Su­per­in­ten­dent search nears end

Record Observer - - Front Page - By HAN­NAH COMBS hcombs@kibay­times.com

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

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