The district released the names of the six semifinalists on Monday night, with plans to further narrow the list to an undetermined number of finalists who will be brought in for interviews by the end of the week.
Here is a little bit about each of the semifinalists. NBC4 has requested the application packets of the six from district officials and will provide more information on the finalists once that list is released.
Dr. Thomas Ahart (Des Moines, Iowa)
The Iowa native returned to his home state to teach high school language arts after graduating from the University of Denver with a bachelor’s in communications. He has held numerous education positions in Iowa for more than 30 years and has just completed his 10th year as the superintendent of Des Moines Public Schools. Ahart earned a doctorate in education leadership at Drake University and served on the U.S. Department of Education’s regulations committee for Every Student Succeeds Act in 2016.
Dr. Angela Chapman (Columbus)
Chapman is serving as the interim superintendent and CEO of Columbus City Schools after the retirement of Dixon. She joined the district in 2019 after five years as the D.C. public school’s instructional superintendent. Chapman received her Doctor of Education from Tennessee State University and was an elementary school teacher in Cleveland.
Dr. Jermaine Dawson (Birmingham, Alabama)
Dawson was raised in Atlanta and earned a degree in sociology from Morehouse College before earning his doctorate in educational leadership at Northcentral University in Scottsdale, Arizona. He has worked as a teacher, principal, and administrator for school districts in Houston, Atlanta, and Birmingham. Among Dawson’s accomplishments is being selected in 2017 as one of 40 educators to attend the International Global Cities Conference in Paris.
Dr. Stephanie Jones (Chicago)
Jones earned three degrees from Capella University in Minneapolis, culminating in a doctorate in leadership in educational administration. She has since worked in multiple leadership roles in Illinois school districts, including as a special education teacher in Chicago. She is serving as the chief officer for the office of diverse learner supports and services with Chicago Public Schools.
Dr. Brian McDonald (Pasadena, California)
McDonald has served as the superintendent of the Pasadena Unified School district for the last nine years. He joined the district as a chief academic officer in 2011 and has been part of the implementation of various programs and developments since. He attended the University of Houston and Texas Southern to receive his bachelor’s and master’s respectively before earning a doctorate in educational leadership from Sam Houston State University.
Dr. George (Eric) Thomas (Minneapolis)
Georgia native Thomas moved from the Peach State to work in the Buckeye State for more than 20 years. After graduating from the University of Cincinnati, he worked for the Cincinnati Public Schools district as a social studies teacher, principal, chief innovation officer and more. He is currently the associate superintendent in Minneapolis Public Schools.