Superintendent search nears end
The three finalists to be the next Queen Anne’s County superintendent of schools recently spent a day visiting the district and meeting with students, stakeholders and a focus group that participated in interviewing the finalists.
CENTREVILLE — In accordance with the plan outlined by the Maryland Association of Boards of Education, the three finalists to be the next Queen Anne’s County superintendent of schools spent a day visiting the district and meeting with students, stakeholders and a focus group that participated in interviewing the finalists.
The board’s goal is to choose the top candidate for superintendent sometime near the beginning of April and vote to appoint the chosen candidate and announce in a meeting after April 15. The new superintendent would begin work on July 1, 2017.
The school board contracted with MABE to conduct the superintendent search process. MABE held stakeholder input sessions beginning in October 2016 to gather the input that shaped the search for a new superintendent.
On March 13, Gregory J. Pilewski, participated in this phase of the inter view process. Pilewski has been interim superintendent for the 2016-2017 school year. He also ser ved the year previously as assistant superintendent for instructional services and school improvement and interim superintendent.
Pilewski, who describes himself as an avid waterfowl hunter in his spare time, and his wife Bianca relocated last year to northern Queen Anne’s County with their two Labrador retrievers, Willow and Scuppers.
Pilewski acknowledges this is a pivotal time in Queen Anne’s County’s school system. It is natural that there would be changes during this transition, he said, but the clear focus needs to be on the health and well-being of the students — all 7,751 students — he noted.
In addition to his goals of closing the achievement gap and with clear targets of those goals being defined and met by the years 2021, 2026 and 2030 — the year that this year’s kindergarten students will graduate — Pilewski said he understands the need to balance technology with career ready skills. He is also hopeful he will be able to set a collective vision between the board, the community (stakeholders) and leadership within the school.
During Pilewski’s time with Anne Arundel County Public Schools, he was director of curriculum, director of humanities and arts, executive director of curriculum innovation and design and assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction. Pilewski began his career in 1998 as a classroom social studies teacher working in schools in Maryland (Harford and Baltimore county public schools), Ohio (Shaker Heights City Schools), and in London, England (Westminster Educational Authority). He was the Harford County Public School’s First Year Teacher of the Year recipient (being selected among 800 new teachers) in 1998. While with the Baltimore County Public Schools from 2000 to 2006, Pilewski worked as social studies teacher, then a professional development trainer in the area of new teacher mentoring and support working with teachers in challenging secondary schools and two alternative high schools. He finished his work with BCPS as the coordinator of smaller learning communities and college board programs.
In 2006, he moved to the Anne Arundel County Public Schools where he held the positions of director of curriculum and director of humanities and arts. In 2012, Pilewski became executive director of curriculum innovation and design providing leadership and direction for the district’s first innovative curriculum management plan; developing and implementing a system-wide vision for curricula, instructional strategies and assessment models; and managing and evaluating the school district’s digital e-curriculum management improvement model. In 2013, he was promoted to assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction where he provided leadership, planning and alignment to the academic priorities for 79,500 students, 6,500 teachers, and 129 schools while supervising three executive directors in the areas of teaching and learning, curriculum innovation and design, and special education.
Pilewski has also worked as a consultant in science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics (STEAM) integration, Common Core state standards, National Core arts standards, transformational leadership, and designing district curriculum management plans. He has worked with school systems and state departments of education in New Jersey, North Carolina and Virginia.
Since his arrival at QACPS, Pilewski has been credited with narrowing the instructional focus for the school system into five strategic areas to improve student learning: organizational effectiveness, early learning and school readiness, curriculum, instructional tools, and assessment, leadership and professional learning, and monitoring progress and performance. Each focus area is organized from the recommendations from the 2016 curriculum management audit in an effort to close gaps in student achievement. Further, Pilewski is credited with accelerating the school systems work on equity, equality, and diversity with an emphasis on building strong relationships with key stakeholders.
Pilewski earned a bachelor’s degree in secondar y education in the area of social studies from Clarion University of Pennsylvania in 1997. He earned a master’s degree in curriculum, instruction, and administration from McDaniel College in 2006. Currently, he is a doctoral student in education with an emphasis in organizational leadership at Nor thcentral University.
As a public educator in Maryland for 26 years, Dr. Theo L. Cramer has worked in many different roles in the field of education. Cramer met with the focus group and visited Queen Anne’s County High School and Centreville Elementary on March 28. Cramer has served as a substitute teacher, teacher, coordinator, assistant principal, principal, and executive director and as a school based and central office employee. His experience in St. Mary’s County, a similarly rural community, reminds him in many ways of Queen Anne’s County, he said. Cramer’s wife, Gaylen, is also in education, as a teacher in Montgomery County. They, along with their two daughters, Gabrielle and Charlize, who are presently in high school, reside in Laurel, Md.
