Sae­lens named per­ma­nent CCPS su­per­in­ten­dent

Times-Record - - Front Page - By ABBY AN­DREWS aan­drews@car­o­line­times­record.com

DEN­TON — The Caro­line County Board of Ed­u­ca­tion has of­fi­cially named Dr. Pa­tri­cia Sae­lens the next su­per­in­ten­dent of Caro­line County Pub­lic Schools.

Sae­lens, who has served as in­terim su­per­in­ten­dent since for­mer su­per­in­ten­dent John Ewald re­signed in De­cem­ber for per­sonal rea­sons, will be­gin a four-year term July 1.

The an­nounce­ment was made at the school board’s meet­ing Tues­day, April 4.

DEN­TON — The Caro­line County Board of Ed­u­ca­tion has of­fi­cially named Dr. Pa­tri­cia Sae­lens the next su­per­in­ten­dent of Caro­line County Pub­lic Schools.

Sae­lens, who has served as in­terim su­per­in­ten­dent since for­mer su­per­in­ten­dent John Ewald re­signed in De­cem­ber for per­sonal rea­sons, will be­gin a four-year term July 1.

The an­nounce­ment was made at the school board’s meet­ing Tues­day, April 4.

“As the board of ed­u­ca­tion, one of our roles — if not our most im­por­tant — is to hire good lead­er­ship for our school sys­tem,” said Board Pres­i­dent James New­comb. “The board saw how (Sae­lens) took charge and is thriv­ing in this po­si­tion.”

Fol­low­ing Ewald’s res­ig­na­tion a year and a half into his four-year con­tract, the board of ed­u­ca­tion chose to forego the usual ex­pen­sive, months-long process of re­cruit­ing and in­ter­view­ing su­per­in­ten­dent can­di­dates, and of­fered the po­si­tion to Sae­lens.

“The bu­reau­cracy says we need to do a na­tion­wide search to find the best and bright­est,” said Vice Pres­i­dent Tol­bert Rowe. “But the school board feels if we have the home­grown tal­ent, it should be given the op­por­tu­nity first.

“In the brief sev­eral months (since Sae­lens stepped up as in­terim su­per­in­ten­dent), we feel like we’ve had the school sys­tem run­ning on all cylin­ders again.”

After the an­nounce­ment, Sae­lens cred­ited her fam­ily — both at work in Caro­line County Pub­lic Schools and at home — for her suc­cess.

“I wouldn’t be here if not for the team sur­round­ing me,” Sae­lens said. “I look for­ward to do­ing great things for the stu­dents of Caro­line County.”

Sae­lens, a na­tive of Tal­bot County, has worked in pub­lic schools on the East­ern Shore for 25 years, the first 14 in Dorch­ester County Pub­lic Schools as a teacher, as­sis­tant prin­ci­pal, prin­ci­pal and co­or­di­na­tor, and the past 11 in Caro­line County.

In 2014, she was pro­moted to as­sis­tant su­per­in­ten­dent for in­struc­tion. A year later, she and Ewald were the two fi­nal­ists at the end of a year-long process to find the school sys­tem’s next su­per­in­ten­dent. When Ewald was hired in July 2015, Sae­lens con­tin­ued as as­sis­tant su­per­in­ten­dent.

Shortly after Ewald’s res­ig­na­tion, at the board of ed­u­ca­tion’s Jan­uary meet­ing, re­cently re­tired board mem­ber Wal­ter Palmer III spoke dur­ing the pub­lic com­ment pe­riod to en­cour­age the sitting mem­bers to skip the re­cruit­ing process and hire Sae­lens.

Palmer said he had voted to hire Ewald, an ex­pe­ri­enced su­per­in­ten­dent in a Delaware school district, in 2015 be­cause at that time, Sae­lens had only a year of ex­pe­ri­ence as an as­sis­tant su­per­in­ten­dent.

Palmer said he felt Sae­lens had proven her­self as an as­sis­tant su­per­in­ten­dent since then, and it would be bet­ter for the school sys­tem as a whole to have per­ma­nent lead­er­ship in place as soon as pos­si­ble.

It also would save the time and money the school sys­tem had spent on the re­cruit­ing process twice in the pre­vi­ous five years, he said. After sign­ing a four-year con­tract in 2011, Dr. Khalid Mu­min re­signed three years later to re­turn to his home state of Penn­syl­va­nia and take over as su­per­in­ten­dent of a school district there.

PA­TRI­CIA SAE­LENS

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