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  • Superintendent Community Message: April 12, 2016

    I hope this communication finds you well. I had the great opportunity to dine with many of you on Friday, April 1st, when UPG, CAAA, and SEAC hosted a wonderful potluck dinner. My very special thanks goes out to our parent group leadership for hosting such a positive community-building event. A screening of the critically acclaimed film, Beyond Measure, followed dinner. I want to sincerely thank everyone who attended the movie, as its message aligns with our audacious goal of creating cutting edge, student-centered experiences for all Cheltenham students. Beyond Measure saw us collectively wondering what education looks like when we agree to approach teaching and learning in different and bold ways. It was an exciting evening and an important step on what I believe to be an amazing journey for us as an educational institution.

    Our journey has begun! For months now our Strategic Planning participants have collaborated to create a new design for our school district. Together we have reimagined the educational experience of our staff and students. Our work has been anchored in the belief that we must Think Differently and Act Boldly. The vision of the Strategic Plan is to, “create experiences that drive innovation and ignite passion for learning…so that our culturally diverse community becomes a model for excellence in education.” To attain this vision and achieve different and bold results, we are focusing critically and intentionally on Student Achievement, Curriculum & Instruction, Holistic Services, Professional Learning, and Communications & Engagement.

    As we continue to ignite our imaginations and Think Differently and Act Boldly, we must be prepared to embrace change. While we have a strong academic history to celebrate and many bright spots for which to be proud, our school district also has immediate areas of need that have to be addressed. Specifically, we must remedy substantial gaps in supervision, leadership, programming, and instruction. In my letter to the community on March 8th, I communicated that it is my duty to preserve the excellence that is synonymous with our name. I also stated that I am motivated to develop new sustainable systems that revitalize our school district and take us solidly into the future. At that time we initiated the first phase of administrative hiring. We targeted specific areas with specialized professionals that spoke to our most pressing needs.

    Now, we are ready to address our next set of organizational needs by initiating the second phase of hiring. Tonight, through the consolidation and collapsing of existing roles, I will recommend the four following Central Office positions for academic improvement to the Board of School Directors for approval:

    • Director of Elementary Education (K-6)

    • Director of Secondary Education (7-12)

    • Supervisor of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math)

    • Coordinator of Gifted Education and Professional Learning (K-12)

    These critical positions fill the substantial gaps mentioned above and were intentionally developed with student achievement and staff growth in mind. They are intended to bolster our new vision with fidelity by focusing on direct, ongoing monitoring of our K-12 instructional programming. The positions prepare us to update, implement, and evaluate new curricula and initiatives; increase our delivery of 21st Century skill-based instruction; and maximize professional development programming for our talented staff.

    In reference to the new administrative positions listed prior, I am pleased to announce that Mrs. Iris Parker will assume the role of Director of Elementary Education (K-6). Mrs. Parker has a rich professional background as a teacher and instructional leader. Her work history, which includes experiences as a pre-school supervisor, kindergarten instructor, elementary level math and reading intervention specialist, fifth/sixth grade teacher and middle school principal, allows her to clearly see and understand the instructional continuum that leads to high school success. Mrs. Parker will continue in her current role as Principal until July 1st and will assist with all transitional needs relative to new high school leadership. I want to personally thank Mrs. Parker for her dedication and commitment to Cheltenham High School’s staff and student body. She has played an instrumental role on our administrative team and will continue to do so as a key member of Central Office leadership. The other three positions listed will be filled through a traditional hiring process that will begin immediately.

    On May 17th, our five-year Strategic Plan will be presented to the Board of School Directors as part of the Educational Affairs Committee Meeting. I invite you to personally connect with our plan. Please come out or tune in from home to learn about our newly designed strategies. Our pathway to sustained excellence is a true journey. In future months I will continue to evaluate and reflect on how to better support and build a bright and proud future for Cheltenham School District. Thank you for your support and commitment as we Think Differently, Act Boldly and Move Ahead together.


    Wagner Marseille, Ed. D.

    Superintendent of Schools

    POSTED: 07-12-16

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