A Backseat Conversation with superintendent Dr. Lisa Herring

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On May 3rd, Dr. Lisa Herring will make her first year as superintendent of Birmingham City Schools as the system continues to deal with the death of a student inside a school – a first for Birmingham City Schools. 

In an exclusive backseat conversation, Dr. Herring talked openly about that tragic day and what is being done to make students and teachers safer. She also talked about what the system must do to move schools off of the failing list. 

The first thing Superintendent Herring spoke about were the scholars who make up the school system. 

“Scholars who are Innovators, who are creators, who are bold, who are courageous,” Dr. Herring said. “They’re leaders. They know how to reach me. Every day that blows my mind.” 

It did not take long for our conversation to turn to what happened on March 7th at Huffman High School. 17-year-old Courtlin Arrington lost her life after she was shot inside the school. 

Dr. Herring described the moments after she heard the news. 

“My chief of staff came into my office in a way that is not the norm and said, ‘We’ve got to go. There’s been a shooting.’,” Dr. Herring said. “It was just a heavy, hurtful, traumatic experience and of course it was painful to have heard that Courtlin didn’t make it.”


Our conversation with Dr. Herring wasn’t all about the issues facing the Birmingham City School system. We also got to know Dr. Lisa Herring the woman. 

Though she believes the beach is relaxing and restorative, her favorite thing to do is walk in the rain. She said her hairstyle doesn’t always allow for it, but she enjoys it when she can. 

Dr. Herring also admitted to doing what many of us do when no one is around: sing in the car. 

“Of course I sing in the car!” Dr. Herring said. “And I dance! That’s my happy place.”

The superintendent said she wants people to get to know her as a person. She said when she came to Birmingham, her faith revealed to her that it was not a choice. She believes she is here on assignment for the students of Birmingham. 

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