Breaking News: Newark Charter School Leader Greg Meece To Retire End Of School Year

The following email went out to Newark Charter School parents this evening.  Greg Meece is retiring as Head of School at Newark Charter School.

Dear Newark Charter School Community:

It has been an honor to serve students and families in Delaware through my chosen vocation of education for nearly 40 years. The last 18 years can only be described as a “dream job” – starting and leading the greatest school of them all: Newark Charter School. It is, therefore, with mixed emotions that I am announcing my retirement this coming summer. By announcing this now, I give our Board of Directors ample time to find my replacement, and our Board has asked me to take a major role in the transition process.  A letter from our Board Chair, Dr. Franklin Newton, is attached.

NCS Board Chair Letter 1-15-19.pdf

I am confident that a qualified leader with creative ideas, loads of energy and a deep commitment to our school’s mission will take Newark Charter School to the next level. 

Deciding to transition from something you’ve spent your whole adult life doing is not easy. Not when you love what you do. My wife Rosemary, also a career educator, is retiring as well. We have discussed this for a long time, and we agreed to make the move together.

Leaving the place you come to work each morning is especially hard when it is so much a part of you. My heart and soul are forever fused with this remarkable institution. I am part of this school and it is a part of me.

I feel that the time is right for me to step aside. I am leaving our community with a school that is in great shape now and is well-positioned for a bright and promising future. We recently completed our Strategic Long-Range Plan. Our charter has a brand-new 10-year renewal term. Our two-time National Blue Ribbon School earned “straight A’s” on all of Delaware’s 2018 measures of charter school success. We have a healthy waiting list of students. Our finances and management rank among the top charter schools in the country. We acquired land and a building next door where we can grow. We have made substantial progress on a plan to greatly enhance our campuses and buildings.

As you might imagine, building and directing Newark Charter School over the last 18 years has been an all-encompassing endeavor. While I will greatly miss the entire community, come July, I am excited to spend more time with my family. With my one-year-old granddaughter and my father in his 90s, it is an interesting time in one’s life to be a bridge that links generations. Beyond spending more time with family, I am not sure what the future holds for me. After a chance to “smell the roses,” I most likely will look forward to new challenges, either part-time or full-time, in education or in something completely different.

Change will be challenging for all of us. I offer this advice that I, too, try to remember everyday: embrace change as something healthy and renewing. At the same time, never lose sight of what got us here, what we stand for, our “North Star.”

I am forever grateful to the founding board of directors who gave me this opportunity, and to the current board for their tremendous support. Nobody could ask for better colleagues. I am blessed to work beside so many teachers, staff and fellow administrators who bring true excellence to our school every day, for every child. Committed parents started Newark Charter School. I saw the powerful relationship between parents and staff – home and school. I will always cherish the many ways I have gotten to know and work with such involved and supportive partners in education.

Most of all, I will miss our students. Following Newark Charter School’s opening day of school in 2001, I mentioned to someone, “If my career ended today I would feel fulfilled.” Seeing children so happy, so proud to be here, even though their school was nothing more than rented trailers on a borrowed property, I knew that I was part of something special. Eighteen school years later, I retire with pride, gratitude and love for the children who breathed life into this school and for all the students who make Newark Charter School such a wonderful place now and for many years to come.

Forever grateful,

Gregory Meece

Breaking News: Red Clay Superintendent Merv Daugherty To Resign

The Red Clay Consolidated School District community will be in shock over this.  Superintendent Merv Daugherty will be resigning as of November 1st.  A tweet sent out this morning indicated he will be accepting a position out of stated.

Daugherty has been with Red Clay a long time, from July, 2009 to the present.  He saw the district through the dreaded Race To The Top years, priority schools, the rise of educational technology, and the strange new era of competency-based education and personalized learning.

Daugherty was the Delaware Superintendent of the Year for the 2015-2016 school year.

The Red Clay board will have to get moving now if they want to find a new Superintendent by the time Merv retires.  Most Superintendent searches can take a good 5-6 months.  This gives them less than 3 months.

I wish Merv all the best in his retirement.  I’ve dealt with him many times and he would respond to me in a timely fashion.  Good luck Merv!

Updated, 9:43am:  Red Clay just announced the following on their Facebook account-

The Red Clay Board of Education will meet in executive session on Aug. 28, 2018 to discuss naming an interim superintendent, engaging a search firm to assist and guide the board in moving forward and the process the district will use in its search for Dr. Daugherty’s replacement. Details will be released shortly thereafter.

