Durham County

New Durham Public Schools hire hopes to move the academic needle for students

New Durham Public Schools Superintendent Pascal Mubenga (left) signs his contract on Oct. 16.
New Durham Public Schools Superintendent Pascal Mubenga (left) signs his contract on Oct. 16. ctoth@heraldsun.com

New Durham Public Schools Superintendent Pascal Mubenga doesn’t officially start work until Nov. 27, but he’s already begun to assemble his leadership team.

On Mubenga’s recommendation, the school board on Thursday, Nov. 16, hired Nakia Hardy to become the district’s new deputy superintendent of academic services.

Nakia Hardy

Hardy is currently the chief academic officer for Guilford County Schools.

She will assume her duties here in January.

“I am extremely excited to join Dr. Mubenga’s team,” Hardy said in a statement. “I look forward to empowering our teachers and leaders to improve outcomes for each and every child. I will be an active member of the Durham community working with staff to create a strategic, ambitious path forward.”

Hardy will replace Stacey Wilson-Norman who left last month to become chief academic officer for the N.C. Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI).

Mubenga will have to add several more top administrators to his leadership team. The district’s leadership ranks has been depleted by departures due to retirements and resignations.

Mubenga’s predecessor, Bert L’Homme retired in September citing dramatic changes in “the landscape of public education” and the realization that he likely would not have the “physical or mental energy to respond to those challenges, while at the same time dramatically accelerating our academic growth.”

Hardy has roots in the Durham community. She attended Parkwood and Pearsontown elementary schools and Lowe’s Grove Middle School.

“Those schools started me on a path to success,” Hardy said. “This is a great opportunity for me to come back and work with the schools where I began as a student.”

From 2015 to 2017 at Guilford County Schools, Hardy supervised regional superintendents, curriculum and instruction, assessment and research, student services, exceptional children and professional development.

Hardy has also held district academic leadership positions at Baltimore City Public Schools and Rockingham County Schools. She was a principal for four years at Broadview Middle School in Burlington and began her education career as a chemistry teacher at Page High in Greensboro.

Hardy earned her doctorate in education at UNC-Chapel Hill in 2010. Her dissertation was titled: “Portraits of Success: Effective White Female Teachers of Black Male Middle School Students.”

More than 60 percent of DPS teachers are white while nearly 80 percent of the district’s students are black and Hispanic.

“Dr. Hardy has exactly the combination of academic and urban leadership experience that we need to move Durham Public Schools forward,” Mubenga said. “She will provide outstanding support for our teachers, staff and school communities.”

Greg Childress: 919-419-6645, @gchild6645