Superintendent finalist Jon Sills met with students on Wednesday, Feb. 24 during his visit to the high school. Sills is the third of the three Superintendent finalists to visit the high school this week. He met with a group of approximately 30 students during D-block during which he answered questions about his professional experience and vision for the school system.
Sills worked as the Social Studies Curriculum Coordinator for nine years before moving to the Bedford Public Schools. He worked as the Headmaster of Bedford High School for 12 years, and has been the Superintendent in Bedford for four years.
After introducing his experience, Sills opened up the discussion to questions from students in the audience. Sills said his top priority would be “to get into the schools to speak, listen and get perspectives on what is great and what needs to be fixed.”
Sills said he would also prioritize hiring new principals and central office staff to fill current vacancies and “creating conversations” about race. He also emphasized that students would be part of the decision-making process because “students are why we are here and are a wonderful resource for making things better.”
Many student questions centered around increased enrollment and the lack of space in schools. Sills said solutions require “thinking outside the box” and he would consider “creating an 8th and 9th grade school.”
Sills also affirmed a commitment to continuing METCO saying he is “very committed to what METCO stands for” and “wouldn’t come near” cutting METCO.
In response to questions about the lack of a contract for teachers, Sills emphasized “creating trust” because he thinks the two sides need a “common level of respect, trust and shared values to resolve differences.” Sills said he believes communication is vital in creating a strong school system, saying he is “a strong believer in the power of communication” because “very proactive communication is important and helps solves problems.”
Sills said that he is in favor of creating cultural competency classes for teachers, making discussions about racism a “natural part of the curriculum” and making classrooms “safe spaces” for these conversations.
Sills’ visit was the final visit by Superintendent finalist this week. Dr. Bernard Taylor visited the high school on Monday, Feb. 22 and Andrew Bott visited on Tuesday, Feb. 23.