintendent, principal, assistant principal and elementary school teacher. Ernst replaces Susan Enfield, who resigned in November.

Cincinnati Public Schools Superintendent Iranetta Wright, who took the helm in 2022, resigned earlier this week after she suffered a series of no-confidence votes by the Ohio district’s unions, the Cincinnati Enquirer reported. The unions accused the superintendent of creating a culture of fear and intimidation but Wright countered that she’d met consistently with union leaders and requested their input regarding district decisions, the Enquirer added.

Wright has also been an educator in the Detroit Public Schools Community District and Duval County Public Schools in Florida.

More new superintendents

Tony Cook, former superintendent of the Houston and Amory school districts, has been appointed as the new superintendent of the New Albany School District in Mississippi. In his previous roles, Cook raised the Houston School District’s rating from a C to a B rating and moved Amory School District up from a B to an A during his first year as superintendent there. Both ratings were the highest in the districts’ histories.

Dallas LeDuff
Dallas LeDuff

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The Central DeWitt Community School District in Iowa picked Stephanie Mishler as its next superintendent and chief educational officer. Mishler is currently interim superintendent of the Fairfield Community School District. Dallas LeDuff, currently associate superintendent of Oconee County Schools, has been chosen as the next superintendent of the Barrow County School System in Georgia.

In Arkansas, the Sheridan School District has promoted Assistant Superintendent Chad Pitts as its next leader. And in New York, Mara Ratesic will take the helm of the Irvington Union Free School District after serving as assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction of the Bronxville School.

Additional hires:

Superintendent turnover: Departures

The following superintendents recently announced plans to step down:

  • Kadee Anstadt is resigning from the Washington Local School District (Ohio)
  • Bill DeFrance is retiring after leading Eaton Rapids Public Schools (Michigan) for 20 years
  • Shane Hotchkiss is retiring after more than a decade as Bermudian Springs School District superintendent (Pennsylvania)
  • Serbrenia Sims is retiring from Surry County Public Schools (Virginia)
Matt Zalaznick
Matt Zalaznick
Matt Zalaznick is the managing editor of District Administration and a life-long journalist. Prior to writing for District Administration he worked in daily news all over the country, from the NYC suburbs to the Rocky Mountains, Silicon Valley and the U.S. Virgin Islands. He's also in a band.

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