By DR. RASHAWN M. ADAMS
It is my great honor and privilege to introduce myself as acting superintendent of the Asbury Park school district. I look forward to meeting and working with each of you during this transitional period of our district. I am extremely excited to spend the coming months of July and August speaking with our dedicated Board of Education members and supporting the many talented students, dedicated teachers, hardworking district/building leaders, committed and involved parents, and collaborative community partners. Although I am entering my seventh year in the district, this new role and responsibilities require transactional thinking. I am especially appreciative of my time working with previous Superintendent Dr. Sancha Gray. These crucial interactions allowed me to witness firsthand the multifaceted approach and skillsets necessary to successfully navigate this role and will undoubtedly ensure a smooth transition.
Thus far, this experience has — and continues to be — very positive and welcoming. I thank you all! My intention from this day forward is to build a bridge to span the tide of this transition while “Building A Brighter Future” for our students. My obligation is also to our families as it is my duty to uphold the traditions and values of my profession to ensure that we provide everyone with a quality education within a social-emotionally supportive environment each day. I believe that this will be accomplished through our unrelenting commitment to students, collaboration with all district stakeholders, transparent communication, and consistent systemic accountability. I assure you that I will show up daily with a resolute commitment to service. The educational choices that I will be tasked to make will be in alignment with New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE) policy/procedures, New Jersey law, and Asbury Park Board of Education policy/regulations. Also, please know that the crux of all of my decisions will focus on what is in the best interest of Asbury Park’s students.
During this summer transition period, ensuring that all our schools are safely and effectively ready to resume full-time, in-person learning in September 2021 is paramount. Additionally, we must work with a sense of urgency to acutely address the academic needs of our students that were magnified during the pandemic. I am certain that we will have success in mitigating learning losses as we continue to provide quality learning experiences thanks to our dedicated educators.
Below I am sharing my transition plan so that you will better understand the identified targets that will guide my actions during my first 90 days.
§ Ensure students are first in each decision made;
§ Create a culture of consistent, systemic accountability;
§ Build collaborative relationships with all stakeholders including but not limited to the Board of Education, Asbury Park Principals and Supervisors Association (APASA), and Asbury Park Education Association (APEA);
§ Increase efficiencies to ensure strong support for our schools; and
§ Establish a culture centered on effective best pedagogical practices of teaching and learning and transparent and honest communication.
As the chief learner in the district, I welcome the opportunity to grow, to lead better, and to listen to your ideas, hopes, and dreams for the Asbury Park School District. In the upcoming months, I will announce several Listening and Learning Sessions that I encourage you to attend.
Dr. Rashawn M. Adams is acting school superintendent of the Asbury Park school district.