This school year students at Florida A&M University Developmental Research School (FAMU DRS) were introduced to a new superintendent, W. E. Bill Johnson.
Johnson was recently appointed to FAMU DRS by Provost Cynthia Hughes Harris to fill the vacant position after Ronald Holmes resigned after three years. There was not much explanation given as to why Holmes left his position as superintendent other than citing “personal reasons.”
Holmes, the brother of the Reverend R.B. Holmes, a board of trustee member at FAMU, will now be assisting with the grants and unit committees in the College of Education. Not all parents are upset about Holmes’ resignation.
“I am anxious to see the new leadership at FAMU High school,” said Precious White, a parent of a student at FAMU High. “Students deserve to receive a better education and I think the progression starts from leadership.”
The kindergarten through 12th grade school is home to over 500 students. Founded in 1932, FAMU DRS was originally housed at the corner of Martin Luther King and Gamble at the historic Lucy Moten Building. Throughout its existence, the school has experienced changes, including relocating to the corner of Orange Avenue and Wahnish Way.
“FAMU High school has a rich history. It has lost its luster as the premier institution in the city,” said Roger Walker,a social studies teacher at the high school, “but I am sure we are on the path back to those glory days.”
Shortly after Holmes resigned, the elementary school principal, Adriane Peters, resigned from her position. Peters’ reasoning for leaving is not clear. Her position is expected to be filled prior to the start of the new school year.
In the last five years, three administrations have come through FAMU DRS, which some believe is why the school has experienced a drop in grades.
Since the 2007-2008 academic school year FAMU DRS has not earned a grade higher than a “C.” This year’s school grades have not been released, but the Tallahassee Democrat reported that the grade is lower than other magnet schools in the state, which includes the University of Florida and Florida State University schools.
Despite the many changes, Genniver Bell, dean of the College of Education, has faith in Johnson’s leadership.
“Mr. Johnson is an experienced administrator,” Bell said. “He will provide stability for the start of a new school and will hopefully set in place measures that will assist in moving DRS forward.”