Updated, 9:48am: Red Clay sent out the following press release about Daugherty’s resignation-

My Challenge To Secretary Bunting

Over the past few weeks, I’ve written several articles about Patrick Miller and Dr. Susan Bunting.  As sources continue to give me more information, the news from Governor Carney and the Delaware Department of Education in response to this have been non-existent.  Half the state knows about this but the state agencies involved with this are on mute. Continue reading

Appoquinimink CFO Chuck Longfellow Is The New DOE Associate Secretary of Operations & Other DOE News

While the Delaware Department of Education has not formally announced Chuck Longfellow as their new Associate Secretary of Operations, it looks like his former home, the Appoquinimink School District, let the cat out of the bag on their website.  No start date has been announced yet and Longfellow still appears on the Appo website as their Finance Director. Continue reading

The Exceptional Delaware Hero Of The Year 2017: Laurie Howard

I normally wait to release this until the last day of the year, but this year’s hero demanded the honor sooner.  You see, Laurie Howard passed away.  Surrounded by her loved ones, she left us far too soon.  Laurie was many things: a mother, a wife, a teacher, and a friend.

I’ve known Laurie for almost three years.  I met her through this blog.  A teacher in Caesar Rodney School District, Laurie and I were in fierce agreement on many things.  That standardized testing in the form of the Smarter Balanced Assessment is wrong.  That every single parent has a fundamental right to opt their child out of that test.  That corporations are slowly taking over public schools and school districts are powerless to stop it.

Laurie even had her own short-lived blog but only a select few were aware it was her.  Back in 2015, Laurie launched a blog where she challenged the Delaware State Education Association to fervently support House Bill 50.  She called out DSEA leadership for their sheepish support of the legislation.  The blog did not last long as Laurie was terrified of being found out and terminated from her job as a teacher.  But it had an impact.  From accounts I heard, Jenner was very upset about Laurie’s blog posts.  But Laurie felt strongly the teacher’s union was in bed with the privateers in public education.  At least their leadership was. I loved that blog and I wish Laurie had been able to continue it but I completely understand her reasoning to end it abruptly.  Many assumed they knew who wrote that blog but they were wrong. It was a secret that I carried to her grave. But I know she would not mind having this knowledge out now. To me, it was one of her many legacies. My only regret is not saving her articles for posterity and remembrance.  When Laurie shut down the blog she deleted all of the posts.

Laurie joined the Delaware Parent Teacher Association in 2015 so she could be in a position to advocate to a wider audience. She was well aware and did research on the corporate education reform movement and the dangers it posed in our public schools.  One of her articles focused on how PISA was a misused test. One of her biggest worries was the growing amount of tracking going on with students.  She felt, and I agree, that schools have become more about diagnosing students than educating them.  She did not like the feds controlling education and thought they should stick their noses out of local control.

In 2016, Laurie started another blog in an attempt to save the Schwartz Center for the arts in Dover.  She was a fervent supporter of theater and the arts.  I wished she had won that fight as well.

Last Spring, Laurie was diagnosed with lung cancer.  She was already set to retire at the end of the 2016-2017 school year.  I had the honor of attending her retirement party at the Schwartz Center in Dover.  She was happy and humbled by so many of her peers and friends celebrating her time as a Delaware educator.

I talked to Laurie over the summer, mostly on social media.  She was scared.  She didn’t want to leave.  But she didn’t want the world to see this.  I did my best to not talk about education matters because I wanted the borrowed time I spent with her to be about her and to see if she needed anything.  On her Facebook page, she talked about how beautiful this world is and she put on a brave face.  In the past few weeks, Laurie put this up on her account:

Okay, time is getting mighty precious lately. I’ve been brought to the Delaware Hospice Center in Milford. My hope is that the awesome care I’ve received the past two days here will provide for extended life opportunities with my friends and family! I was asked to help my friends figure out what to say or do as a result of this stay. Just know if I’m your FB friend, we are friends. I love you, I care about you and your family. You don’t have to send expressions of love and longtime friendships (unless you want too). My love and best wishes for a long and healthy life are sent without question. Love to all!

Laurie’s post was just who she was.  A couple of years ago, Laurie was able to answer a question for me.  One that haunted my soul for a long time.  It was purely coincidental, and while I won’t get into the question, it did give me understanding and comfort about someone.  For the longest time, I thought this person was evil incarnate but Laurie urged me to forgive this person.  And I did.  That’s who she was.

Together with our friend Natalie, we would haunt meetings in Dover.  Especially the Assessment Inventory Committee and meetings about the opt out bill.  We would give public comment about how bad the testing was and how it wasn’t right for Delaware children.  Laurie’s struggles with students in the classroom over this test are very similar throughout the state.  My only wish was that Laurie would have been able to use her voice at its full force because it was a voice worth hearing. I will miss you Laurie Howard. I find comfort that you are watching over all of us and I pray that you can impart your wisdom to those who think education is a financial playground. I know Laurie would want me to keep fighting the fight, and I will, the best I can.  May you rest in peace my sweet friend.

