The recent retirements of Superintendent of Schools John Gallacher and other top administrators has created an entirely different look at the top of the Enfield Public Schools' leadership team. New Superintendent Dr. Jeffrey Schumann has assembled a cabinet of executive officers, and Enfield Patch will be profiling some of those leaders each day this week.
We began the series with and ; today we feature Chief Academic Officer Anne McKernan.
Q: How have your first few weeks been on the job?
A: My first few weeks have been a great learning experience. I have had opportunities to form a strong working relationship with the new team of educational leaders in Enfield as well as to visit each school. I have enjoyed speaking with each building principal and all of the assistant principals as I learn what is very special about their school. I look forward to meeting teachers and students in the coming days and weeks.
Q: How difficult is it to replace Linda Cavanaugh, who put so many years into your position?
A: It is clear that Linda Cavanaugh knew and understood the position of Curriculum Director. She forged strong relationships with all of the key stakeholders and made sure that principals, teachers and all educators in the district were well informed of the important processes and updates in the areas of curriculum, instruction and assessment.
Q: The entire top of the school system's organizational chart has changed. Do you feel a seamless transition is probable, or should parents and students expect some bugs may need to be worked out?
A: Dr. Schumann is extremely thoughtful person and has developed an entry plan that acclimate him to the district as he learns from the educators, citizens, parents and students of Enfield. As a result of his thoughtful and patient approach, I believe the transition will be done well and any challenges that may arise will be handled with the best interests of students and families in mind.
Q: To date, what do you consider your greatest accomplishment in the education field?
A: I have had the distinct honor to work in a start up school and a start up magnet school system. To create a school and help to create a district is unbelievably rewarding. When I started at CREC there were four full day schools and two part time schools, now eleven years later, there are 18 schools serving over 6000 students. As the leader of the Metropolitan Learning Center, the school grew from a one grade, 100 students to a nationally award winning school enrolling seven grades and over 700 students.
Q: What do you see is the biggest single challenge facing Enfield Public Schools in the coming year?
A: Today in education there are several significant reform efforts. The newly adopted Common Core State Standards are a major influence on curriculum, instruction and assessment. Significant work must be done to align Enfield’s curriculum to these new standards. We need to build the capacity of the teachers to deliver instruction in new and engaging ways so that students are compelled to learn and grow. The evaluation system for all educators has been rewritten and will be in place by July 1, 2013. All educators will be evaluated, in part, on the progress their students make in academic areas. This is a significant change for educators and one that will take much time and hard work to implement well. Finally, assessment is changing drastically. By 2014-2015 testing will be done through computer adaptive technology. The district does not presently have the tech resources to meet this challenge.