TRENTON – Dr. Kathleen W. Taylor, chief education officer, Ocean City School District, was selected New Jersey's 2018 candidate for the American Association of School Administrators' (AASA) National Superintendent of the Year Award by the New Jersey Association of School Administrators (NJASA).
Taylor, the 2018 New Jersey Superintendent of the Year, was recognized by the New Jersey State Board of Education at a Dec. 6 ceremony, at the department’s Trenton headquarters, according to a release.
An NJASA panel selected two Regional Superintendent of the Year winners prior to selection of the State Superintendent of the Year. Taylor was selected the Region III winner. The other regional Superintendent of the Year joining her is Region II Charles B. Sampson, Chief Education Officer, Freehold Regional High School District.
This fall the two regional superintendents of the year were introduced at the NJASA Executive Committee’s October meeting at the annual fall workshop in Atlantic City. The workshop was co-sponsored by NJASA, the New Jersey Association of School Business Officials (NJASBO) and the New Jersey School Boards Association (NJSBA).
The next step in the process for the New Jersey 2018 Superintendent of the Year will be to participate in the AASA National Superintendent of the Year Award.
The program, in its 31st year and sponsored by First Student, VALIC, and AASA, pays tribute to the talent and vision of the men and women who lead the nation’s public schools.
NJASA Executive Director Dr. Richard G. Bozza stated, "Kathy Taylor is a dedicated, hard-working professional who continually strives to improve the quality of education for all students. She is a remarkable chief education officer with vision, imagination, and compassion for the students she serves. Her accomplishments exemplify what every chief education officer should achieve. "
Taylor stated, "I have been blessed with a challenging and rewarding career that has taken me from the classroom to the principal’s office to my role as superintendent of a high-achieving district in an idyllic community.
"But regardless of my role, responsibilities or district I serve, I never lose sight of what drew me to and ignited my passion for education, the students whose lives we as educators are privileged to touch and share."
Taylor, from her vantage point of 24-plus years’ experience as a school administrator, is most proud of fostering "leadership for learning" by making closing the achievement gap a district’s strategic plan goal and incorporating this goal as part of the evaluation system for the teachers, administrators and the chief education officer.
The strategic improvement strategies are aimed at analyzing the individual student scores, developing intervention strategies, and arranging for push-in and pull-out support schedules.
In addition, Taylor has actively engaged the students’ parents in ways that can help their children. Her leadership encouraged a partnership between the educators and parents that enables students to grow academically, and as a result work on closing the achievement gap.
As Taylor reflected upon the leadership in learning, she noted, "As a superintendent, I may no longer be in the classroom, but I strive to be sure we have the right folks in the classroom. Educators who believe in themselves, are passionate about their careers and, in turn, nurture and encourage every child to find his or her unique path to independence and happiness."
She continued, "From the preschoolers taking their first tentative steps into the classroom to the graduating seniors taking their first tentative steps into the world, my commitment and focus has always been on helping each student to find who they are and tap into what moves them. What makes them feel remarkable and unique? What brings them the greatest joy in school and in life? "
A prolific writer and presenter, Taylor serves as chair of the NJASA Curriculum and Instruction Committee. On behalf of NJASA, she participated in the NJEA Teacher Leader Summit.
In September 2011, she co-wrote a grant for the EE4NJ Pilot Program and subsequently the Ocean City School District was selected as one of the ten Cohort I Pilot Districts.
Taylor was appointed the chief education officer of the Ocean City School District in 2006.
Previously, she served in that position at the Sea Isle City School District and was assistant superintendent for Instructional Services and Secondary Administration for the School District of Haverford Township, Havertown, Pa.
She began her administrative career as a vice principal in the Norristown Area School District in Norristown, Pa., and then as principal in the same district.
Taylor served as president of the Cape May County Superintendents Association from 2015-2017.
She serves on the Executive Board of the Ocean City Education Foundation and the Ocean City Chamber of Commerce; the Ocean City’s Task Force for Health and Wellness; and organized and led the Ocean City School District’s and Community Committee for the "Did You Know Campaign," a drug prevention program.
She earned her Doctorate in Educational Administration from Widener University, Summa Cum Laude and was the recipient of the Landis Award for Outstanding Graduate Student. She received her Masters of Education from Arcadia University, Magna Cum Laude and with Distinction and her Bachelor’s degree from East Stroudsburg University, Cum Laude.
AASA will announce the National Superintendent of the Year at its Annual Conference on Education in February 2018.