OASD extends contracts for superintendent, assistant superintendent for five years
● By Steven Hoffman
When David Woods was hired to serve as the superintendent of schools of Oxford in mid-2013, one of the first important hires was bringing in Dr. Margaret Billings-Jones to fill the district's number-two post. The two top administrators have worked collaboratively since then to help the district to review and align its curriculum, enhance STEM education, invest in technology, and increase educational opportunities for students.
The school board has been satisfied with the administrative team's vision, and the implementation of that vision, to the point where the board sought an early agreement on a five-year contract extension with both Woods and Billings-Jones. The Oxford School Board approved the contract extensions, effective from July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2021, at the June 21 meeting.
School board member Joseph Tighe said that the board was pleased to be able to extend the contracts of Woods and Billings-Jones so that can continue the work that they've been doing in the three years since joining the school district.
“We think they are doing a great job,” Tighe said, adding that the contract extensions for the administrative team is a way to show support for the work that is being done district-wide.
“This is a testament to the support the board has for the programs they have put in place, and the vision they represent,” said school board president Richard Orpneck. “As we start implementing the third year of the new curriculum, we felt we needed to keep consistency through the four-year program, and give it the stability it needs to be successful. Through hard work and cooperation from our talented teachers, staff and aides, the board believes we are on the right track to make our school district second to none.”
Woods said that he was pleased by the school board's faith in the leadership team's vision for the district.
“I'm glad that we can continue to build on these initiatives,” he said. “We want to continue to put the kids first. It's all about preparing the students for the next opportunity.”
Woods, who came to the school district having already served as a superintendent of the Riverside School District in Lackawanna County for about five years, said that he is proud of what the school district has accomplished with everyone working together. He emphasized the importance of teamwork.
“I'm not proud of anything that I've achieved here,” Woods explained. “But we're proud as a district of what we've achieved together. It's the administrative team, the staff, the parents—it's everyone working together.”
Woods said that he is pleased that the district has increased the educational opportunities for students through partnerships with Cecil College that allow students to earn college credits while still in high school through the Cecil College Early College Academy.
The district has also increased its focus on science and technology, including STEM programming that has been added. The district has aligned its K-12 science curriculum. The district has invested in technology and established numerous community partnerships that benefit students.
Woods lauded Billings-Jones for helping to develop a vision for the district, and then working with the building administrators and teaching staff to implement that vision.
“We work together on all things,” he said, “and we make a good team.”
Billings-Jones came to the school district with more than 20 years of experience in education, including ten as a superintendent. She has helped the district earn a number of grants, including funding to implement STEM programming. She has also led the district’s efforts to review and align the math, arts, and science curriculum.
“We've really taken steps forward in a lot of areas,” Billings-Jones said. She gave credit to the principals, assistant principals, and teachers in the district.
“We are leading very good people,” she said, adding that Oxford is also a very supportive community, and the hard work of parents and, of course, the students, are important ingredients to the success of the district.
“The children are tremendous,” Billings-Jones said. “They are very interested in learning.”