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Details released on superintendent finalists

The names of the three finalists for the superintendent’s job with the Fayette County School System were announced Tuesday night at a meeting of the Fayette County Board of Education. The finalists included former school system Assistant Superintendent Lyn Wenzel, Dr. Jeffrey Byron Bearden, of Maine, and Dr. Roy “Cole” Pugh, of Texas.

Provided below is information taken from the applications submitted to the school system. The information was released by the school system on Wednesday.

Lyn Wenzel-
Wenzel on her application listed her current employer as the Georgia Dept. of Education where she serves has State Director since 2009 at a salary of $70,000.

Wenzel worked with the Fayette County School System from 1990-2009, during which time she served as Assistant Principal at Flat Rock Middle School, Principal at J.C. Booth Middle School and, from 2002-2005, as the school system’s curriculum director. Wenzel served as Assistant Superintendent from 2005-009. Wenzel also taught in Clayton County from 1979-1990.

Wenzel holds a Ed.S. in Administration and Supervision, along with a M.Ed and a B.S.Ed. in Health and Physical Education from West Georgia College. She also received certifications in Middle Grades and Administration and Supervision from Georgia State University.

Responding to why she wants to come to the Fayette County School System, Wenzel said, “I have a burning passion to become the next Superintendent of Fayette County Schools. Having worked in the school system almost twenty years,I have a deep commitment to the students, families, and business leaders of Fayette County. Specifically, I will work tirelessly with abundant energy and excitement to see that Fayette County is a world-class learning organization. My most distinctive talent is the leadership ability to build and affirm the shared values necessary to take the system to the next level of excellence. My heart belongs to Fayette County Schools and that deep level of emotional attachment translates to a laser-like focus on the success of the organization, the students and families we serve, and the community.”

Stating her education philosophy, Wenzel said, “A successful school system is one where all stakeholders work together to achieve excellence, regardless of obstacles. The vision, mission, and goals are clearly articulated and understood, becoming the focus of all efforts.”
“A successful school system places a priority on high achievement for all students. To accomplish this, successful schools focus on individual students, instructional leadership, financial responsibility, safe and orderly schools, high expectations, rigorous standards, best instructional practices, and productive school and community partnerships.”
“A successful school system utilizes resources like technology and human capital to streamline operations and enhance instruction. A successful school system is focused on the future and providing a world-class education for all students,” Wenzel said.

Dr. Jeffrey Byron Bearden-
Bearden on the application listed his current employer as Maine School Administrative District 35 (Marshwood District) in Eliot, Maine where he serves as Superintendent of Schools at a salary of $128,500.

Bearden has served as Superintendent since 2007 and as an Adjunct Professor at Nova Southeastern University in North Miami, Fla. since 2006. Prior to that time he served as Assistant Superintendent for Business in the Maine School Administrative District from 2001-2006. Bearden served as Superintendent in the Limestone School Department from 1999-2001, as Assistant Principal at Presque Isle High School (Maine) from 1996-1999, as District Athletic Administrator and Social Studies teacher from 1992-1996 and, also in the Limestone District, as an Language Arts teacher from 1990-1992 and varsity girls basketball coach from 1984-1992.

Bearden received and Ed.D. in Educational Leadership from Nova Southeastern University in 2003 and a M.Ed. in Educational Administration from the University of Maine in 1995. Bearden also holds a B.S. in Secondary Eduction from the University of Maine. He has published papers on topics such as retaining teachers, employee wellness, tobacco use and learning techniques.

