UPDATE: FCPS Board of Education announces superintendent candidates

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (UPDATE) (WTVQ) – On Monday the Fayette County Public School Board introduced five candidates in the running to become the next Superintendent.

“We want the community to continue to be active and engaged in the search process” said Education Board Chair, Tyler Murphy.

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The candidates are Christopher Bernier, current Chief of Staff for the Clark County School District in Las Vega, Melvin J. Brown who has served as Superintendent for Reynoldsburg City Schools in Columbus, Ohio since 2017.

Angela Dominguez, currently the Assistant Superintendent of Academic Services at Edgewood Independent School District in San Antonio, Texas, Tawana Grover, who has been the Superintendent of Grand Island Public Schools in Grand Island, Nebraska since 2016.

And Demetrius Liggins, currently Superintendent of Schools in Greenville Independent School District outside of Dallas Texas, since 2016.

But, before the announcement Monday…the Lexington NAACP chapter expressed concerns with the way the search is happening.

“We were a part of the search in 2015 and at that time it was more transparent and more interactions with those candidates” said Education Chair for NAACP, Shambra Mulder.

Mulder says the next superintendent needs to be able to address racial disparities in student achievement, student discipline practices, and teacher hiring.

The group’s biggest concern is not being able to meet with the candidates in person…but Monday’s announcement included the addition of an in person meet and greet with the candidates on June 2nd.
And, interactive virtual public forums will happen Wednesday and Thursday.

Mulder says she is happy with the diverse group and looks forward to learning more about them.

“I do appreciate the effort to at least do something in person so our next step is to make sure the community is engaged.”

More information on the candidates and information on the public forums can be found below.

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (ORIGINAL STORY) (WTVQ) – During the Fayette County Board of Education’s meeting Monday, May 24, five candidates were announced to be in consideration to be Fayette County Public Schools’ (FCPS) new superintendent.

The candidates include Dr. Christopher S. Bernier, Dr. Melvin J. Brown, Ms. Angela Dominguez, Dr. Tawana Grover and Dr. Demetrus Liggins.

“We are pleased with the screening committee’s diverse perspectives and the insights of our executive search firm, Greenwood/Asher & Associates. Working together, they have found quality candidates whose leadership experience and skills align well with the superintendent position profile, which was developed with community input,” said Board Chair Tyler Murphy. “We’re excited about the possibilities that each candidate could bring to FCPS and can’t wait to introduce their incredible talents to our community and hear from all our stakeholders.”

There are multiple opportunities for the public to get to know each of the candidates.

Each candidate will participate virtually in one-hour live public forums. All are invited to view the virtual public forums via live stream or attend a live session in Norsworthy Auditorium at the former district office, located at 701 East Main Street. Members of the community can submit questions during the forums or in advance to this link by noon on Tuesday, May 25th. After the forums, all are invited to send feedback to the board here. Submit feedback by Friday, May 28th to help inform the board’s next steps in the search.

Wednesday, May 26, Dr. Tawana Grover will be available from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Dr. Demetrus Liggins will follow up at 6:45 to 7:45 p.m.

Thursday, May 27, the forums will begin with Ms. Angela Dominguez at 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. Dr. Melvin Brown will be next from 5:45 to 6:45 p.m. Finally, Dr. Christopher Bernier’s forum will be from 7:00 to 8:00 p.m.

The public can watch an introductory video about each candidate produced by PLD Lamplighter at fcps.net/search this Wednesday.

Additionally, the public will get an opportunity to engage with candidates in person when
they visit Fayette County on Wednesday, June 2 from 7 to 8:30 p.m., at Frederick Douglass High School.

Below are profiles on each of the superintendent candidates:

Christopher S. Bernier, Ed.D.

Dr. Christopher Bernier
Source: Fayette County Public Schools

“Creating educational excellence, leveraging opportunities, and inspiring
performance”

Dr. Christopher Bernier serves as the chief of staff for the Clark County School District (CCSD) in Las Vegas, Nevada. As an executive cabinet member in the 5th largest school district in the U.S. since 2019, Dr. Bernier drives and executes the student-centered vision for over 310,000 students and 42,000 employees.

Dr. Bernier serves as chair of the Diversity, Inclusion and Equity Committee for Goals and Objectives. He has achieved an over 10 percent increase in graduation rates, revitalized magnet programs, and created unique partnerships for college and career pathways for students. Previously, he oversaw 200,000 students as the associate superintendent of Orange County Public Schools in Orlando, Florida. His education career began in 1987 in Orange County—the 9th largest district in the nation—and included roles as a high school and middle school principal, assistant principal, dean of students, history teacher, athletic director, and coach.

Dr. Bernier earned his undergraduate degree in history and education from Le Moyne College in Syracuse, New York, a master’s degree in educational leadership from Nova Southeastern and his doctorate in educational leadership from the University of Central Florida.

