Who Is Dr. Steven Godowsky?

Dr. Steven Gadowsky
Dr. Steven Godowsky

It was announced today in every single Delaware media outlet that Delaware Secretary of Education Mark Murphy is “stepping down” and Dr. Steven Godowsky, the former Superintendent of the New Castle County V0cational Technical School District, will fill the role on an interim basis pending a special hearing with the Delaware Senate to accept Governor Markell’s nomination on October 20th.  Who is he?

According to his LinkedIn account and his biography with the University of Delaware, this would not be his first rodeo with the Department of Education.  He served as a Supervisor there from 1977-1982 after serving a short stint in the former Alfred I. DuPont school district as a special education teacher.  He ran the Exceptional Children/Special Education division before becoming returning to teaching at New Castle County Vo-Tech.  In 2000, he was appointed Assistant Superintendent and three years later he became the Superintendent, a role he served faithfully for the next eight years.  Upon retiring in 2011, Dr. Godowsky served as a Supervisor the University of Delaware’s Delaware Academy for School Leadership (DASL).

I ran across him for the first time from the DOE’s Charter School Accountability Committee final report for Gateway Lab School’s charter renewal last fall.  He helped the school to overcome the odds when their charter was renewed last December after the CSAC recommended their charter not be renewed.  He also assisted the Pencader Business School Board of Directors in board governance training at the former charter school in 2012.

As a former Superintendent of the Year in Delaware, Godowsky also served as President of the Delaware Chief School Officers Administration (now called DASA) in 2008.

It sounds like Godowsky has decades of experience with Delaware education, and I am particularly impressed he has a very rich background in special education and is willing to fight for students with disabilities, as evidenced by his work with Gateway.

New Castle County Vo-Tech Education Associate Danny Rufo tweeted the following statement earlier today:

https://twitter.com/ROOF_O/status/632298771754446848

While some may lament his time with the Vision 2015 workshop, and their ties to Rodel, let’s be honest and face facts.  Most of the higher-ups in Delaware school districts and charters have spent some sort of time on one of these committees.  It does not mean they are “bought and paid for” by Rodel, especially in the pre-Race To The Top years.

I definitely think he is much higher up the education ladder in experience compared to Mark Murphy.  It has become more than obvious what we don’t need in a Secretary of Education, so this is a step in the right direction.  Nothing against Dr. Godowsky, but I really hope the Delaware Senate asks him many questions in regards to the future of Delaware education.  When Mark Murphy passed the nomination, the questions from the Senate were very limited in scope.  We must not make the same mistake again.  I feel confident, based on his vast experience as well as ringing endorsements from several Delaware legislators, he could be the right man for the job!

The Monstrous Ego Of Exceptional Delaware

I put this up a few months ago in the middle of the House Bill 50 debate with our legislators. If anyone has an issue with what I did yesterday, please read this and understand the purpose of this blog. I’m sure some view my “outing” yesterday as reprehensible and disgusting. I’m sure some view it as something that should have happened a long time ago. I view it is this: the activities of said person were causing issues with Delaware students. Plain and simple. I’ve heard from many on this issue, except for the one that truly counts: who I outed. So how about it Donna? Any response to all of this? You created this but you have remained strangely silent. Or what about Dr. Gray? She would be the only other person able to put a stamp on this one way or another.

The Exceptional Infinite

As the opt-out movement is increasing in Delaware and charters are held to the fire, I’ve noticed the comments on here are getting more hostile and opponents of my views are not shying away from expressing their views.  Good, I want you to feel free to state your opinion.

Someone wrote the other day “I get that your blog exists only to stroke your own ego, and not to report responsibly about anything going on in the state…”  This commenter went on to talk about how I have the whole Academy of Dover and the Citizens Budget Oversight Committee mess wrong.  I don’t mind someone pointing out when they feel I am wrong, but please back it up with facts on how you think I’m wrong.  Otherwise I can only view it as opinion.

I’m quite sure I’m getting a lot of heat over my articles on disability organizations in…

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The Unofficial & Unauthorized Governor Markell Press Release On Mark Murphy’s Ouster

August 14th, 2015

Education Secretary Mark Murphy To Leave Administration Because He Embarrassed Me

Governor nominates anyone but Murphy to continue his agendas

Dover, DE-Mark Murphy announced today he is leaving his post as Delaware Secretary of Education.  But he isn’t leaving voluntarily, I told him to go.  It’s not cause of Smarter Balanced, and it’s not cause of Common Core.  Heck, it’s not even about opt-out.  It was a priority!  Get it, priority?  Can you imagine getting a letter from Red Clay saying “Where’s our priority school funding?”  The Coach didn’t tell me about this and I was not a happy camper!  This is MY district! I control what goes on there, not Mark!  Even when I informed him of my displeasure on this, I prayed it wouldn’t get out.  But then that damn blogger had to get the letter and post it for all of my state to see.  I really hate that guy…

Even though, well, the world was telling me to dump him, he was still my guy.  I told him “Do what I tell you and keep me in the loop, and you are my man until the end.”  But no, he had to go making decisions on his own, and use his own mind.  How dare he!  After I lifted him up from Paul’s Vision group!  I’m just going to swim in the same pool with the next guy, but that’s not my point! I am the Jack, and all who disobey me will perish in a political and professional swan dive.  Anyone who doesn’t know that, really doesn’t know Jack!

