SERV­ING CE­CIL COUNTY SINCE 1841 Cariello re­tire­ment leads to CCPS changes

Top-level ad­min­is­tra­tors move roles

Cecil Whig - - FRONT PAGE - By JES­SICA IANNETTA

jian­netta@ce­cil­whig.com

— The re­tire­ment of long­time Ce­cil County Pub­lic Schools ad­min­is­tra­tor Vincent Cariello has set off a range of changes among the sys­tem’s lead­er­ship team.

Cariello, cur­rently the as­so­ciate su­per­in­ten­dent of ad­min­is­tra­tion ser­vices,

ELKTON

will re­tire on June 30 af­ter 38 years in the county school sys­tem. Carolyn Tei­gland, cur­rently the as­so­ciate su­per­in­ten­dent for ed­u­ca­tion ser­vices, will slide over to re­place Cariello while Jeff Law­son, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of high school ed­u­ca­tion, will move up to take Tei­gland’s po­si­tion. Re­plac­ing Law­son is Anne Gell­rich, cur­rently the prin­ci­pal at Ris­ing Sun High School.

De­spite all the changes, Su­per­in­ten­dent D’Ette Devine said she’s con­fi­dent in her team go­ing for­ward, not­ing that CCPS makes it a pri­or­ity to have peo­ple ready to step up to lead­er­ship po­si­tions as needed.

“Part of what the board charges me to do as su­per­in­ten­dent is to plan for suc­ces­sion, and that is a ma­jor charge of ev­ery per­son in the or­ga­ni­za­tion,” she said. “None of us are ir­re­place­able.”

But while no one is ir­re­place­able, Cariello’s ab­sence will cer­tainly be felt by many in the school

sys­tem. Dur­ing his nearly four decades in Ce­cil County, Cariello has worked his way up from high school teacher to be­come one of the two di­rect re­ports to the su­per­in­ten­dent.

That wide va­ri­ety of jobs has re­quired an even wider range of skills. Some of those skills, like the abil­ity to ne­go­ti­ate with em­ployee unions or cre­ate a com­plex bud­get, are gen­er­ally ex­pected of a school ad­min­is­tra­tor. Oth­ers, like his knowl­edge of for­eign lan­guages, are less ex­pected, but have been no less use­ful.

In 1994, Cariello and Devine were brought in to be­come the new as­sis­tant prin­ci­pals at Per­ryville High School, which at the time was ex­pe­ri­enc­ing a huge in­crease in stu­dents, many of them His­panic. Devine’s back­ground as a French and Span­ish teacher and Cariello’s knowl­edge of Ital­ian meant they could com­mu­ni­cate with each other — and their stu­dents — in for­eign Ro­mance lan­guages.

“We heard (some stu­dents) plot­ting a tru­ancy they were go­ing to com­mit and Vince never missed a beat and he said ‘I wouldn’t do that if I were you’ in Span­ish and they were like ‘Oh man, new veep speaks Span­ish,” Devine re­called with a laugh. “We had some fun times.”

Those fun times have been tem­pered by more se­ri­ous times too and along the way Cariello has earned a deep re­spect from peo­ple both inside and out­side the school sys­tem, Devine said.

“He has a pow­er­ful ca­pac­ity to rein­vent him­self,” she said. “He’s very smart and he’s very an­a­lyt­i­cal, so he can cut through a sit­u­a­tion very ef­fec­tively.”

Cariello’s CCPS ca­reer started in 1978 at what was then called Bo­hemia Manor Ju­nior and Se­nior High School, where he taught a va­ri­ety of sub­jects and also served as foot­ball coach, one of the roles he most en­joyed, Cariello said. Af­ter 16 years at Bo Manor, he be­came an as­sis­tant prin­ci­pal at Per­ryville High School in 1994 and was pro­moted to prin­ci­pal three years later. Af­ter seven years at Per­ryville High, he went on to Elkton High School for three years be­fore join­ing the lead­er­ship team as ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor for high school ed­u­ca­tion.

He’s now spent the last six years as as­so­ciate su­per­in­ten­dent for ad­min­is­tra­tion ser­vices and Cariello said one of his proud­est ac­com­plish­ments is the pos­i­tive re­la­tion­ship he has with all the CCPS em­ployee groups, whom he meets with to ne­go­ti­ate con­tracts.

