AKRON, Ohio — The Akron Public Schools Board of Education voted late Thursday to offer the job of superintendent to Christine Fowler-Mack, the chief portfolio officer of the Cleveland Metropolitan School District.
Fowler-Mack, 55, would be the first woman to lead Akron schools since the district was created in 1847, the district stated Friday in a news release. The release did not indicate what her salary would be.
A graduate of Akron’s East High School, Fowler-Mack taught in the school system from 1989 to 1996, according to her resume provided by the district. She received bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Akron in elementary education and administration, respectively, and earned a superintendent’s licensure from Ashland University in 2003. She has worked for CMSD since 2009.
If she accepts the board’s offer, she will replace David James when he retires at the end of June after about three decades with the district, including 13 as superintendent.
The board voted 6-1 to pick Fowler-Mack over the other finalist, Sandy Womack, Jr., an area superintendent of Columbus City Schools and a graduate of Akron schools. Board member Diana Autry was the dissenting vote.
The board deliberated for about five hours Thursday evening, after weeks of evaluating candidates and narrowing the superintendent search. Board President N.J. Akbar said the decision was one of the most difficult the board has ever made.
“In this past year, this board has faced arguably the most challenging year of any board of education,” Akbar said. “In the midst of a pandemic, we were tasked with hiring our next superintendent. We had two strong candidates, either of whom we believe could move this district forward, both with distinguished career accomplishments and education… Our board will advocate for our new leader to prioritize the success of our schools and all students, especially those who have the greatest struggles.”
Amid the superintendent search, Assistant Superintendent and Chief of Academics Ellen McWilliams-Woods announced she will retire along with James at the end of June, opening the top two jobs in the district. The board has not indicated when it will choose her successor.