First, I would like to thank Steve Goodwin, Steve Moore, Linda Stapp and Michael Giurlando for their service to Carlisle Public Schools. Even though they will be missed, they are leaving us a rich legacy for a new administration to build upon. Our shared vision of excellence in education will continue to be the mission of our system. I am happy for their successes, and I support their decisions as they advance their careers in educational leadership. All four have progressed in their careers, have advanced in their salaries and made personal decisions on what was best for them.
Change is never easy, and I understand the concern felt by the community during this time of transition. Two outstanding educators have been hired as our principals, Patrice Hurley and Paul Graseck. Both principals have begun to work with us to insure a smooth transition. Hiring committees have been established and the search is underway to find a new special education director and business manager. I am confident that our outgoing administrators will work closely with our new team. As a leader, I feel a sense of loss as my administrative team changes; I also sense an opportunity for building a new team with a shared vision, committed to moving forward, as we address the District Goals.
My transition as your superintendent has been exciting and challenging. It has been a pleasure to meet over three thousand new students, parents, teachers, community members and board members from organizations throughout the State. Clearly I bring my own style and ideas, sometimes different from my predecessor’s, and therefore disconcerting for some staff members. As stronger relationships continue to develop with most teachers, our understanding and appreciation grows; I continue to meet with people, listen and do my best to build bridges and enhance communication. My style is open, honest and respectful; I encourage dialog and continuous growth.
The vision of Carlisle Public Schools remains the same as it was written in 1992: “The vision of the Carlisle Public Schools is to establish a world class school which will develop a society of life-long learners who possess the behaviors, skills, knowledge and values essential for contributing members of society in a constantly changing global economy.”
This means implementing elementary world language, a District Goal and a goal on our School Improvement Plan for the past several years. It includes global studies, offering Chinese, excellence in science and math, and staff development shared with educators inside and outside of Carlisle, including a strong partnership with Concord. Ten Carlisle teachers will join Concord teachers this August for training in writing with experts from Columbia University. We have begun planning for curriculum revisions, and the Math Review will begin next year. Math Roundtables have helped us collect information as we move ahead on systemic planning and assessing our curriculum. Teacher involvement with groups such as EDCO, Primary Source and Project Alliance have increased our communication with colleagues throughout this area. Our focus on inquiry learning and systemic thinking is still a priority and will be used with benchmarks as the guide for planning.
Making sure all children succeed and helping them develop into responsible citizens who are accountable for their actions are my highest priorities; they are also my personal values that I will not compromise.
I believe excellence comes from communication, reflection, assessment and refining. I also believe that schools need to prepare students for a new world and a global economy. I bring a commitment to standards based education, where benchmarks are established and followed, and ongoing assessment gives us accurate data on the progress of all of our students. I believe all children can succeed in Carlisle Public Schools. I also believe in listening to all constituents as we strive to “leave no child behind.”
My vision, mission and actions are consistent with our long-term vision; recent actions, such as the addition of elementary world language, support the values of our community. The pace of change for the staff is important, and I am monitoring this closely. Communicating and including staff in the creation of the District Goals and School Improvement Plan are important future goals so the staff is not again surprised when we act to implement programs required by these binding documents. I continue to learn, continue to reach out, and continue to lead. Change is never easy. We need the support of our community as we move forward, focusing on our vision to be a world-class school.
Our Strategic Planning Committee will begin this summer. A facilitator will work with the administrative team on building a team and sharing a vision; the SPT will revisit our vision statement and mission statement, soliciting input from the community. Next, we will develop core values. Finally, we will create a short term and long term plan for implementing the District Goals so the staff is involved and understands that the district goals are a living document that belong to all of us. There is much work to do, and the administrative reorganization with job clarification will maximize the use of administrators’ time in Carlisle Public Schools.
Again, I wish our exiting administrators every success in their new positions. They will be with us through the end of June, guiding CPS through a smooth transition to another team of dedicated administrators. As we move forward, I ask for your support, focusing on our progress, and understanding that change is inevitable as we prepare our children for the work force of the twenty–first century.