Cramer worked at both the middle and high school levels as a teacher, and served as a high school assistant principal and principal. As a teacher, he taught both special education and advance placement courses at the secondary level. At the central office level, he served as the director and executive director of several departments — academic support, student services, college and career readiness, career technology education, and human resources.
Cramer has worked in two school systems during his 26 year career — Prince George’s County Public School System for 17 years, and in St. Mary’s County Public Schools for nine years. He earned his bachelor’s degree from South Carolina State University in political science/pre-law. He earned his master’s degree in administration and supervision from Bowie State University, and he earned his Doctor of Education degree in educational leadership from the University of Pennsylvania.
He said he has always been an active member in the community. He has served on numerous boards and committees as both a member and an officer, including the United Way, the Human Relations Commission, the Literacy Council, the Principals’ Union, the Human Services Council, the Task Force on the Elimination of the Achievement Gap, the Building Trades Foundation, and the Diversity Equity Advisory Committee. Cramer has also served as an adjunct faculty member at St. Mary’s College of Maryland and at McDaniel College.
Cramer said that serving on various boards and committees is he found a good way to stay connected to the community and hear first hand what things are of concern to different groups.
Dr. Andrea Kane, met with students and stakeholders on March 29. She was the last of candidates to visit the school district. Kane, who is 52, would come to Queen Anne’s County from a very urban school district, Richmond City in Virginia. With children who are grown, Kane said she sees the opportunity to relocate as an easy decision to make. Originally from Maryland, Kane said she is pleased with the idea of being able to settle back in Maryland and possibly retire here. By her own admission, Kane sees the position of superintendent as a natural steppingstone in her career path.
When asked about the recent transition and changes in administration within QACPS, Kane said she was familiar with the situation and believes that she had solid experience in presenting necessary information to a board for them to make an informed decision. Kane also said it is her belief that the priority of students must come first and adults second, listening to those who have ears in the community and the voices in the schoolhouse. Kane is a strong advocate for students and for quality learning resources.
Kane also has had the unique opportunity to have worked with current interim superintendent Gregory Pilewski while in Anne Arundel County. Pilewski was one of the executive directors while Kane was assistant superintendent.
Kane is an educator with an extensive background in teaching and leadership that spans from Head Start to higher education. Born and raised in Baltimore, she is a graduate of Baltimore City College High School. Upon graduation from Sweet Briar College, Kane worked in the banking industry as a manger intern and branch manager for 5 years. Kane’s professional career as an educator began in 1991 where she served in a multitude of instructional and leadership roles in Anne Arundel County Public Schools including computer technologist, classroom teacher, assistant principal, principal, senior manager for elementary school improvement, assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction, and
associate superintendent for school performance.
Kane was awarded the Governor’s Citation for Instructional Leadership for her accomplishments with increasing Maryland State Assessment scores in one of the district’s lowest performing elementary schools. Kane provided leadership for the district’s 125 Pre-K–12 comprehensive and specialty schools; senior and executive level staff; instructional programs including special education, Title I, and English language learners; professional development; district-wide efforts to eliminate achievement gaps; a newly developed dual language immersion program in elementary schools; teacher and principal evaluation models; and the district-wide transition of 6,000 teachers to Common Core Standards also known as Maryland College and Career Readiness Standards and the accompanying PARCC assessments. Kane also taught graduate courses in school administration and school improvement to aspiring administrators at McDaniel College in Westminster.
After 22 years of dedicated service to Anne Arundel County Public Schools, Kane joined Richmond Public Schools in 2014 to serve in the role of associate superintendent of academic services/chief academic officer. In that role, Kane provided leadership for the areas of curriculum and instruction, professional development, federal programs/Title I, assessment literacy and research, testing and data, career and technical education, school improvement and innovation, early learning centers, the instructional side of information communication and technology services, and adult education.
Kane’s priority for the office of academic services has been to build systemic capacity for instruction and instructional leadership with a goal of progressive improvement in student performance as outlined in the district’s academic improvement plan, which was developed under Kane’s leadership.
A measurable improvement in the quality of professional development offered to all educators in Richmond Public Schools has been a trademark of Kane’s leadership. Other accomplishments include launching the district’s Early College Academy, in partnership with J. Sargent Reynolds Community College, where students will earn their associate’s degree by the end of their senior year in high school; and the opening of Aspire Academy, a credit recovery and acceleration program designed to increase the likelihood of earning a high school diploma and decrease the drop-out rate for the district’s most challenged overage, under-credited high school students. She established structures for systemic improvement, while achieving balanced academic and fiscal accountability.
Kane holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from Sweet Briar College, a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction and administration/supervision certification from Loyola College in Maryland, and a doctorate in educational leadership from Northcentral University.
GREGORY J. PILEWSKI
DR. ANDREA KANE
DR. THEO CRAMER