Melvin J. Brown, Ed.D.

Dr. Melvin Brown
Source: Fayette County Public Schools

“Position the school district to confront the challenges that our students face
each day and to provide the supports that enable them to conquer those
obstacles”

Since 2017, Dr. Melvin Brown has served as the superintendent of Reynoldsburg City Schools, a district with 7,300 students in the metropolitan area of Columbus, Ohio. Prior to this role, he was associate superintendent at Prince William County Public Schools in Virginia, a district of 89,000 students and a county population of 400,000.

While at Reynoldsburg, Dr. Brown worked diligently to address district inequities in high school programming, including Advanced Placement and College Credit Plus enrollment. In his 22 years of school administrative experience, he has served as a deputy superintendent and director of human resources in Cuyahoga Falls City Schools, regional vice president for an education company, and has several years of service as an elementary and high school principal, a coach, a supervisor of multicultural education, and a teacher.

Dr. Brown holds a Doctor of Education in educational studies and educational administration from The Ohio State University, a Master of Arts in educational administration and supervision from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia, and a Bachelor of Arts in English from James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia.

Angela Dominguez

Ms. Angela Dominguez
Source: Fayette County Public Schools

“Serve students, community, staff, and the board to provide every student with
the educational background and experiences to be successful in life”

Ms. Dominguez serves as the assistant superintendent of academic services in Edgewood Independent School District in San Antonio, Texas, a large, urban district of about 10,000 students. Previously, she served as the district’s chief of secondary schools and executive director of school leadership.

Ms. Dominguez is making great strides in providing equitable opportunities for
scholars of Edgewood, a high-poverty district. Accomplishments across her 26-year career include collaboration with external partners (e.g., Texas A&M, Texas Council for International Studies, and others) to create unique learning opportunities for Edgewood students, improved academic accountability from a D grade to a C, selection as a Principal of the Year semi-finalist by a Texas-based corporation, and recognition as the Bilingual Administrator of the Year by a local chapter of bilingual educators.

She obtained her Bachelor of Arts in history from Dartmouth College and her Master of Science in educational administration from Texas A & M University – Kingsville. She is currently in the Cooperative Superintendency Program at The University of Texas at Austin where she is in the research phase of her dissertation on how to retain high quality principals in high-poverty, urban schools.

Tawana Grover, Ph.D.

Dr. Tawana Grover
Source: Fayette County Public Schools

“A leader who creates vision, unity, and direction to navigate transformational
change”

Dr. Tawana Grover is superintendent of Grand Island Public Schools in Grand Island, Nebraska, a district of over 10,000 students. Prior to becoming a superintendent in 2016, she served leadership roles in DeSoto IndependentSchools—a suburban district of Dallas, Texas with 10,000 students—as chief human resource officer, executive director of federal programs, director of special programs, and principal.

Dr. Grover championed equity work within the Grand Island Public School district to accelerate her mission of creating a level playing field for every student and launched the district’s inaugural strategic plan. Her work led to the development of a district Equity Value Statement, a resolution on eliminating racism that was adopted by the Board of Education, and the formation of a district equity framework. She increased student achievement in 75 percent of “Needs Improvement” schools and increased the number of students scoring 20 or above on the ACT by 5.4 percent within two years.

Dr. Grover earned a Ph.D. in special education from University of North Texas; an Ed.S. in educational leadership from Doane University; an Ed.S. in elementary/educational leadership from Auburn University Montgomery; and a M.S. and B.S. in elementary education, both from Auburn University Montgomery.

Demetrus Liggins, Ph.D.

Dr. Demetrus Liggins
Source: Fayette County Public Schools

“Provide all students, regardless of their ability, race, language, or family
income, with opportunities and experiences to become successful, productive
students and citizens”

Dr. Demetrus Liggins has served since 2016 as superintendent of schools in Greenville Independent School District, an urban district of 5,000 students outside of Dallas, Texas. Previously, Dr. Liggins has been a bilingual/Spanish classroom teacher; an assistant principal; an elementary, middle, and high school principal; and an area superintendent of schools, in districts with as many as 35,000 students.

In his current role, Dr. Liggins has increased student outcomes at all levels, including minority and economically-disadvantaged students’ performance, led the creation of a 5-year strategic plan and graduate profile, and transitioned several traditional schools to schools of choice, which helped improve equity across the district. He was named an Inspiring Leader by the Texas Association of School Administrators and was among the first to complete the American Association of School Administrators National Superintendent Certification. He earned the Distinguished Leadership Award from Texas A&M
University in Commerce, Texas.

Dr. Liggins received his bachelor’s in education and master’s degree in English from California State University, Fresno and a Master of Education and superintendent certification from Stephen F. Austin State University. He received his Ph.D. in K-16 educational leadership and policy from University of Texas-Arlington.

Find more information by visiting the board’s search page at fcps.net/search.