New superintendent visits Riverside

By Josh Nicholson

Even at a young age Dr. Pascal Mubenga knew he wanted to make a positive impact on students and schools. He just had to figure out how.

Now Durham Public Schools’ (DPS) new superintendent, Mubenga spent the majority of his childhood as a citizen of the Central African Democratic Republic of Congo. It was there at age 19 Mubenga realized his passion for school, which inspired him to pursue his education full-time in the United States.

After arriving in the U.S., Mubenga attended Shaw University and earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Math Education. Mubenga later went on to Liberty University to get his Master’s in secondary education and earned his Ph.D in Educational Literature from Capella University.

Mubengas’ first job was in in Nash County teaching high school math. Later, he transitioned to Chewning Middle School in Durham to teach eighth grade math.

“I remember after first being a [math teacher], that I really enjoyed teaching. When I reflected, I said, ‘how can I do something different to impact more students than just my own classroom?’’’

Those reflections led him to a series of jobs that took him from leading a classroom to leading schools and districts.

Fast-forward to 2018. A few months after DPS superintendent Bert L’Homme announced his plan to retire, Mubenga left Franklin County Schools, where he had been superintendent for two-and-a-half years, to take on the position.

Mubenga is familiar with Durham and spoke about the time he spent working closely with DPS as a consultant for the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction.

Since becoming the superintendent on Oct. 16, Mubenga has assimilated into Durham Public Schools once again. As part of that process, he made a visit to Riverside where he met with faculty and staff about what he is bringing to DPS.

A student pulling a fire alarm after school postponed the meeting temporarily, but after things settled down, Mubenga gave a presentation about his ideas and acknowledged concerns for the district.

Riverside faculty members and DPS staff from other schools were very receptive of Mubenga.

“I appreciated how open he was to questions,” said RHS media specialist Kate Mester. “I feel like if it were a bigger event there probably would have been a huge line for questions and people trying to cut each other off. However, that didn’t happen. Everyone got to ask what they wanted, and he even gave some good teacher tactics.”

Principal Tonya Williams has met with Mubenga on several occasions and feels he can bring a lot to DPS.

“It’s easy to just sit and look at all 53 schools,” said Williams, “but when you’re coming into the schools, and really working with the principals and the teams – which is what he has been doing – then I think that most people will have a little bit more respect for you, and [see] that you really want to be a part of the work.”

Teachers and faculty have their fingers crossed as they a wait to see the impact Mubenga can have on the district.

Science teacher Mika Twietmeyer, who met Mubenga at Riverside and at a speaking engagement he had with the Durham Association of educators, wants to see a lot more teacher involvement in decisions regarding schools and how they function.

“I wish he would have been more involved in welcoming the teachers in more decisions,” said Twietmeyer, referring to the encounters she has had with Mubenga.

Mubenga plans to release his strategic plan sometime in March.

   

ctics.”

Principal Tonya Williams has met with Mubenga on several occasions and feels he can bring a lot to DPS.

“It’s easy to just sit and look at all 53 schools,” said Williams, “but when you’re coming into the schools, and really working with the principals and the teams – which is what he has been doing – then I think that most people will have a little bit more respect for you, and [see] that you really want to be a part of the work.”

Teachers and faculty have their fingers crossed as they a wait to see the impact Mubenga can have on the district.

Science teacher Mika Twietmeyer wants to see a lot more teacher involvement in decisions regarding schools and how they function.

ctics.”

Principal Tonya Williams has met with Mubenga on several occasions and feels he can bring a lot to DPS.

“It’s easy to just sit and look at all 53 schools,” said Williams, “but when you’re coming into the schools, and really working with the principals and the teams – which is what he has been doing – then I think that most people will have a little bit more respect for you, and [see] that you really want to be a part of the work.”

Teachers and faculty have their fingers crossed as they a wait to see the impact Mubenga can have on the district.

Science teacher Mika Twietmeyer wants to see a lot more teacher involvement in decisions regarding schools and how they function.

ctics.”

Principal Tonya Williams has met with Mubenga on several occasions and feels he can bring a lot to DPS.

“It’s easy to just sit and look at all 53 schools,” said Williams, “but when you’re coming into the schools, and really working with the principals and the teams – which is what he has been doing – then I think that most people will have a little bit more respect for you, and [see] that you really want to be a part of the work.”

Teachers and faculty have their fingers crossed as they a wait to see the impact Mubenga can have on the district.

Science teacher Mika Twietmeyer wants to see a lot more teacher involvement in decisions regarding schools and how they function.

“I wish he would have been more involved in welcoming the teachers in more decisions,” said Twietmeyer referring to the encounters she has had with Mubenga.

Mubenga is set to release his strategic plan some time in March.

   

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