Educators from Illinois, Florida and North Carolina have been named finalists in the search for a new Beaufort County School District superintendent.
The three are:
The finalists were selected from a pool of seven candidates interviewed by the board earlier this week.
Each of them will visit Beaufort County for a second interview with the board, a meeting with district employees and a public forum that will be televised live on the Beaufort County Channel.
The board hopes to have a new superintendent under contract by the first week in March, board chairman Bill Evans said.
Parents and residents have said they want a superintendent who has new ideas and the ambition to implement them, as well as someone who is willing to make tough decisions and can work with tight budgets.
Evans believes all three finalists will be strong on those fronts, as well as in helping the district close racial and socioeconomic student achievement gaps.
"What we saw in these three finalists were strong backgrounds in developing curriculum and evaluating instruction," Evans said.
GLORIA J. DAVIS
Davis has served as superintendent since 2006. Prior to that, she was an educator for 31 years, climbing the ranks from teacher to elementary and middle school principal to assistant superintendent in the University City School District near St. Louis, according to a resume and biography provided by the district.
Davis, in her cover letter to the board, said over the past seven years she has "provided the vision for totally changing the academic framework of the school system by making tough decisions that put children first."
She said she increased Advanced Placement classes from three to 14 and doubled the number of honors classes. In addition, 13 of the 17 elementary schools in the district received awards from the state of Illinois for superior achievement results with students from "diverse populations and low socio-economic backgrounds," according to her bio.
"This has demonstrated my philosophy that all children can be successful under productive leadership," she wrote.
Davis said she would work to do the same in Beaufort County.
While lacking experience as a superintendent, Evans and LeRoy's supporters point to a strong background in academics and curriculum reform.
The man who hired LeRoy in the Duval County district has no doubts she is ready for the job.
"She has the knowledge, drive, leadership and passion needed to a highly effective superintendent," wrote Ed Pratt-Dannals, retired Duval County Public Schools superintendent, in a recommendation letter.
LeRoy oversaw curriculum, instruction, assessment and professional development for about 180 schools and managed a $195 million budget.
She said she has been working toward a superintendent position for about a year, and "Beaufort seems to be a perfect match," with "good academic achievement scores" and a "historic setting."
Moss was appointed superintendent of Lee County Schools in January 2009.
Prior to that he served as superintendent of Beaufort County Schools in Washington, N.C., and Stanly County Schools outside of Charlotte. He has been credited with expanding technology in the classroom as a way to increase student engagement and with leading successful bond campaigns.
He received the North Carolina Technology in Education Society 2011 Outstanding Leader Award.
During his tenure as superintendent, the district's graduation rate rose and the dropout rate fell, particularly among minority and economically disadvantaged students, according to his biography.
"I am extremely honored and appreciative of the opportunity, and look forward to my visit and chance to address the public for any concerns they may have," he said.
The school district's former superintendent, Valerie Truesdale, retired in October and accepted a position in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School District. Jackie Rosswurm, the district's human resources chief, has been serving as acting superintendent but did not apply for the position.