Barnstable’s New Superintendent
December 8, 2016
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“When you get a new position, it gives you a chance to try some things that you had thought of before, but never implemented” said Meg Mayo-Brown, the new Superintendent of Barnstable Public Schools. Mayo-Brown, who took the helm on July 1, has started to implement many unique innovations in the past several months, with a special emphasis on communication. One of these implementations, which she had thought of but never tried, is her Twitter account (@meg_BPS) where she shares some of the district’s most exciting activities and student achievements. Mayo-Brown, the prior Superintendent of Fall River Public Schools for seven years, stressed the values of communication by spending ten days in Barnstable visiting schools, meeting with educators, and becoming acquainted with the students, even before July 1.
“There are nineteen different languages spoken at BHS,” said Mayo-Brown, “it is a true world community.” Mayo-Brown embraced this diversity in her own planning, believes that it would “be a disservice to the community” to decide on the goals and objectives of the district without first “understanding Barnstable through its schools, and the students within them.” On that note, she is asking tough questions to her many constituent groups, including school faculty councils, leadership teams, unions, and student organizations, in her detailed entry plan, which can be found on the Barnstable Public Schools website.
She has also met with B2B TV to discuss advertising campaigns and has worked to make the BPS district homepage more appealing and informative. Of course, she wants to address some of the more contentious issues in the community. She stepped into the position during the ongoing discussion of school start times, and felt that “transportation planning” is the real impediment towards adjusting the time. Nevertheless, she gave a conservative estimate of one to two years for a change in the times, she added that “good work is being done.”
Of course, in conjunction with school start times, Mayo-Brown also stepped into the BHS schedule discussions. She said that she is “in conversations with the Barnstable Teachers Association on the matter.” But went on to add that, rather than in past attempts, the schedule must be built with students and staff actively engaged in the process; the students and staff need to be included and define what schedule would embody “our core values.” She estimated that a full schedule change may occur in the 2018-2019 school year, with a partial schedule change next year.
When able to put the demands of the office aside, Mayo-Brown spends her spare time becoming acquainted with all that Barnstable has to offer. She said that the “structure of the town” is ultimately what brought her here. Barnstable’s seven villages have a “unique feel,” and she said that some of her favorite places around town include Rendezvous Cafe, the Green Lotus, Nirvana Coffee, and Sandy Neck on a summer afternoon. Even her own office made it on the list: “how lucky am I to look out on our Town Green, where so much is happening all of the time,” she said.
Finally, Mayo-Brown has based her leadership style on the most important position of all: being a mother of four. “I am a mother first, educator second” she added. She indicated that her own experience in raising her four boys has lent her a great deal of perspective on what she would want for her own children. For Mayo-Brown, “the students are my family, and I always want what is best for my family.”