And the official press release…yawn…

Education Secretary Mark Murphy to Leave Administration after Successful Tenure Marked by Improved Student Achievement

Date Posted: Friday, August 14th, 2015

Governor nominates long-time Delaware superintendent and leader in state’s schools to build on tremendous progress

Dover, DE – Education Secretary Mark Murphy announced today that he will end his tenure in the coming months to pursue other opportunities, concluding a term marked by record-high graduation rates, more students enrolling in college, and better opportunities than ever for Delaware students to successfully prepare for the workplace.

Governor Markell will nominate Dr. Steven Godowsky, a long-time Delaware administrator and former superintendent of the New Castle County Vo-Tech School District, to succeed Murphy and continue the Department’s work to support progress made by students and educators throughout the state. Murphy remains in discussions about his next position, but he and the Governor agreed that it would be beneficial to announce the upcoming change, as well as the nomination of a new Secretary, prior to the start of the coming school year.

Markell will submit his nomination to the State Senate for consideration during a special session on October 28, but Godowsky will assume an interim role before that time, after Secretary Murphy officially steps down this fall, on a date still to be determined.

“The work to prepare all of our students for college, career, and life in today’s changing world is incredibly rewarding, but it’s also not easy,” said Markell. “Mark has addressed every challenge with a remarkable determination to support the hard work happening in our schools and find solutions that best serve our youth. We have made tremendous strides in the past few years, while laying the groundwork for more progress in our never-ending mission to ensure every Delaware child receives the best possible education. I am thankful for Mark’s service to our state.”

During Secretary Murphy’s tenure, the accomplishments of Delaware students and schools include:

  • The state’s graduation rate has reached a high of 84.4 percent, a 4.5 percent increase in just the past year and more than three percent above the national rate.
  • For the last two years every college-ready senior has applied and enrolled in college with support from the Department’s Getting to Zero program; previously, as many as one in five did not.
  • The number of students taking dual enrollment, college-level, classes for credit more than doubled between 2013 and 2014, while the number of students taking and passing Advanced Placement tests has also increased substantially.
  • More than 2,200 students at 16 schools will be taking half of their classes in Mandarin Chinese or Spanish this fall as a result of continued growth of the state’s world language immersion initiative, begun during the Markell Administration to give students the chance to gain a significant advantage in an increasingly global economy.
  • The launch of Pathways to Prosperity over the past year is creating partnerships with Delaware employers, universities, and school districts to prepare students for a bright future in high-demand fields and careers, such as computer science, culinary arts, IT, and advanced manufacturing, giving them a head start on getting a job and/or earning a degree.

Murphy also oversaw the implementation of higher standards in Delaware’s classrooms, working with teachers and administrators to put in place the Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards, both designed to ensure that students are on track to learn the skills most valued in colleges and the workplace in an era when good jobs demand a higher level of education and training than ever.

The state’s voluntary Common Ground program supported educators in the transition, with teachers working on new techniques and strategies to help students meet higher expectations and hundreds of them coming together to demonstrate lessons. In addition, Delaware’s leading science teachers revised their lessons and teaching styles to give their students more opportunities to work like scientists and create models accessible to teachers across the state.

“I’m grateful to Governor Markell for this opportunity to serve the children of our state,” said Murphy. “We should all applaud the efforts of our educators as they improve the lives of our young people each and every day.  In many schools, we see students making incredible strides forward. To achieve the promise of great educational opportunities for all children in the coming years, continued courage and leadership will be needed by all.”

Since joining the Department of Education in 2012, Murphy has led the state in improving educator preparation programs to better ensure new teachers have the skills and experience to succeed from their first day on the job, and he has overseen the strengthening of the state’s charter school law to improve school accountability and support.

His time in office has also coincided with critical steps in implementing the state’s Race to the Top plan, which won federal funding to improve Delaware schools. Key parts of that work will continue to be funded by the state as federal funding ends. Through those efforts, Delaware has:

  • Established a vastly improved data system to better track student progress and identify student needs;
  • Supported successful efforts by high-need schools to boost performance of struggling students; and
  • Created the initiatives that catalyzed the state’s successes in improving college access and supporting teachers in the transition to higher standards.

Markell Nominates Former NCCVT Superintendent

While maintaining and improving upon the state’s progress, the new Secretary will have the opportunity to shepherd initiatives that have gained momentum over the past year. The Administration continues to press for changes to the state’s teacher compensation system in line with recommendations supported by legislation passed in June. In addition, last week, Governor Markell signed laws that allows for the redrawing of district boundaries in Wilmington as part of an effort to transform educational opportunities in the city, particularly for our most at-risk children.

In choosing his nominee to help lead these efforts, the Governor praised Godowsky’s career-long commitment to strengthening educational opportunities for Delaware children.

