New Durham school superintendent focusing on low-performing schools

Pascal Mubenga in a photo by Derrick Lewis/CBS North Carolina

DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) — Durham’s new school superintendent has set a 30-day deadline to start turning around low-performing schools.

After his swearing-in ceremony Monday, Dr. Pascal Mubenga said he is getting to work.

One of his first challenges is turning around Lakewood and Glenn elementary schools.

The two were once chosen as low-performing schools to be taken over by the state. But ultimately, the state decided not to take over the schools, leaving a responsibility to Mubenga.

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“I don’t have a magic bullet, or silver bullet, as you call it,” said Mubenga. “I really want to hear everybody (say) ‘How did we get to that point?’ From that point, I think there are going to be some quick ways that we are going to put into place in the next 30 days to make sure that by the end of the year we don’t end up in the same situation.”

Mubenga says adding more support to the schools is a priority. However, right now, there are no concrete answers as to what that support will be.

“That support, what is it going to look like? I don’t know,” he said. “Let me get there first and see what they need and I’m going to be able to mobilize all the support that we have in place in the district to make it available for those two schools.”

Removing Lakewood and Glenn from the North Carolina Innovative District program happened after the community came together in protest.

Mubenga would rather the schools have local control.

“That’s one of the reasons why I’m so emotional,” he said. “There a lot of resources in Durham Public Schools. I really want to bring everybody together.”

Mubenga says his overall goal right now is to set a new structure for Durham Public Schools.

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