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    Dr. Mike Daria

    Mike Daria is a man on the move. In fact, one can usually find him walking the hallways of TCS schools at a brisk pace.

    "He's definitely a fast-moving, on the go guy and that's definitely what we need for our system," said Terri North-Byrts, director of student literacy. "He's someone who listens and understands our concerns and acts on any conversations we may have with him."

    The speed at which he walks underscores the speed in which he works to improve student outcomes for all students. The Tuscaloosa City Schools proudly serves more than 11,000 Pre-K through 12th grade students. Daria's urgency to close the achievement gap is to ensure each and every student achieves personal, academic and career excellence as defined by the system's mission statement.

    Daria is a veteran educator who has served in the Tuscaloosa City Schools all but one year in the system--his first--starting in 1996.  He has worked as a TCS English teacher, assistant principal, principal, executive director of personnel and assistant superintendent prior to his current role.  

    A hallmark of his administration has been his commitment to engage stakeholders on the path the progress for students. 

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      "He's always trying to find new ways to improve the City Schools and he's asking people for their opinions," said Natalie Roig-McKnight, a TCS educator.  "Anytime I am at Central Office and I see him, it's not even a full shot of him, it's just a blur."

      The University of Alabama alum admits he does have trouble sitting still. Since being named the 15th superintendent of the Tuscaloosa City Schools, he began a series of listening sessions to learn from others their perspective on helping TCS achieve excellence. He has never forgotten his time in the classroom either, making sure "teacher voice" is represented in system decisions.

      For him, the work starts with the foundation: kindergarten. Under his leadership, TCS teachers were empowered to re-envision the kindergarten curriculum so that students are reading on grade level by the time they reach third grade. The early results show that the effort is working, too. This initiative is coupled with the system's award-winning summer learning academy which was designed to reinforce skills learned to avoid the phenomenon called the "summer slide." Results show that students who participated in TCS summer learning programs didn't see the summer slide like their peers who did not attend. In 2020, TCS debuted the ELEVATE Dual Enrollment Scholarship Program, backed by the City Council.

      Daria's personal goal is to ensure each and every student who graduates from TCS has a plan for their future once the diploma is placed in their hand.

      "I absolutely am always looking to improve to do better and do more and that really does put me on the run a good bit, but I really wouldn't have it any other way," said Daria, who was named one of 25 Superintendents to Watch by the National School Public Relations Association in 2017.

      He and his wife Susy have two children. Nicholas attended the Tuscaloosa City Schools and now attends The University of Alabama. Tyler attends the Tuscaloosa City Schools.  Daria earned his doctorate in Educational Administration from the University of Alabama and earned National Superintendent Certification through AASA in 2020.

    • Other Career Highlights

      Other highlights for Daria and his team include:

      • Implementation of the Digital Transformation
      • Development of the TCS Graduate Profile
      • National School Public Relations Association Superintendents to Watch (2017)
      • Designation with U.S. Department of Education's National Blue Ribbon for Tuscaloosa Magnet Schools-Middle (2016) and Rock Quarry Elementary School (2018)
      • Designation with U.S. Department of Commerce's National Green Ribbon for Woodland Forrest Elementary School (2018)
      • Recipient of Cognia's STEM certification for University Place Elementary School (2018)
        Heart Safe Schools Award
      • Recognition by CLAS: District 4 CLAS Banner School, Central High School, and District 7 CLAS
      • School of Distinction Award, Verner Elementary School (2018)
      • Recognition as Alabama Safe Schools Initiative Award of Excellence for Eastwood Middle School (2019)
      • Recognition Alabama Safe Schools Initiative Award of Excellence for Westlawn Middle School (2020)
      • AASA National Superintendent Certification Program® (2020)
      • Alabama Community Education Association (ACEA) 2020 Superintendent of the Year
      • Distinguished Community-Engaged Scholar Community Partner (2020)
      • Blackboard Catalyst Award (2020)

    • Contact Dr. Daria
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    • Read TCS Strategic Plan
    • Annual Report
    • View TCS Job Board