Board of Education selects next Superintendent
After conducting a nationwide search for its next superintendent, the Springfield Public Schools Board of Education has announced the unanimous selection of Dr. Grenita Lathan from Houston Independent School District (HISD), the seventh largest school district in the nation and largest school district in Texas. As the current Interim Superintendent for HISD, Dr. Lathan is responsible for oversight of 276 schools and 27,000 employees, serving 196,000 students. She will begin her tenure with SPS on July 1, following the pending retirement of Dr. John Jungmann.
“Dr. Lathan’s 30-year career in education demonstrates a proven track record of enhancing public education with an unwavering commitment to all students and educators,” said Dr. Alina Lehnert, president of the SPS Board of Education. “The nationwide search generated a high level of interest from many strong candidates, and the Board used the feedback from more than 6,000 SPS constituents to evaluate each applicant. We are in unanimous agreement that Dr. Lathan is the most qualified to lead our district. We look forward to welcoming her to SPS and providing our full support.”
Dr. Lathan joined HISD in 2015 as Chief School Officer for Elementary Transformation Schools, later transitioning to Chief Academic Officer before serving as the district’s Interim Superintendent. Dr. Lathan’s other leadership experience includes five years as Superintendent of Peoria Public Schools in Illinois, as well as two years with the San Diego Unified School District in California as Chief Elementary School Improvement Officer and Interim Deputy Superintendent. Her career in education began as a high school teacher in North Carolina, where she later served as principal.
“I am honored to join Springfield Public Schools and work with the incredible SPS team to build upon the success of Missouri’s largest school district,” said Dr. Lathan. “During my career, I have focused on improving academic outcomes for all students and I believe great things are ahead for SPS. I will be visiting Springfield this Spring to introduce myself and meet the wonderful people who call this special place home. I look forward to being an active part of this community.”
About the Nationwide Search
The nationwide search for the next SPS superintendent was conducted by GR Recruiting, an executive search firm specializing in education. Prior to the search, GR Recruiting hosted a series of engagement meetings last fall, both in-person and virtually, to gather feedback from SPS constituents about the next superintendent. In addition, a survey was sent to SPS staff, parents and the community. More than 6,000 individuals participated in the feedback process, which guided the development of a candidate profile.
SPS will host a variety of opportunities to meet Dr. Lathan. Two virtual Zoom meetings are scheduled to provide an opportunity for Dr. Lathan to introduce herself and share more about her background and approach to leadership. Individuals wishing to participate in either the March 23 event at Noon or the March 25 event at 6 p.m., must click here to receive a link to the event. Please Note: There will also be a Facebook Live event on March 31 at 6 p.m. that does not require advanced registration.
Later in the spring, she will visit Springfield and in-person engagements will be scheduled. Details will be provided in the coming weeks.
About Dr. Grenita Lathan
As an educational leader and advocate, Dr. Grenita Lathan focuses on enhancing public education and positively impacting students, staff and families. During her 30-year career in education, she has helped school districts improve academic achievement and implement changes to support all learners. On July 1, 2021, she will become superintendent of Springfield Public Schools.
For the past three years, Dr. Lathan has served as interim superintendent of Houston Independent School District. HISD is the largest school district in Texas and the seventh-largest in the United States. She joined HISD in 2015 as Chief School Officer for Elementary Transformation Schools and later served as Chief Academic Officer. Under Dr. Lathan’s leadership, HISD has made significant improvements in academic achievement. Currently, 92 percent of its 271 schools earned a passing grade under the state’s accountability system, and the district achieved a high “B” overall rating.
She is passionate about supporting philanthropic work in the community and mentoring young women to reach their personal and professional potential. She credits Girl Scouts for instilling the fundamental leadership skills and confidence that empowered her to pursue her goals.
Houston Independent School District, Texas
- Interim Superintendent, 2018-Present
- Chief Academic Officer, 2016-2018
- Chief School Officer, Elementary Transformation Schools, 2015-2016
Peoria Public Schools, Illinois
- Superintendent, 2010-2015
San Diego Unified School District, California
- Interim Deputy Superintendent, 2009-2010
- Chief Elementary School Improvement Officer, 2008-2009
Southern Illinois University, Carbondale
- Doctor of Philosophy in Workforce Education and Development
University of North Carolina, Greensboro
- Master of Science in Business Education
North Carolina A&T State University, Greensboro
- Bachelor of Science in Business Education
- Houston NAACP Educational Advocacy Award
- Houston Top 30 Influential Women Award
- Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Hero Award
- Texas Legislative Black Caucus Outstanding Texan Award
- YWCA Outstanding Women's Award