Interim TPS chief takes office

Durant focuses on accountability, community involvement

8/2/2013
BY MIKE SIGOV
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Durant
Durant

Romules Durant told members of the media on his first day on the job as interim superintendent of Toledo Public Schools on Thursday that he will focus on accountability and community involvement.

Mr. Durant said his focus is on “bringing on board a robust accountability ... starting from the top and all the way down, starting from myself and all the way down to the building level,” with the goal to come up with a comprehensive instructional plan to achieve higher learning standards and produce college-ready graduates.

Key to achieving success is community involvement, he said, “just really collaborating, developing collective work through organizations throughout the community ... bringing agencies together to develop capacity to do this work.”

Mr. Durant spoke at the Thurgood Marshall Building, 420 E. Manhattan Blvd., the district headquarters, after the Toledo Board of Education welcomed him on the job as interim superintendent, replacing former Superintendent Jerome Pecko.

Mr. Durant did not take the floor during the school board meeting.

“You will have challenges,” Lisa Sobecki, a board member, told him. “You will have challenges from the board, you’ll have challenges from the cabinet, you’ll have challenges from the community. And there’s a lot of expectations of you from all around.”

Teamwork is what would help him overcome the challenges and meet those expectations, Ms. Sobecki said.

Mr. Durant’s annual salary is $140,000, according to Patty Mazur, a spokesman for the school district.

Mr. Durant’s contract expires July 31, 2014, at which time the board will either hire him permanently or hold a nationwide search for a new superintendent, she said.

Mr. Durant, 37, an East Toledo native and graduate of Waite High School and the University of Toledo, has been with TPS since 1999, serving as a teacher, assistant principal, and principal before moving to district administration.

He was most recently assistant superintendent.

The contract of his predecessor, Mr. Pecko, expired on Wednesday.

During the meeting, the board unanimously authorized the treasurer for the school district to hire a contractor to perform general trades work at Navarre Elementary School for $70,000 or less.

Also unanimously, the board appointed:

● Selma Irving, formerly substitute administrator, to assistant superintendent with a salary of $97,852, through July 31, 2014.

● Angela Hickman-Richburg, formerly assistant principal at Robinson Elementary School, to principal at Rosa Parks Elementary School with a salary of $65,170, through July 31, 2015.

● Eric Remley, formerly assistant principal at Whittier Elementary School, to principal at Whittier Elementary with a salary of $67,616, through July 31, 2015.

● Kelly Welch, formerly principal at Whitmer High School in Washington Local Schools, to principal/mentor and facilitator of human resources for the district, with the salary of $73,604, through July 31, 2015.

Contact Mike Sigov at: sigov@theblade.com, 419-724-6089, or on Twitter @mikesigovblade.