Decatur School Board approves new superintendent

City Schools of Decatur’s (CSD) Board of Education approved the nomination of Gyimah Whitaker as the school district’s next superintendent during a special called meeting on April 11, a district spokesperson confirmed.

Whitaker’s role as CSD’s superintendent will officially begin July 1, according to her contact – which was also approved during the meeting. The contract is slated to end June 30, 2026.

The new superintendent will have a base salary of $235,000 annually with an additional $700 a month to assist with expenses, according to the contract.

Whitaker’s application package states that she has worked in education for more than 20 years with much of her experience coming from posts in Atlanta Public Schools and Fulton County School District. CSD’s new superintendent held positions ranging from fourth-grade teacher to Fulton County Schools’ deputy chief academic officer more recently.

As deputy chief academic officer, she supervised the assistant superintendents of student support services and learning and teaching and oversaw a budget of $48 million in general funds, $61 million in federal funds, and $47 million Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funds.

During her time with Fulton County Schools, Whitaker was awarded the Pinnacle Leadership Award in 2022 by the Fortitude Educational and Cultural Development Center and the Best Practice Award at the District Level in 2023 by the Student Support Team Association of Georgia Educators.

“My experience and results-oriented background make me an excellent candidate for the role of the School Superintendent,” Whitaker stated in her application.

Whitaker has also held positions such as local advisory member of Teach for America, president of the Georgia Association for Gifted Children, and was a member of the National Association for Gifted Children.

“Dr. Whitaker has a long track record of being a results-oriented educational leader with the proven ability to create sustainable outcomes by leading through impact and influence,” said CSD School Board Chair James Herndon. “We are thrilled to have her helming CSD, particularly at the start of ‘All In Decatur,’ the district’s new five-year strategic plan.”

A news release from CSD states that “Whitaker brings deep experience in development and oversight of innovative instructional programs, diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives, community engagement and communications, and system-wide budgets. The trajectory of her career has always been focused on improving access to excellent education experiences and being a change agent for academic systems.”

“I am humbled and delighted to serve as the next Superintendent of the City Schools of Decatur,” said Whitaker. “I was drawn to this district because it is truly a gem. It is a rare and special find.”

Whitaker will take over the position vacated by Maggie Fehrman, who has been the school district’s superintendent since 2021. Fehrman released a statement saying she withdrew her name from the candidate pool “to pursue other opportunities.”

Fehrman became interim superintendent and a candidate for the superintendent role after David Dude resigned from the position in April 2021 pending an investigation into his vacation days.

She was in charge when CSD announced the All In Decatur five-year-plan, which board members stated that Whitaker will continue working on.

“This community-inspired, student-centered, and equity-focused strategic plan was adopted and approved by the CSD Board of Education and progress is already underway,” stated officials.

City Schools of Decatur is made up of 10 schools and one virtual academy. Current enrollment is approximately 5,700 students.

The Champion reporter Christine Fonville contributed to this article.


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