In my first months as new superintendent of Newport News Public Schools, my meetings, engagements and interactions have been both purposeful and enlightening. It has been my goal throughout the entry planning period to educate myself on the culture, capacity and community of Newport News. I firmly believe that in order to lead our school division effectively, I had an obligation to fully understand what makes Newport News Public Schools unique and a great place for students.
During this transition, it has been my pleasure to spend time in our schools with the many talented educators, support personnel and leaders who dedicate themselves to our students. Additionally, my interactions with both my senior leadership team and members of the community have been extremely productive. I have had valuable meetings with our local elected officials, city leadership and the leadership of various local businesses, community, civic and military organizations. More importantly, these meetings allowed me to establish a positive relationship with leaders who support the mission of Newport News Public Schools.
I have taken care to strategically tap advisory groups to inform decision-making moving forward. To ensure that all voices are heard, in addition to my existing student advisory group and employee communications forum, I have added a teacher advisory group, a support staff advisory group and parent communication forums to my schedule of stakeholder meetings.
Most importantly, over the course of the past 10 months, I have enjoyed the opportunities to engage our students both in our classrooms and at extra-curricular activities. Students provide a constant reminder of the important work that we do on a daily basis. I have been inspired by the heartwarming work of our teachers as they engage their students in relevant and challenging instructional activities. It is this commitment to quality instruction that has enabled our students to graduate college, career and citizen-ready.
I developed an entry plan to assess the status of significant areas of the school division’s current strategic plan and key leverage points. As the old adage states, one has to plan well and heed the carpenter’s rule: measure twice; cut once. With this in mind, my goal was to look, listen and learn from our stakeholders and community prior to charting a course for the school division. I approached this work strategically with the assistance of our leadership team.
In November, I delivered my inaugural State of Schools Address and shared some of my initial entry plan findings. Over the following weeks, I had the opportunity to delve deeper into each of the strategic supports that drive the school division’s strategic plan: quality curriculum, accountability systems, financial resiliency, employee expertise, community connections and two additional areas of importance including school and student safety and equity. Through this process, I have discovered more about Newport News Public Schools, including our rich history, successes and challenges.
In Newport News Public Schools, we believe that smart is something you become. That said, a strong commitment to high-quality instruction and positive relationships will enable all students to thrive under our care and guidance.
I invite you to take the opportunity to review my Post Entry Report to the Community at www.nnschools.org/superintendent. This document identifies and celebrates the great work taking place in Newport News Public Schools, and it communicates my vision to ensure the future success of the students and families we serve.
I am honored to serve this community. Together, we will continue to move Newport News Public Schools forward.