COVINGTON — One of the Newton County School System’s deputy superintendents is up for a lead superintendent position in Mississippi.
Dr. Dennis Carpenter, deputy superintendent for Operations at NCSS, is one of two finalists for the superintendent position at Jackson Public Schools in Jackson, Miss., according to the JPS website.
The JPS Board of Trustees announced the finalists Tuesday. The other finalist is Dr. Cedrick Gray, superintendent of schools for the Fayette County, Tenn., school system.
The two finalists were chosen from a pool of 71 applicants using a national search firm, Ray and Associates. William Newman, the national executive director, said Carpenter came highly recommended by NCSS Superintendent Gary Mathews and his background investigation was clear, allowing him to be suggested to the board in Jackson for interviews.
The school system is looking for “a strong communicator … committed to a ‘student first’ philosophy … and models high standards of integrity … (with) knowledge of emerging research and best practice … (and) able to delegate authority appropriately while maintaining accountability (and) is able to identify and select building and central office administrators who are capable of advancing the district vision,” according to the search flyer.
Carpenter and Gray are expected to be in Jackson on April 11 for additional interviews and two community events, including a meeting with the superintendent search community advisory committee and a forum with the general public, according to the JPS website.
The interim superintendent for JPS is Dr. Jayne Sargent, who came out of her retirement in July after working as superintendent in the system from 1997 to 2002. The board did not renew the contact of the previous superintendent, Lonnie Edwards, after three years, and the system set up a 26-member search committee in October.
JPS representatives did not announce a timeline to select a superintendent, but according to the search firm, the chosen candidate would begin July 1, 2012.
JPS has 30,000 students, compared to about 19,000 in NCSS. It’s made up of eight high schools, 12 middle schools, 39 elementary schools and two special schools.
Carpenter declined to comment Tuesday.
Carpenter was hired as associate superintendent for Human Resources at NCSS in February 2008 after working as assistant superintendent for Support Services for Appling County Schools and a fourth-grade teacher, assistant principal and principal before that. He was named deputy superintendent for Operations in July 2009, when Deborah Robertson retired as associate superintendent of business and administration; he oversees the directors of Operational Services, Human Resources and Support Services, as well as the business manager, maintenance coordinator and School Nutrition Program coordinator.
In October 2009, Carpenter completed the Georgia School Superintendents Association’s Superintendent Professional Development Program, a two-year course of study to prepare individuals for local superintendent positions.
In July 2010, the national Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development selected Carpenter as one of 30 educators in the nation for its 2010 class of Emerging Leaders. The program prepares young, ambitious educators to fulfill ASCD leadership roles and empower each cohort to make an impact on education policy and practice on a local and national level.
Carpenter is the husband of Dr. LaQuanda Carpenter, the principal at Alcovy High School.