The Lawrence Public Schools seeks a dynamic leader with proven experience who can lead the district’s ambitious turnaround efforts, support strong academic programs, empower teacher and administrator leadership while insisting on accountability for results, maintain a safe and positive learning environment and promote a culture of high expectations among all stakeholders.
The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) voted November 2011 to designate Lawrence Public Schools (LPS) – a school district of 13,800 students in Northeast Massachusetts – as being Level 5 (chronically underperforming) under MGL Chapter 69 Section 1K. In January 2012, Jeffrey C. Riley was appointed Receiver of the district, and he has served in that role for the past six years. In May 2012, after extensive discussions with stakeholders across the district and state, Commissioner Mitchell Chester and Receiver Jeffrey C. Riley created a turnaround plan for district improvement.
The turnaround plan establishes a bold mission: to create a new district model—later named “open architecture”— that provides individual schools with the freedom to direct their own improvement, with customized district support based on school needs. Key features of the plan include shifting more resources and autonomy to the school level; creating a leaner, more responsive central office; ensuring all schools have great leaders and teachers; harnessing the talents of partner organizations; expanding the school day and adding learning time for students; and increasing student engagement through enrichment opportunities.
Since 2012, LPS has seen gains in student growth and proficiency in the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS), leading to the addition of new Level 1 schools each year of the turnaround effort. High school graduation rates are up, and dropout rates are down. We continue to work toward the goal of providing all students with a rich, high-quality education that closes the achievement gap between our students and their suburban peers.
Today, the Lawrence Public Schools continues its mission to deliver a high-quality education for our community, leveraging the district’s vision of Four Pillars for student success.
Our educators draw from numerous resources to plan and implement lessons and use a range of formative and summative assessments to provide vital data to drive instruction in the classroom. We believe that with hard work and increased learning time, all students can perform at high levels. Our schools also provide students access to high-quality enrichment opportunities to ensure they receive a well-rounded education. Finally, our educators seek to develop critical thinking and fluid reasoning skills that are vital to our students’ success after graduation.
In July 2018, LPS will enter a new phase of receivership with a local and state partnership governance structure. The new governance structure will consist of a partnership board, named Lawrence Alliance for Education (LAE), which will oversee the district; and, with the commissioner’s approval, will hire a superintendent who will manage the district on a day-to-day basis starting July 1.
In the coming weeks, the LAE, with support from the superintendent search firm Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates, will engage community stakeholders – students, parents, families, teachers and staff, administrators and community partners – in opportunities to provide further input on the qualities and characteristics of the next superintendent. The ideas expressed by the stakeholders will be instrumental in helping to inform the screening and interview process. Reporting directly to the LAE, the superintendent shall pursue a vision for school improvement grounded in collaboration with the many community stakeholders who yearn for change within, and are deeply invested in, the improvement of schools in this culturally diverse community.
Harnessing the power of these community stakeholders in Lawrence will be essential to the success of the next superintendent of Lawrence Public Schools.
To be considered for this role, it is recommended that candidates meet the following requirements:
- MA DESE superintendent/assistant superintendent license, or eligible for such license;
- Experience as a superintendent of schools, a school principal, director of a public, private or charter school, or director of an educational nonprofit;
- Demonstrated record of success in improving low performing schools or district or the academic performance of disadvantaged students (including of economically disadvantaged students, English Learners, students with disabilities, and students with disabilities who are also English Learners);
- Demonstrated record of success in improving outcomes for English learners while maintaining and promoting their linguistic and cultural identities;
- Demonstrated record of success creating inclusive opportunities, with supports, for all students with disabilities regardless of disability type or whether they are performing at grade-level, and ensuring that the needs of students with disabilities are addressed proactively in ongoing school-based and district-wide general education reform efforts;
- Experience in developing and managing a budget;
- Demonstrated effectiveness as an instructional leader and guiding school improvement processes;
- Experience promoting and establishing practices to equitably serve indigenous students and students of color;
- Experience in communicating and working with a wide array of community stakeholders including, where relevant, constituencies within all levels of state and district administration, principals, teachers, community partners, parents, and other providers in a coordinated effort to meet education improvement priorities;
- Master’s degree in the field of education; and
- Bilingual/Spanish language skills strongly preferred.