Breaking News: Major “Retirement” At Delaware DOE

One of the big heads at the Delaware Department of Education is retiring. Which one? Continue reading

Is This The Last Term For State Rep. Earl Jaques?

One vote last night signifies that it might be.  The VERY controversial Senate Substitute 1 for Senate Bill 5 passed the Delaware House last night and goes to Governor Carney for signature.  The bill dealt with late-term abortion.  Without getting into the whole pro-life/pro-choice argument, I was against this bill at first but did grow to support it.  State Rep. Earl Jaques, along with Rep. Gerald Brady, were the sole Democrats in the House who voted no.  Jaques claimed it was because the majority of his constituents were against the bill.

No matter what side of the political fence you are on, Roe v. Wade is one of the cornerstones of politics.  Pro-choice is about as Democrat as you can get.  Could Jaques’ vote indicate he will not run in 2018 for his House seat?  I would say yes.  In conversations with Earl over the past couple of years, I can sense a feeling of closure.  I believe his swan song will be some type of school district consolidation bill which I anticipate will come out in the next three weeks.  By voting no on this bill, even though he stated many of his constituents were against the bill, it is a very un-Democrat vote.

This would leave a vacancy for the Chair of the House Education Committee.  Could Vice-Chair, State Rep. Kim Williams, fill the void in 2019?  It is very early in the guessing games for this stuff.  But I would say out of all the State Reps involved in education, she has certainly earned that position.

Smyrna Superintendent Deborah Wicks Retiring This Year

The Superintendent of the Smyrna School District, Deborah Wicks, is retiring at the end of June.  As one of Delaware’s largest growing school districts, Wicks has Smyrna through a very huge growth spurt.  Nineteen years is a long time as the leader of anything.  I want to wish Mrs. Wicks all the best in her life after Smyrna.  This district is one I really haven’t written much about over the past few years which is probably a good thing!  Now the hunt will be on for her replacement.

deborahwicksretiring

Indian River CFO Patrick Miller Retires Amidst State Audit Of District Finances

The Chief Financial Officer of the Indian River School District, Patrick Miller, will be able to retire according to  Jon Budler with Delaware 105.9.  Miller was put on paid administrative leave last month after allegations surface of financial malfeasance.  The Delaware State Auditor’s office is conducting an audit of the district’s finances.

As per the article, Miller will be able to keep his pension but his retirement will save the district the burden of paying his $162,258 yearly salary during what could be a lengthy state audit process.  Miller was also the subject of an audit with Brandywine School District when he had the same title there in the 1990s.  He began his stint with Indian River in 1998 but the state audit report did not come out until 2000.

As per Indian River Board President Dr. Don Hattier:

This is what we’re stuck with. If Mr. Miller is allowed to retire, at least he’s off our payroll which safes the district a ton of money. I believe that’s what the public wants us to do.

Milford Superintendent To Retire After Two Failed Referendums

Referendum.  Many school districts in Delaware fear this word.  It can make or break a district.  No where has this been more evident than the Christina School District.  After two failed referendums last year, the district has been forced to make painful cuts to their schools and services.  Now the virus has infected Milford School District.  Like Christina, they experienced two referendums that did not pass.  In the midst of this, their Superintendent Phyllis Kohel announced her retirement at the end of the 2015-2016 school year.

According to the Milford Beacon, Kohel announced her intention to retire at the Milford School District board meeting Monday night.

“This is my 32nd year and it’s a very difficult position,” she said. “I like to think that I have, but I don’t know if I’ve ever worked so hard in my life as I have with this position.

“It’s very demanding and can be very disappointing at times, particularly when you’re in referendum mode as we’ve been in for the past two years.”

Mike Finney, the writer of the article, explained how Kohel served the school district for the past 31 years, and has been Superintendent since 2012.  As the second district this school year facing Superintendent and referendum woes, this could be a sign of things to come with Delaware’s antiquated funding system.  Meanwhile, in Wilmington, a commission of 23 will attempt to tackle this issue head-on and devise a new way of funding our schools.  This school year will be one of massive change in Delaware, between a new Secretary, Smarter Balanced results, parent opt-out, redistricting, WEIC, and an upcoming budget battle in the General Assembly that promises to be controversial.

Capital School District Superintendent Dr. Thomas Announces Retirement June 2015 @KilroysDelaware @ed_in_de #netde #eduDE

Dr. Michael Thomas, at the Capital School District Board meeting last night, announced his retirement as superintendent of the Capital School District effective June 30, 2015.

Dr. Thomas joined the Capital School District as superintendent in 2002.  For the past 14 years, he has guided Capital into a thriving district.  His leadership has culminated with the latest, groundbreaking new Dover High School.

Members of the board and presenters thanked Dr. Thomas for his years of service.