TCS names superintendent

Dr Maria Pitre-Martin starts Aug. 16
Jul. 30, 2013 @ 09:14 AM

Thomasville City Schools has a new superintendent.

TCS Board of Education on Monday night introduced Dr. Maria Pitre-Martin as the school system’s new superintendent. Pitre-Martin, who currently serves as the Department of Public Instruction’s State Director of K-12 Curriculum and Instruction, assumes her new position in the Chair City on Aug. 16.

“I wanted the opportunity to really serve as a school district leader,” said Pitre-Martin. “I’m very excited. What I see is a community that is really dedicated to the young people so this is a great opportunity to match my skill set in that dedication to young kids. Good results can come from that.”

Pitre-Martin’s appointment ends a rigorous interview process that featured more than two dozen applicants from four different states vying for the position left vacated when former superintendent Keith Tobin retired last month.

TCS Chairperson Crystal Hodges said Pitre-Martin’s familiarity with new common core state and North Carolina essential standards, and her commitment to leading the school system forward helped her stand out among an impressive list of qualified candidates.

“We are ecstatic,” Hodges said. “She’s excited about being here and we’re so happy to have her. Common Core is the thing that has got teachers on edge because it’s like the great unknown. There’s something different coming down the pipe all the time. To have someone who is so instrumental in developing common core be your superintendent is priceless.

“A lot of thought went into this [decision] and to know we’ve gotten over the hump and we have a new superintendent in place is a great relief. We knew what we wanted. We wanted someone who could move our school system forward. She comes in with that and she‘s excited to get started.”

Pitre-Martin, 46, currently supervises a staff of more than 50 people at DPI and manages a budget in excess of $5.5 million. She works closely with the state superintendent and state board of education, and also plays a vital role helping North Carolina procure key Race to the Top funding.

“One of the things I bring to the district is working at the state level,” said Pitre-Martin. “I have that knowledge base at the state level so I feel very good about bringing it to the district level and being able to work to implement that with the schools, the teachers and the administrators. It’s high level skill maybe others haven’t had so I feel fortunate.”

In addition to her four years at DPI, Pitre-Martin has worked in several high-level central office positions in large school districts during her 25-year career in education. Pitre-Martin served as Chief Academic Officer in Philadelphia, a school district of more than 160,000 students, assistant superintendent in Baton Rouge, La., and Director of Research and Staff Development in Fort Bend ISD in Texas.

She received her bachelor’s degree in English and Speech Education from the University of Southwestern Louisiana, a master’s degree from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and her Doctorate in Education Leadership from Texas A&M University. Pitre-Martin also graduated from the Broad Superintendents Academy in 2008.

Pitre-Martin, who will make $140,000 a year, feels her experience working with diverse school populations will help her as she takes over a school system where a large percentage of students receive free or reduced lunch.

“I have worked in communities where there is a great deal of diversity and I know that exists here,” Pitre-Martin said. “I have worked in schools and school districts where we worked hard to highlight diversity and make it a strong element of the community. In researching Thomasville, I saw that was the case here as well. I’ve worked in communities where students might not have had the opportunities larger school districts have had so I feel very comfortable in working to be able to bridge that gap between school districts with a lot more resources and school districts without.”

Pitre-Martin said her goals include increasing TCS’ graduation rate while lowering the dropout rate. She wants to increase student achievement in the new content standards of math and language arts.

“As long as we’re really focusing on providing options for our students, not only are they graduating on time but they’re able to pursue a multitude of options after graduation,” said Pitre-Martin. “We want them to be ready to take on any option they choose.”

Pitre-Martin said she plans on meeting with school administrators in the coming days. She is married to her husband, Kenneth Martin.

 

Staff Writer Eliot Duke can be reached at 888-3578, or duke@tvilletimes.co