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Clarke County school chief and 2015 national superintendent of the year to head Fulton Schools

Big news for Fulton County Schools in landing Phil Lanoue as its new superintendent. He's a big picture thinker and a reformer.

Here is the official release:

The Fulton County Board of Education has named Dr. Philip D. Lanoue as its sole finalist for the system's next superintendent. Dr. Lanoue, currently the superintendent of Clarke County School District in Athens, was named 2015 National Superintendent of the Year by the American Association of School Administrators. He succeeds Dr. Robert Avossa who left last June to become superintendent in Florida's Palm Beach County.

"Dr. Lanoue's background and experience match what is important to our community as evidenced by our superintendent search survey," said Fulton County School Board President Linda McCain. "He brings an unparalleled level of credibility with 38 years of educational experience. Dr. Lanoue's leadership experience transcends geographical regions and has included rural, suburban and urban settings. He has consistently brought schools and districts to higher levels of academic achievement, and for these reasons we selected Dr. Lanoue as finalist."

"I am incredibly honored to be selected by the Fulton Board of Education as the sole finalist to lead the Fulton County School System," said Dr. Lanoue. "To begin a new endeavor was not a decision I took lightly, but I look forward to working with the board, the staff and the broader community to build on their successes and make this district high performing for all children."

Dr. Lanoue has received a variety of accolades during his distinguished career. He has been named one of the Top 50 Technological Innovators in Education by the Center for Digital Education and Converge as well as Boston Northwest Principal of the Year, National Association of Secondary School Principals Vermont Principal of the Year and Hockey Coach of the Year. He also served on the advisory board for The Principals' Center at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, where he oversaw leadership interns from several Ivy League universities. Dr. Lanoue also has been published in many academic journals, as well as in the national press, on the role of district leaders and principals in the era of accountability.

Prior to becoming Clarke County School District's superintendent in 2009, Dr. Lanoue was Area Assistant Superintendent for the Cobb County School District. Before that, he served as principal for 18 years in four high schools in Massachusetts and Vermont, his home state. Dr. Lanoue's subject specialty is biology, and he began his educational career as a science teacher.

Dr. Lanoue holds a doctorate in educational leadership from Mercer University as well as a master's degree in education in administration and planning and a bachelor's degree in secondary education, both from the University of Vermont. He is also an adjunct assistant professor at the University of Georgia, teaching in the Educational Administration and Policy program of the Department of Lifelong Education, Administration and Policy. He and his wife Vickie have two grown daughters.

Following a 14-day public comment period, which began February 5, the board plans to formally tender the position to Dr. Lanoue, and if accepted, he will join Fulton County Schools beginning May 1, 2016.

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About the Author

Maureen Downey has written editorials and opinion pieces about local, state and federal education policy since the 1990s.