BY DARRYL Q. TUCKER
Journal Managing Editor
Dr. Romules L. Durant, interim superintendent for Toledo Public Schools, has a favorite number: It is 44.
In his new office, standing under a collage of photos with President Obama, Durant was in the third hour as leader of the Toledo school district, which has 23,000 students.
Durant says the number 44 is significant because Obama is the country’s 44th president and Durant wore No. 44 when he played football for Waite High School and the University of Toledo.
“There’s a correlation there,” Durant said.
At the age of 37, he also is making history as the youngest person to serve as superintendent of Toledo public schools. He will receive $140,000 annually. His one year contract expires July 31.
Durant started with Toledo Public Schools in 1999 as a teacher, assistant principal, and principal before moving to district administration as assistant superintendent.
Durant’s first order of business Thursday, Aug. 1, was to authorize the hiring of new administrator for vacancies in elementary and high schools during a Toledo Board of Education special meeting.
A few hours later, Durant met separately with the media.
As a member of the cabinet of former superintendents, Dr. Jerome Pecko, who Durant succeeded, and John Foley, Durant said he already knew protocol as how to handle the top administrator’s seat.
“It was just another day at the office,” he said.
Durant says he wants to get ahead of the game in trying to educate the students.
“My passion is with the kinds, Durant said. “We are going into the faith-based and business community to let them know what we are doing.
“Toledo has the resources and input and we need to align in a uniform manner.”
Toledo schools is in the business to educate all youngsters, Durant said. The district has to reach out to parents because studies show that the education gap between minority and majority students can be identified as early as nine months of age, he said.
The district will look at all available resources to help families keep their sons and daughters on pace to keep up with other students, Durant said. That includes the embattled Head Start program, he said.
Toledo Schools and the Economic Opportunity Planning Association bids were rejected by the federal government to run the Head Start program.
Both the school district and the Planning Association plan to resubmit bids to run the $13 million a year program. Currently, a Colorado company is administering Head Start until a suitor is chosen.
The district is looking for dialogue, he said, adding that TPS could collaborate with the Planning Association to run Head Start.
“Im about collective work,” Durant said. “We’re in the business of teaching and learning.”