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Jeanne Crocker Appointed as Interim Superintendent

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Jeanne Crocker Appointed as Interim Superintendent
Posted on 07/07/2015
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The Portland Board of Public Education has appointed Jeanne Crocker, currently the Portland Public Schools’ director of school management, to serve as interim superintendent for one year. Crocker is stepping in to replace Superintendent Emmanuel Caulk, who is leaving to take a new superintendent post in Kentucky.

The school board’s vote to approve the appointment of Crocker took place at a special meeting on July 7. The board and Caulk have agreed that his last day with the district will be July 31. Crocker, who has worked closely with Caulk and is his designee at events he is unable to attend in person, will officially take over as interim superintendent on Aug. 1.

The school board chose to have an interim superintendent for one year to give it time to conduct a comprehensive national search for a new superintendent to lead Maine’s largest and most diverse school system, which has approximately 7,000 students. Crocker does not plan to apply for the position on a permanent basis, as she has plans to retire after the one-year appointment ends.

“We’re very happy to have such a qualified administrator able to step into this position,” said school board Chair Sarah Thompson. “We expect the transition will be a smooth one because Jeanne has been working side by side with the current superintendent and will be able to guide the district along the solid trajectory of success that he has established. And not only does she have a wealth of professional experience, but the board also has witnessed her strong leadership skills as she worked with us on many projects and occasionally sat in for the superintendent at board meetings.”

Crocker said, “I welcome this new opportunity to serve the district over the next year. My goals are to sustain and bolster all the good work that’s underway, with a focus on students and fostering their academic success. Key will be a constant review of student data and of school success plans, which were instituted by Superintendent Caulk and are roadmaps for each school. Also key will be continuing to empower school building leaders, teachers, and staff in planning and decision-making, with Central Office personnel poised to maximize their efforts in support of student achievement in our schools. Fostering teamwork and valuing each other’s contributions also will continue to be essential as we work together to ensure student success.”

Crocker, 60, a Scarborough resident, was hired by the Portland Public Schools in 2014 to become director of school management. That new position was created during Caulk’s tenure and the job’s primary job duties are to provide direct support and supervision to the principals of the district’s schools.

Previously, Crocker was assistant executive director of the Maine Principals’ Association (MPA) from 2011 to 2014. She also was an adjunct professor in supervision and evaluation of school personnel at the University of Southern Maine from 2012 to 2013.

Prior to that she spent 28 years at South Portland High School, where she was principal for 13 years. She started in 1983 as a French and Spanish teacher, served as assistant principal from 1993 to 1994 and later became principal, a post she held from 1998 to 2011. Crocker also taught Spanish at Windham High School from 1977 to 1983 and at Waterville High School from 1976 to 1977.

Crocker received a bachelor of arts degree in French and Spanish in 1976 from Colby College and a master's degree in school administration in 1979 from the University of Southern Maine.

Honors she has received include being chosen in 2003 as Maine's High School Principal of the Year. Crocker received that MPA award based on her accomplishments as an educational leader. The MPA said at the time that her “professionalism, leadership, and commitment to excellence in educating all students represent the very best qualities of the effective high school principal in Maine. Because of her leadership, South Portland High School is truly a community of learners engaged in school improvement that positively impacts the academic achievement of students. She has a knack of knowing where the school needs to go and leads people to it.”

She also won an Outstanding Educator Award from Colby College in 2006 and is a member of the USM Wall of Fame, Educational Leadership. In 1990, Crocker received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Foreign Language Association of Maine and in 1998 was a nominee for Maine Foreign Language Teacher of the Year.

Crocker has applied to the Maine Department of Education for a conditional superintendent certificate. She does not anticipate problems in meeting the requirements to be issued that certificate.

As of July 1, Caulk’s current annual salary is $138,875. Crocker will be paid the same amount during her year as interim superintendent.

Caulk, who got married in June, recently accepted a job as superintendent of the 40,000-student Fayette County Public Schools in Kentucky, a state where he has personal ties. He has been with the Portland Public Schools since 2012 and his contract had been extended until 2019, but the board has accepted his resignation.