By Micha Green, AFRO Washington, D.C. Editor, [email protected]

After nine months of Dr. Amanda Alexander serving as the Interim Chancellor of the District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS), Mayor Muriel Bowser announced Indianapolis Superintendent Dr. Lewis D. Ferebee as her choice to permanently fill the position.

A teacher and a son of educators, Ferebee has led Indianapolis schools since 2013, and at the Mayor’s appointment, is now prepping to take the helm in the nation’s capital.

District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser named Dr. Lewis D. Ferebee as chancellor for District of Columbia Public Schools. (Courtesy Photo)

“Dr. Ferebee is a strong educator and leader with a wide breadth of experience as a teacher, an administrator and a superintendent,” Bowser wrote in a statement.

Because of his wealth of experience in education, Bowser said Ferebee has the tools to lead a school system in a diverse and growing city like the District.

“He understands the complexities of leading a large urban school district in a growing city,
the mayor wrote.  “He knows there’s no-one-size-fits-all solution to meeting the needs of our young people. And he has experience building partnerships that ensure more students have a path toward success.

Despite the mayor’s confidence in Ferebee, District of Columbia Council member David Grosso (I-At –large), who serves as chair for the Committee on Education, expressed reticence in naming the Indianapolis superintendent, without thorough vetting.

“In Mr. Ferebee, the mayor has chosen to nominate an individual from outside the District of Columbia. The vetting of such a candidate should not be taken lightly or hastily,” Grosso wrote in a statement.

Prior to even acknowledging Ferebee’s appointment by the Mayor, Grosso, in his statement, emphasized the interim chancellor’s career commitment to DCPS.

“After the resignation of the last chancellor, and as she has done throughout her entire career with DCPS, she answered the call to service for our students. Dr. Alexander has a storied career at DCPS, first as an elementary teacher, then principal, instructional superintendent, chief of elementary schools, and now interim chancellor. This dedication to our schools deserves our highest appreciation. I want to express my profound gratitude for her dedication and service,” Grosso said about Alexander.

With Ferebee’s career roots elsewhere and without an in-depth vetting process by the Committee on Education and Council, Grosso is delaying the Indianapolis superintendent’s confirmation hearing at the Wilson building until the 2019.

“Due to the late nature of this nomination in the legislative process, the Committee on Education will not schedule public engagement sessions this month and has no plans to move it through the Council before the end of this Council Period,” wrote Grosso.

Before the hearing, the Committee on Education chair said there will be two public engagement sessions- one in Ward 1 and another in Ward 7.

Even with Grosso’s push for due process, the mayor controls the school system and is already welcoming Ferebee to the team, per her statement.  In addition, Bowser, who was just elected for a new term, is also touting the benefits of mayoral controlled school system.

“One of the major benefits of a system of mayoral control with council oversight is that we are better positioned to use every resource available to support our students. By working across agencies, we can set high expectations in the classroom while also ensuring that when our students and families need support outside of the classroom, we are acting quickly as a District to provide it,” she wrote.

As Ferebee awaits confirmation, Grosso recommended he spend time in the community among the people he will likely be serving.

“I encourage Mr. Ferebee to seize this time as an opportunity to meet with DCPS students, family, teachers and staff in preparation for his confirmation process.”