“During his forty plus years of work in Delaware’s schools, Steve has established himself as a respected leader with the ability to work productively with teachers, administrators, and, most importantly, our students to get the most out of their schools,” said Markell. “We have more work to do and, with the Senate’s confirmation, I am confident that he will help everyone in our system build on our progress.”

Godowsky led the New Castle County Vo-Tech District for eight years beginning in 2003. That followed two decades working in the district as an assistant principal at Delcastle Tech, principal at Hodgson Vo-Tech, and assistant superintendent. During his time as superintendent, he served a term as President of the Delaware Chief School Officers Association for the 2007-08 school year. He also spent time earlier in his career as a special education teacher in the Alfred I. DuPont School District.

“I am honored to accept this opportunity to support the outstanding work of our educators and continue the Administration’s commitment to give our students the best opportunity to learn and achieve,” said Godowsky. “If I’m fortunate enough to be confirmed by the Senate, I look forward to successfully continuing the Governor’s priorities, while building on the critically important relationships among school districts and charters, teacher groups, parents, legislators, and community leaders for the benefit of our students.”

OMG Exceptional Delaware attempting to out someone! Kevin not good dude!

I’ve never blogged a reblog, but today is a first for many things. I appreciate Kilroy’s point of view on this matter. To clarify, it was not an attempt, it was done. For all to see. And I would do the same in a heartbeat. I’ve received numerous emails in regards to this from various individuals. I’ve seen comments on the original post, and on here. To those who are berating me about this, where are your comments about what was done? Those things don’t matter in the realm of “blogger honor”?
When I started Exceptional Delaware, it wasn’t to have a virtual table as Kilroy calls his blog. That is certainly Kilroy’s right, and I would never tell him how to run his blog. My blog has always been about getting to the truth in this crazy Delaware education arena. To say it has been surreal would be an understatement. But I have always attempted and done my best to deliver that truth. The lines of truth became very fuzzy in two situations recently: the Smarter Balanced scores and the Christina School District. In both these areas of controversy, I was given misleading and false information. It was very convincing information, and I acted on it. I truly didn’t know who to believe until I brought it up at the Christina board meeting the other night in public comment. As I stood directly in front of Harrie Ellen Minnehan, and lobbied an accusation against her and another board member, and gave the information that was presented to me as best I could, I saw the look in her eyes. It was that of betrayal, like I shot her through the chest. It didn’t register at first, because she stopped me from continuing to talk and denied the allegation. It was at this moment I realized I had been bamboozled. I also knew, based on my comment, it wouldn’t be very difficult for anyone to figure out where I got my information from. I received a Facebook message from Harrie Ellen that night, very upset. And I don’t blame her. And I want to apologize to her, right here, right now, and say I’m sorry. And to Shirley Saffer as well. I believed Donna Johnson over them, and I was wrong. I took the information provided to me and ran with it because it made sense in an odd and twisted way based on the delivery of the information and the timing. I had communicated with Donna in the past, but never over the phone. But I now realize I was wrong. I struggled all day on Wednesday with what to do with this information, and how to go about it. Do I call Donna Johnson? Do I respond to Harrie Ellen? I knew if I called Donna it would give her a major heads up and she would cover her tracks very fast. I didn’t know what to say to Harrie Ellen cause I was embarrassed. As I struggled to figure it all out, I went back and read all of it, everything Donna had said in comments on my blog, and in emails, and more recently in texts. I realized I was being played, and to the unseeing observer, it wouldn’t look like much. But I knew, and I knew I had to do something about it.
If it were anyone else, I would not have outed them. But I write about education, and when the Executive Director of the State Board of Education is giving me false information, there is no easy way to handle that. I made a call, and I stand by that call.

I could have outed our good friend Publius a thousand times, but I never have. But that does not mean he has carte blanche to attack me anytime he wants. Kilroy stated in the below article on how he will intervene if comments get too personal. But yet he allows this Publius to constantly say whatever he wants to insult others, and Publius keeps doing it. So I’m sorry Kilroy, but I don’t really see you doing this based on the fact that Publius seems to get this pass from you. If that is blogger honor. A few weeks ago he went after me as a parent of a special needs child, and now he is making comments about my family and employer? What do either of those have to do with anything? Publius doesn’t draw attention, he draws disgust, from many.

This was not a decision I made lightly, and I knew I would get heat for it. And I shoulder that responsibility. But at the end of the day, at least for me, my blogging has always been about informing parents. For a long time, I didn’t even get many comments. But I didn’t care, because I knew articles were read. But somewhere along the way, people like Donna, as well as others, thought they could use my blog to not only discredit me, but also to get their agendas going, which I am vehemently against. Not because it isn’t good for me. It’s not good for my son, it’s not good for teachers, and it certainly isn’t good for the students of Delaware. As more and more parents eyes open and realize, without any help from me, what is really going on with education, they seek me out. They seek Kilroy out, and Kavips, and all the rest. They find us. It’s how I started. And that is what Exceptional Delaware is, a place to find the truth in education. As is Kilroys. But my blog is not a haven for any government or education official to use me or my blog to further the very same things I write about. I will stand by that until the end of time. And that’s why I did what I did.

+++Breaking News+++ Exclusive to Transparent Christina. DOE earthquake to strike tomorrow.