By Natalie Fultz
COLUMBUS, GA - After a record sixteen month search, it's official. Muscogee County has a new school superintendent. David Lewis was formally introduced at a noon press conference after an official vote. The former band director worked his way up the ranks in Barrow County, Fla., before landing the Chattahoochee Valley's top position.
With a standing ovation and a crowd full of applause a new era for Muscogee County School District begins today.
David Lewis of Polk County, Fla., will be leading the pack as the newest superintendent.
"Someone has already asked the question, 'What is my goal?' and 'How long do I plan to be here?' I'm in it for the long haul," Lewis says.
Lewis isn't new to the superintendent application process. He previously applied to the Polk County position, but lost. He plans to implement a 120-day plan for Muscogee County.
"I have ideas, but again I don't want to over lay my perceptions from my past experience on the issues of Muscogee. Every school and every school district has it's own what I like to call 'DNA,' and it is important for us to asses those and then make informed decisions," Lewis says.
The new job for Lewis comes with a base salary of $170,000, but along with the perks, Lewis is prepared for criticism.
"I've certainly dealt with that before. That's not a problem, but again a lot of time I think it's a matter of having communication both ways. Hearing what their concerns are, but clearly making sure they understand the districts issues and the realities the district faces," Lewis says.
In the past the Muscogee County School Board has been divided on issues. The nine members did agree this time as they voted unanimously for Lewis, but they did take some time to address the gap.
"You've got men. You've got women. You've got black. You've got white. Does every husband get along with their wife every night? It's just that way. Men and women. So you know you've got just different ways people look at things," Mark Cantrell says.
"It's difficult. It could be hard, but being focused on our goal and our mission which is to provide the best education for all children in Muscogee County makes it easy to work together," Patricia Hugley Green says.
Interim superintendent Dr. John Phillips received a standing ovation at Tuesday's meeting. He will serve alongside Lewis through the month of August during the transition period.
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