Dr. Philip Hickman speaks during a public hearing at Joe Cook Elementary Fine Arts Magnet School in this July 1 photo. Photo by: Luisa Porter/Dispatch Staff
July 11, 2014 10:35:22 AM
The Columbus Municipal School District Board of Trustees selected Dr. Philip Hickman as its superintendent of schools during a special meeting today.
Hickman, 38, comes to Columbus from Houston, Texas, where he served as an assistant superintendent in the country's seventh-largest school district.
He was selected by a 3-2 vote by the board, with board president Angela Verdell, Greg Lewis and Currie Fisher voting to select Hickman. Jason Spears and Glenn Lautzenhiser cast the no votes.
Hickman was one of two finalists introduced to the community during a July 1 public meeting at Joe Cook Elementary Fine Arts Magnet School. The other finalist was Dr. David Fonseca, 43, who currently serves as interim superintendent of Watauga County Schools in Boone, North Carolina.
"I just want to thank the board," Hickman said when reached by phone shortly after the board made its vote. "I think it's a great opportunity to really work with the community, the families, the students, the teachers and the principals and make this a world class district."
When asked if he was concerned about the 3-2 split vote, Hickman said he viewed the vote as an opportunity, not an obstacle.
"(The vote) allows the opportunity to discuss what deficits they felt they had and to be able to put a plan together to improve on those areas and ultimately do what's best for the kids."
Verdell said she felt Hickman was ideally qualified for the job.
"I do think he's the best fit for the district," Verdell said. "I do think that his past experience of working in districts similar to Columbus in terms of the socio-economic standing, he has been successful in those districts."
Hickman will receive a four-year contract that will pay him $175,000 annually. He will take over as superintendent on July 28.
Hickman becomes the district's third superintendent in a little more than three years. Dr. Del Phillips resigned as superintendent on April 25, 2011. He was succeeded by assistant superintendent Dr. Martha Liddell on June 1, 2012. Liddell was fired on June 17, 2013, with Dr. Edna McGill taking over as interim superintendent. McGill applied for the permanent superintendent position, but was not among the two finalists.
Hickman earned his Doctor of Education in educational leadership from Saint Louis University in 2009.
He currently serves as the assistant superintendent of academic support services in Houston, Texas. He has served in that position since August 2013. According to his resume, the district is the seventh largest district in the United States with approximately 300 schools and 210,047 students. In addition, Hickman is the founder and CEO of consulting firm, K-12 Consultants.
Prior to his current role, Hickman served as assistant superintendent/director of education at a charter school in Kansas City, Missouri, from July 2012 to August 2013.
He was the principal of an elementary school in Joliet, Illinois, from July 2009 to July 2010 and principal of another elementary school in Aurora, Illinois, from July 2008 to July 2009.
From July 2007 to July 2008, Hickman was the assistant principal of a Belleville, Illinois, middle school. From July 2005 to July 2007, he served as a dean of students at an Illinois high school. Prior to his time in administration, Hickman worked as a school psychologist at two different Illinois schools. He served at one school from 2002 to 2005 and another from 2001 to 2002.
Sarah Fowler covered crime, education and community related events for The Dispatch.
1. Columbus loses a football legend COLUMBUS & LOWNDES COUNTY
2. Arrest report 10-6-15 COLUMBUS & LOWNDES COUNTY
4. City Council denies request for ordinance change COLUMBUS & LOWNDES COUNTY