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 begin the series with Dr. Schumann himself.
Q: How have your first few weeks been on the job?
A: Exciting; after being appointed in October of 2011 it seemed like an eternity waiting to be in Enfield every day. Now that I am, I can say the people in Enfield are tremendous. I have met so many great students, families and people who work in the school system and for the town. Without a doubt, this will be the greatest and probably most challenging professional experience I have ever had.
Q: How difficult is it to replace John Gallacher, a man who held your post for 20 years?
A: Dr. Gallacher was a gifted educator and certainly well respected and successful during his tenure as Superintendent of the Enfield Public Schools. He guided the school system through numerous challenging changes over his 20 years at the helm. He always had the best interests of the students and families of Enfield as a priority in his decision making. I hope to be able to build on the strong foundation he built for the system.
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: The leadership of the Enfield Public Schools is changing at a time when our profession is changing dramatically on a national and international level. We all are in a position to influence this change and have an impact on the new direction of our country and our world. We are all committed to building a 21st century learning organization which will prepare our students for the world they will live in and eventually lead.
Q: To date, what do you consider your greatest accomplishment in the education field?
A: Over the past 31 years, I have held a variety of positions in public education, ranging from teacher and coach to superintendent. The accomplishments over my career vary in scope relative to my work at each position. Teaching a non-swimmer to tread water for 30 minutes in the deep end of the pool, coaching an undefeated team, watching students grasp and utilize scientific concepts, helping a family send their first family member off to college, implementing a community of practice model for middle school teachers are all great memories and accomplishments I have enjoyed. However, I feel the superintendency is a position from where my best work will come.
Q: What do you see is the biggest single challenge facing Enfield Public Schools in the coming year?
A: Transitioning our curriculum to align with the Common Core State Standards and assisting our teachers in the delivery of the new curriculum and the high school consolidation initiative.