Mayor Muriel Bowser has selected Indianapolis Public Schools Superintendent Lewis D. Ferebee to be the new District of Columbia Public Schools chancellor. Ferebee has been serving as Indianapolis superintendent since September of 2013.
As Indianapolis schools head, Ferebee’s accomplishments include introducing new funding, accountability and school models — with the mayor’s and city council’s help — that reduced the number of low-performing schools. Enrolling 32,000 students at more than 60 campuses, the Indianapolis public school system employs more 4,500 educators and staff and has a budget of over $500 million.
Before Indianapolis, Ferebee was chief of staff for public schools in Durham, North Carolina. He began his educational career as an elementary school teacher in Newport News, Virginia, then moving to assistant principal, elementary and middle school principal and regional superintendent. Ferebee holds a doctorate from East Carolina University, a master of arts from George Washington University and a bachelor of arts from North Carolina Central University.
“Dr. Ferebee is someone with experience leading at all levels of public education — from serving in the classroom and as an elementary and middle school principal to leading a system that serves more than 30,000 students,” said Bowser. “He is a strong leader and educator, and has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to providing all students and families high-quality educational opportunities … Dr. Ferebee’s experiences and achievements align with the feedback we received throughout the engagement process, and I look forward to the community working with him to build on the progress we’ve made at DCPS.”
The Washington Teachers’ Union issued a statement upon the naming of Ferebee as schools chancellor.
In part, it reads: “Our students need a chancellor who will put our schools on the right footing, implement reforms with a strong track record for improving teaching and learning in all schools, and work with educators as partners in the effort to provide our children in every D.C. community with a high-quality education. The WTU will continue to press for an effective teacher induction program to reduce teacher turnover; an educator evaluation system that considers various indicators beyond test scores to determine school, student and teacher success; and a plan that provides targeted assistance for improvement.
“We have endured too many bumps along the path to creating a great school system that works for every student and educator. It is time for school district leadership that is serious about making DCPS a school system that is the envy of the nation and one that all our students deserve.”
As DCPS Chancellor, Ferebee gets a base salary of $280,000. He must be confirmed by the District Council. He is expected to begin work on Jan. 31, taking over from Interim Chancellor Amanda Alexander, who replaced the embattled Antwan Wilson.