Responding to why he wants to come to the school system, Bearden said, “The Fayette County School System is a place to live and work. I have had the opportunity to spend time in your community while visiting with my parents who live in Fayetteville. For me, it is the ideal job in the ideal location. I have been following your school district through your website and the media for several years. Your commitment to providing a quality educational program to the students you serve is impressive. I have listened to your Board podcasts and have read your strategic plan and the annual report. It is obvious to me that Fayette County would be a good fit for me personally and professionally.”
“Your district is much larger than the one I currently serve. However, I am convinced that if given an opportunity to interview for the position, the Board of Education will be excited about my candidacy. I have spent my entire adult life in leadership positions. I feel I am well prepared for this challenge. I am persistent, passionate, and resilient.”
“The superintendent is the ‘face’ of the district. I believe the Board would find me to have excellent communication skills and an engaging personality. The Board would also find me to be well prepared not only for the interview process but, if selected, in all aspects of my profession. ‘Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.’ I am ready for this new challenge in my professional life. I welcome the opportunity to discuss with the Board of Education how together we can make an already very successful school district even better,” Bearden said.

Stating his education philosophy, Bearden said he had “...established ten guiding principles that have served me will over the years and I believe these principles to be the elements of a successful school system:
1) Failure is unacceptable - We must diagnose early and prescribe to our students only methods that have evidence of success.
2) Students who have less must be given more - In order to level the playing field, children with the greatest needs must be provided the necessary resources, support, and time in order to close the achievement gap.
3) All students learn; as educators we must understand how they learn - A variety of instructional strategies and assessments is essential.
4) Students who are behind must work harder, longer, and under conditions that offer the possibility of success.
5) We must know our students well - Education is a relationship business.
6) Data must drive our decisions - Students work - outcomes - must determine the agenda for teacher work. We must document evidence of learning.
7) The culture of the school must be conducive to teaching and learning - schools must be safe.
8) Stay focused on the goal of student achievement - With a tough economy, it is easy to lose our focus on what is most important. School leaders cannot allow this to happen.
9) Form partnerships between home, school, and community. We must work together.
10) Celebrate success - Demonstrate support, appreciation, and respect for all students, faculty, and staff.”

Dr. Roy “Cole” Pugh-
On his application, Pugh listed is current employer as the Eagle Mountain-Saginaw Independent School District (ISD) in Ft. Worth, Texas, where he serves as Superintendent at a salary of $195,000.

Pugh has held the position at Eagle Mountain-Saginaw since 2006. Prior to that time and since 1983, Pugh has served as Superintendent at six other Texas school district. In all but one of those positions, Pugh said he moved to take a position in a larger school district. Pugh’s career in education began in 1973 where he taught school, coached and served as Principal in other Texas communities.

Pugh earned an Ed.D. in Administration & Supervision from the University of Houston in 1988, a M.Ed. in Physical Education and Education from Stephen F. Austin State University in 1973 and, also from the same university, a B.S. in Health & Physical Education in 1972. Pugh has published several papers on curriculum management and budgeting and has been a presenter at more than two dozen regional, state and national conferences.

Responding on why he wants to come to the Fayette County School System, Pugh said, “I have studied the Fayette County Public Schools vacancy announcement and find it to be an excellent school system. Fayette County would be an excellent place to live and work and for our children to attend school. My knowledge, skills, and experiences meet the characteristics that the Board of Education is seeking."

Stating his education philosophy, Pugh said, “The board and superintendent must function as the leadership team to provide the vision, direction and support necessary for a successful school system. Comprehensive planning should be used to focus resources on priorities. Two-way communication with district stakeholders is a vital component, along with family and community involvement.”
“There should be a focus on the academic performance of students. Educators must ensure that students perform well on state and national accountability measures. This calls for a quality written curriculum, effective teaching practices, formative and summative assessments, and data analysis. We must go beyond that level of accomplishment to prepare students to function as effective citizens, live personally satisfying live, and contribute to and improve society.”
“It is important to provide a comprehensive program for students, including academic and extra-curricular activities in a safe environment.”
“Skilled employees should be provided with resources such as facilities, technology, and professional development. Most employees do the best job that they can every day, based on their current level of knowledge and skill. It is the responsibility of the district to provide quality professional development opportunities,” Pugh said.

Board Chairman Terri Smith announced Tuesday that the new superintendent will be chosen at a future meeting of the school board. 

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