The sys­tem’s on­go­ing Safe Schools ini­tia­tive is another one of Cariello’s pas­sions, he said. He has grown the ini­tia­tive in many ways such as in­creas­ing table­top drills, es­tab­lish­ing a com­mu­ni­ca­tions cen­ter for emer­gen­cies and strength­en­ing the sys­tem’s re­la­tion­ship with lo­cal law en­force­ment agen­cies through reg­u­lar meet­ings, he said.

Kelly Kee­ton, CCPS ad­min­is­tra­tion as­sis­tant, has worked closely with Cariello on the Safe Schools ini­tia­tive for the past six years but the two have known each other even longer. Kee­ton was a stu­dent at Per­ryville High when Cariello was prin­ci­pal so she has had the unique ex­pe­ri­ence of hav­ing her high school prin­ci­pal be­come her boss.

“I met Vince when I was 14 years old and I have been learn­ing from him ever since,” she said. “He’s the kind of men­tor that ev­ery pro­fes­sional needs in their ca­reer, and the type of friend that ev­ery per­son needs in their life­time.”

Al­though his re­tire­ment is now less than two months away, Cariello said he hasn’t re­ally given it much thought and isn’t keep­ing track of how many days he has left. He has no grand plans for re­tire­ment other than to con­tinue to travel with his wife and spend time with his three grand­chil­dren.

“I’ve had a blast,” he said. “I have en­joyed it and if you en­joy what you do, you don’t go to work. And it’s been like that re­gard­less of what I’ve done in this sys­tem.” Ad­min­is­tra­tion shuf­fle Af­ter 10 years as as­so­ciate su­per­in­ten­dent for ed­u­ca­tion ser­vices, Tei­gland will tran­si­tion to the other side of the or­ga­ni­za­tion and step into Cariello’s job as as­so­ciate su­per­in­ten­dent for ad­min­is­tra­tion ser­vices. In this role, she will over­see much of what hap­pens out­side the class­room, and Tei­gland said she’s look­ing for­ward to work­ing with the sys­tem’s dif­fer­ent em­ployee or­ga­ni­za­tions.

Dur­ing her time in ed­u­ca­tion ser­vices, Tei­gland has over­seen a lot of changes in the sys­tem, in­clud­ing the im­ple­men­ta­tion of new cur­ricu­lum stan­dards and the switch to an in­clu­sive model for spe­cial needs chil­dren. But she said her new job will be a good way to learn about how the oper­a­tions side of the school sys­tem func­tions.

Law­son, who has been ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of high school ed­u­ca­tion for the past seven years, said he’s ex­cited to move up to as­so­ciate su­per­in­ten­dent of ed­u­ca­tion ser­vices, a po­si­tion where he will over­see in­struc­tional delivery for the en­tire district.

Much of his work in his cur­rent job has fo­cused on stu­dent achieve­ment, and Law­son said he’s par­tic­u­larly proud of his work in in­creas­ing the county grad­u­a­tion rate and in the growth in AP test-tak­ing across the county. With CCPS cur­rently fo­cus­ing so much on how to help stu­dents ex­cel at the new state-man­dated PARCC tests, Law­son said he feels his focus on stu­dent achieve­ment will make him a good fit for his new role.

Gell­rich, who will be leav­ing Ris­ing Sun High School af­ter five years as prin­ci­pal, is sim­i­larly look­ing for­ward to tak­ing on a big­ger role as ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of high school ed­u­ca­tion.

As a CCPS grad­u­ate who’s worked for the sys­tem for 33 years, Gell­rich said she’s loved her time at Ris­ing Sun High and is most proud of see­ing the school’s grad­u­a­tion rate rise, es­pe­cially among spe­cial ed­u­ca­tion stu­dents. Though she’s ex­cited to take on a more cur­ricu­lum-based role, Gell­rich said she will miss parts of be­ing a prin­ci­pal.

“I’m go­ing to miss see­ing kids ev­ery day be­cause that’s why you get into this busi­ness,” she said. “It’s re­ally been five of the best years of my ca­reer here (at Ris­ing Sun High) but I’m look­ing for­ward to try­ing some­thing a lit­tle dif­fer­ent.”

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