A Special Interview: April 2022
What do you consider to be the most important education issue facing Baltimore County and how are you working to address it?
The most important issue today is addressing the impact of learning loss brought on by the pandemic. In order to accelerate learning, we must first address the social emotional needs of students and staff. We have developed a year-long professional learning plan for all members of Team BCPS that in part focuses on social emotional learning, learning acceleration and increased data literacy. By equipping educators with these tools, we anticipate that they will be able to meet the needs of students and provide supports to improve outcomes.
What is the most challenging part of working towards equitable education?
Ensuring that everyone understands the definition of educational equity and changing behaviors to ensure that outcomes are not predictable by race, service group or socioeconomic status. Creating processes and procedures to consistently monitor and evaluate our practices to prevent unintended impacts on students is very challenging.
How are you inspiring the next generation of educators?
I believe the next generation of educators must reflect the diversity that exists within the system to help students see themselves as leaders. The next generation of educators must love the profession and be able to work with all students regardless of race, service group, gender or socioeconomic status. I focus on nurturing students who are our future leaders in all of the classrooms that I visit. I spend time speaking with staff and students and providing them with opportunities to consider their potential impact and discuss the rewards of a career in education.
What life experience has most shaped who you are as a leader?
My experiences as a student and parent have shaped me as a leader. As a student, having that cool, great teacher – Mr. Leroy Swain and principal who did everything well for the school community, shaped and inspired my vision of success. When I became a father, I immediately understood that parents wanted the best for their kids and what was needed from the school system.
In your opinion, what personal trait is most important to being a good leader and why?
Interpersonal skills. This job is a “people” profession, and you must like people in order to interact, relate and connect in service and support of students.