The Durham Public Schools Board of Education unanimously added another year to Superintendent Bert L’Homme’s contract Thursday night. His contract now runs through June 2020.
“This represents a unanimous vote of confidence in Dr. L’Homme’s leadership,” Chairman Mike Lee said. “We believe Dr. L’Homme has brought a steady hand to the administration of the school system and a vision for reaching every child in our district. We look forward to continuing to work together and are deeply grateful for his commitment to Durham Public Schools.”
L’Homme was hired in 2014 at a salary of $225,000 a year. He succeeded Superintendent Eric Becoats Jr., who resigned in 2013.
He has been a special education teacher, a principal at New Hope Elementary School in Orange County and assistant superintendent of Instructional Services for Durham Public Schools. He also served as superintendent of Franklin County Schools.
“I’m grateful to the board for their expression of support as we continue striving for excellence among all of our students and schools,” L’Homme said Thursday. “In the last two years we’ve made progress in increasing our graduation rate, reducing our suspension rate, and being more responsible, transparent stewards of the funds entrusted to our students.
“We have taken some important steps forward in achieving academic excellence for every child, but I won’t be satisfied until we’re making giant leaps. We still have achievement gaps to close. Our administration and staff will continue to work closely with our board to support our teachers and principals, lift up all of our students, and ensure that every DPS school is truly special.”
The Durham Public Schools district has about 33,500 students in 56 schools and faces increasing challenges from private and charter schools.
About 44 percent of students scored proficient or passed the state tests in reading, math and science last year, compared to 44.1 percent in 2013-14
About 76.9 percent of white students passed the tests, compared to 34.2 percent of black students. Only 30.9 percent of economically disadvantaged students passed.
DPS’s 44 percent passing rate compares to 56.6 percent across the state, 66.7 percent in Wake, 59.3 in Orange County and 76.9 in Chapel-Hill Carrboro.
Students improved in math (grades 3 to 8), in science (5,8), and held steady in reading (3-8). There were declines in English 2 and Math 1.
“Students in Durham continue to make meaningful gains, but clearly we still have more work to do, “ L’Homme said last year. “The data today show some clear wins, where our efforts to increase achievement and graduation have paid off.”
Four-year graduation rate dropped slightly from 81.5 percent to 80.8 percent. The statewide rate was 85.4 percent.
More about L’Homme
Bert L’Homme has a doctorate in special education and public school administration from the University of Maryland, a master’s degree in education in K-12 special education and emotional disturbance from American University, and a bachelor’s degree in secondary education and psychology and history from the University of Maryland.
Before rejoining Durham Public Schools in 2014, in addition to other educations posts, he was superintendent of Catholic Schools for the Archdiocese of Washington, as well as interim chief operating officer, director of education policy and coordinator of the Cradle to Prison Pipeline Campaign for Marion Wright Edelman and the Children’s Defense Fund.