Non-profit education leader chosen to oversee collection of low-performing schools

Eric Hall
Eric Hall Communities in Schools

Eric Hall, CEO of Communities in Schools in North Carolina, will run the state’s Achievement School District, a new and controversial effort to improve student achievement at low-performing schools.

Hall will make $150,000 a year in his new job. The State Board of Education voted to hire Hall at a meeting Thursday morning.

A.L. Collins, board vice chairman, said Hall has “a vision of what the position can be to improve schools across the state.”

Hall will be responsible for finding five low-performing schools, likely scattered across the state, that will form the new district.

The legislature passed a law last year creating the state takeover of five schools. Hall will be responsible for finding charter organizations to run them.

In Tennessee, students in Achievement District Schools have not done better academically than students in comparable low-performing schools that weren’t taken over.

In an interview, Hall said the state will be able to learn from the experiences of other states.

“As we start to think about the future of this district, how do we partner with communities, partner with schools” while keeping a focus on students,” he said.

Hall will start the job in mid-May. It’s too soon to start thinking about identifying schools for the district, he said.

Hall has more than 20 years experience in education, according to the state Department of Public Instruction. Communities in Schools, which he has run for about four years, is a statewide non-profit network that provides student support in more than 300 schools.

Hall previously served as the National Director of Educational Services for AMIkids Inc., a non-profit organization providing intervention services to youth in juvenile justice programs and non-traditional schools in nine states.

“We are extremely pleased that Dr. Hall will lead this new initiative,” board Chairman Bill Cobey said in a statement. “His success in working with students at risk and schools with high percentages of at-risk students will only benefit the new Achievement School District. His proven ability to build partnerships will help this effort be successful.”

Lynn Bonner: 919-829-4821, @Lynn_Bonner