Despite a state takeover of the McDowell County education system in 2001, little progress had been made until the appointment of a new superintendent 2 years ago.
“I did come in with a 30-day and a 90-day plan, threw those out in 24 hours,” said Jim Brown. “It took me a while to grasp where the building block was and where we needed to go from there and try to improve the system.”
Brown is from Tyler County, some would say a world away from McDowell.
He taught school in Tyler County for several years, took a position at the county education office, and then took a position with the State Department of Education.
But Brown has made McDowell his home for now, and turning things around for a student population that ranks last is his mission.
He says he relies on the data, and it is improving.
“Are we in the top 20% in the state? By no means,” he said. “It’s not where we want to be but it’s a foundation for us to get stronger, I really believe that.”