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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – Huntsville City Schools is on the hunt for a new superintendent. With that in mind, Tuesday the board members began their formal interviews of each finalist.

Agnella Katrise Perera (she prefers to be called Katrise) interviewed first. After a day touring schools and meeting community members, Perera sat down before the board to answer ten questions.

She said the federal desegregation order, and following along with the consent decree, is the “Alpha and Omega” of Huntsville City Schools’ future. Still, she feels up to the task of keeping progress on track.

“It will be a challenge and a task to do, and I’m committed to doing so. Not because it’s a federal order, but because it truly is the right thing to do for students,” Perera said.

In response to a question about technology and digital curriculum, she said that is important, but not the end-all be-all in a student’s learning.

“No amount of technology will ever, ever replace an effective teacher in a classroom,” Perera commented.

As far as her leadership style, she shared: “If you’re leading with transparency, if you’re leading with integrity, if you’re building relationships and taking time out to let people know you care and you’re making decisions in the best interest of kids, constituents may not like it but hopefully we will be able to build a trust and communicate.”

Perera told the board she doesn’t like to sit at her desk, but enjoys getting out to speak with as many teachers as she can. She prefers to see the schools.

She also said she will make sure to try to attract the best teacher candidates, and celebrate them while supporting them.

“One of the most important decisions I will make as a superintendent is who we hire and retain in this district,” she commented. “They will make or break this district.”

Perera talked about student achievement, noting it’s one of her top priorities.

“What I like to say is ensure excellence for all,” she said. “We need to make sure we are providing the steps and assistance for the students to reach that pinnacle.”

Huntsville City Schools has more information about their search at this link.

The superintendent interview video was provided by ETV.