Danville BOE hears from new Success and Equity officer, district to hire assistant superintendent

Published 7:55 am Tuesday, November 8, 2022



The Danville Schools Board of Education heard a presentation from the new Success and Equity officer, George Baker, at their meeting on Oct. 24.

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The Student Success and Equity officer is a new position for Danville Schools, and was approved in June at the recommendation of the new Superintendent Greg Ross. A goal for the position is to address student achievement and opportunity gaps to better serve minority students, students with special needs and/or disabilities, and students experiencing socioeconomic hardship.

Being new to the position, Baker talked about how he’s planning to achieve that goal and what he’s currently doing. Baker was previously a basketball coach at Paris High School.

Baker said in order to preach success to kids, he needs to make himself seen on campus, and create relationships with students.

“The only way these kids are really going to get in touch with who you are, and talk about some things they may not talk about with other people, and listen to you when you tell your story about success and failures, I think they have to trust you, and when they trust you, they’ll talk to you,” Baker said.

Baker recently held a student success and equity workshop, and had about 15 kids show up. He shared with them his story from middle school to now, talking about positive and negative impacts on his journey.

He is starting by focusing efforts mainly on kids at the high school, and will move to the middle and elementary schools soon.

He will help students with ACT prep; plan field trip visits to colleges and have colleges come to Danville schools; have workplace visits for kids who don’t plan on going to college; have community service outings in the new year; and have grade checks with rewards for students.

Another goal for Baker is to lay out a framework for what the position will look like going forward. He said he wants whoever holds the position decades in the future to have a clear picture of the criteria and how to be successful in the position.

“The most important thing for me right now is establishing a relationship with all the kids,” Baker said. “I want them to see me in my goofiest mistakes, and laugh and joke and talk, but also understand that I’ve got a lot to give you guys.”

The district is seeking to hire an assistant superintendent. Ross said this is to help instructional leaders and take back some responsibilities that were spread out to other staff.

The position will provide leadership for the planning, development, and implementation of curricular and instructional resources; collaborate with district and school leaders to determine academic, instructional, and professional learning needs and ongoing support; and provide leadership to the district as assigned.

Requirements for the job include a master’s degree with at least 60 hours of graduate credit, minimum of five years experience in school administration, and appropriate certifications. People on the superintendent’s committee will also serve as a screening committee for candidates. Ross said he hopes to get someone in the position by the new year.

In other business, the board:

• Approved a mutual agreement of cancellation of an Ephraim McDowell contract for athletic trainers.

• Heard a presentation by Bate students about ancient and modern theater history.