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Superintendent Caulk Finalist for Superintendent Job in Kentucky

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Superintendent Caulk Finalist for Superintendent Job in Kentucky
Posted on 06/19/2015
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Portland Public Schools Superintendent Emmanuel Caulk is a finalist for a position as school superintendent for the 40,000-student Lexington, Ky. public school system. If he’s appointed to the new job, his departure date from the Portland school system will be determined by Caulk and the Portland Board of Public Education.

“The board will take the steps necessary, once Caulk is confirmed, to lay out a process for a possible interim superintendent placement and the timeline for a superintendent search,” said school board Chair Sarah Thompson.

Caulk was hired three years ago, in July 2012, and still has several years remaining on his contract. The school board this past November voted unanimously to extend his contract to June 2019, citing his leadership and dedication to the Portland Public Schools.

“I am most grateful to the school board for its support and I consider it a privilege and an honor to have been able to serve Portland Public Schools students, staff and families and the Portland community for the past three years,” Caulk said. “I will miss Portland, but I’m eager to take on a new career challenge that represents an opportunity for me personally and professionally. And I’m happy to report that I would be leaving this district stronger fiscally and academically and well on its way toward the goal of becoming the best small urban school district in the country by 2017.”

Thompson said, “We thank Superintendent Caulk for his service and wish him well regarding this potential new chapter of his life. He has been a transformational superintendent whose dedicated and visionary leadership has led to renewed optimism regarding Maine’s largest and most diverse school district. He and the board share a commitment to quality education and have worked well together to make significant improvements at the Portland Public Schools. I’m proud of the results, which include a balanced budget, progress on upgrading school facilities, a focus on student achievement, enhanced community outreach, increased parent engagement and new ways to recognize student and staff achievements.”

“The district now has a solid foundation on which to continue on this remarkable trajectory and sustain the success of Portland’s school system, which is one of the most important factors in the city’s long term viability and growth,” Thompson continued. “We are in a position of strength for the board to take the steps necessary to possibly appoint an interim superintendent and launch the search process for a new superintendent.” 

Initiatives and accomplishments under Caulk’s tenure for Portland’s approximately 7,000-student public school system include:

• An improved school budget process: Caulk worked to improve community input on the school budget, holding Town Hall budget meetings at the start of the budget process each year and developing an online budget toolkit that provides an easy and convenient way for the community to give input on the budget. He has linked the school budget to the Portland Public Schools’ Comprehensive Plan and his budgets have stabilized expenditures and been fair to taxpayers, while also putting students first and investing in employees and programs.

• Improved staff relations: Caulk has improved relations with union leaders and under his leadership three new labor contracts – with teachers, educational technicians and the district’s base union – have been approved over the past year. The teachers’ contract included 20 more minutes per day of instructional time for students and more professional learning time for teachers.

• The “Principal for a Day” program, which brings local business leaders into the schools: The program, run in partnership with the Portland Regional Chamber, dovetails with Caulk’s initiative to increase science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education in the district. This past November, the Portland Public Schools partnered with EnviroLogix to hold the first STEM Expo of student learning. That STEM partnership with EnviroLogix arose out of the Principal for a Day program, in which EnviroLogix CEO John Markin participated. Another STEM initiative was a “Super Science Makeover” of science classrooms at Lyman Moore Middle School, with $18,000 of equipment and 300 hours of volunteer time donated by IDEXX Laboratories.

• New ways to recognize staff and students: At each school board meeting, Caulk added to his superintendent’s report ceremonial recognitions of outstanding students and staff.

• Community relationship initiatives: Such initiatives have included Caulk being a guest speaker at the Portland Regional Chamber’s monthly Eggs & Issues forum and working with Portland ConnectEd – which brings together organizational leaders to build citywide, cradle-to-career support of high quality education – and other nonprofit entities.

• Community outreach efforts foster connections between the Portland Public Schools and parents and other community stakeholders: Caulk’s initiatives in that area have included an annual District Scorecard, a survey of district parents and students, the Parent University, the Superintendent’s Blog, the Superintendent’s Book Club, a community e-Newsletter and Let’s Talk Portland, an online communication tool for productive conversations between citizens and the Portland Public Schools about critical district issues and creating solutions for them, which is available 24/7.