Lewis D. Ferebee was announced as D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowsers' selection to lead D.C. Public Schools in December 2018. As of January 2019 that appointment was still pending approval of the D.C. Council.
Ferebee has been the Indianapolis schools superintendent since 2013. Before that job, Ferebee taught in Virginia then Greensboro, North Carolina where he was an elementary and middle school principal. Later he served as the chief of staff for the Durham Public School system. Ferebee has been a panelist for the Center on Reinventing Public Education, New Schools Venture Fund, and the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools. Ferebee is an alumnus of the Broad Academy and a favorite of charter school leaders, such as Eva Moskowitz.
News and Controversies
Sexual Abuse Controversy
During Ferebee's tenure as Indianapolis superintendent, a school counselor was charged with "nine felony counts of child seduction, one felony count of dissemination of matter harmful to minors and one misdemeanor count of contributing to the delinquency of a minor," according to Indy Star. The then-Superintendent said that he was made aware of the allegations early, but was misled that they were being properly reported. Ferebee is a defendant in a lawsuit questioning if he met his obligations as superintendent to follow the Indiana state law which requires an immediate "report suspected child abuse to law enforcement officials or child protective services."
According to Chalkbeat, this incident was the "one exception" to Ferebee's "fairly scandal-free tenure."
Performance as Indianapolis superintendent
According to Washington Post columnist Colbert King, during Ferebee's tenure as the leader of the Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS) the school district under his purview became one of the "lowest-performing school districts in the state" with 80 percent of its students not passing both the English and math portions of the spring 2018 Indiana Statewide Testing for Educational Progress exam.
Pushing Charter Schools
Chalkbeat reports that Ferebee has forged "a particularly close partnership with charter schools," the article continues to say that he is "known for creating a network of charter and charter-like schools." This was done through "Innovation schools" which blur "the line between charter schools and traditional public districts by launching and rapidly expanding schools run by charter or nonprofit operators but that remain under the district’s umbrella." By the end of the most recent year with Ferebee at the helm of IPS, more than 25 percent of students attend these schools. As of November 2018, there were 20 innovation schools in IPS
Ties to Broad
Deasy is an alumnus of the Broad Academy, 2017-2018 cohort.
Related SourceWatch Articles
Broad Academy alumni with SourceWatch profiles include:
- Jeremy Chiappetta
- Scott Given
- Donald Fennoy
- Derwin Sisnett
- Elliot Smalley
- Diane Tavenner
- Tom Torkelson
- Paymon Rouhanifard
- Penny Schwinn
- Kriste Dragon
- Aurora Lora
- Bill Kurtz
- Jason Kamras
- Gregory White
- Heather Young Anichini
- Mary Elizabeth Davis
- Ana Ponce
- John Deasy
- Perry Stein Indianapolis superintendent chosen to lead D.C. Public Schools Washington Post Dec. 3, 2018
- MATT BARNUM and SHAINA CAVAZOS D.C., meet your next chancellor: 8 things to know about Lewis Ferebee and what he might bring to the district ChalkBeat Dec. 3 2018
- Marisa Kwiatkowski IPS superintendent calls delay in reporting abuse 'clear case of incompetence' March 4, 2016
- Emma Brown and Perry Stein Nominee to run D.C. schools faces scrutiny over the handling of sexual abuse case Washington Post December 21, 2018
- Colbert I King There’s reason to look hard at the new candidate to lead D.C. schools Washington Post December 28, 2018
- Dylan Mccoy How backlash to big changes in Indianapolis Public Schools fueled board upsets Chalkbeat Nov. 8, 2018
- The Broad Center Lewis Ferebee organizational biography accessed Jan. 3, 2019