Fri Dec 06, 2013
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Category: Community News
Incoming Superintendent Dr. Samuel T. King is scheduled to arrive for his swearing-in ceremony and first day of work on July 2, 2012. The welcome activities include a public reception on July 9 from 4-6 p.m. at Norview High School. All interested staff and community members are invited to attend.
Dr. King will hit the ground running with plans to involve all stakeholders in creating a blueprint for the success of Norfolk's school children.
To set the stage, Dr. King offered responses to a Q&A:
1. Why were you interested in becoming Superintendent of Norfolk Public Schools?
After being contacted by the search firm, I researched Norfolk Public Schools and deemed the opportunity a perfect fit with my past experiences and future career goals. Norfolk is reflective of a major school system with urban traits and a community that has strong interest in investing in its public schools to ensure improvement. Superintendents of these districts must be bold, creative, energetic, and visionary instructional leaders who can respond quickly to a myriad of issues. These issues range from dealing with social changes, diverse student populations, and demands for equity, to improving school quality for every child.
The bulk of my 28 years of experience in education has been spent in environments with such challenges. Thus, I have developed expertise in performance-based school improvement and a passion for positively impacting the lives of these students. I look forward to positively affecting the lives of the children in the Norfolk Public School System.
2. What do you think are your most important and relevant qualifications for this role?
I have completed my seventh year of service as Superintendent in the same school district, Rockdale County Public Schools. Rockdale is located in the east metropolitan Atlanta, Georgia area and is a system consisting of 63% economically disadvantaged students and approximately 80% minority students. The overall student population consists of 60% African American, 22% White, 12% Hispanic, 4% Multiracial and 2% Asian children. The Limited English Proficient (LEP) subgroup is 5%, while the Students With Disabilities (SWD) subgroup is 10% of the student population. The result of research-based application during my tenure has been the achievement of adequate yearly progress (AYP) district-wide for an unprecedented six consecutive years, a 2.9% dropout rate, and the highest graduation rate ever posted for the district, growing from 72.6% at the beginning of the accountability era in 2000 to most recently an 86% graduation rate. More students are meeting and exceeding standards across subgroups than when the student population was more affluent and much less diverse.
These experiences have all contributed to my qualifications and readiness for the challenges facing the Norfolk Superintendency. My experiences have been indicative of the fact that authoritative, bureaucratic management should be replaced with executive leadership that supports and encourages shared decision making among school staff, community, business and other stakeholders.
3. What do you think are NPS’ strengths?
I feel that the strength of NPS rests with its human resources, and with community stakeholders (parents, students, teachers, School Board members, school officials, business owners, faith-based organizations, civic leaders, law enforcement personnel, government leaders, representatives of post-secondary institutions, etc.) who are interested in being involved in the evolution and implementation of a blueprint for progress of the school system.
4. How will you leverage those strengths?
I plan to leverage this strength by involving and engaging these community stakeholders in the process, thus building a sense of trust and ownership throughout the community with all stakeholders. We will engage in public discussions focusing on strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats surrounding the school system and community as related to delivering a quality education to 100% of our children. Information gleaned from these exchanges will be used to assist with moving current and future priorities forward. This process will require the involvement of internal and external stakeholders, which also means that a microcosm of the community must come together in unison to embrace responsibility for educating each child.
5. On what do you plan to focus your work for the first 90 days?
The focus of my work for the first 90 days will be placed on the goals listed below:
6. How will you measure success in your first year?
Activities outlined in item No. 4 above, along with other action steps, should result in goals for school year 2012-2013. These goals, serving as a reflection of community stakeholder involvement and School Board priorities, should produce indicators of progress that can be measured quantitatively and/or qualitatively. I plan to use this approach to gauge success during my first year.