JACKSON – The seven members of the Jackson School District Board of Education will soon begin the process of searching for a new superintendent of schools following an announcement by Stephen Genco that he plans to retire on July 1, 2020.
Board members accepted Genco’s notice of retirement in August and said they are taking the initial steps to identify his successor. More information will be discussed with the community when a plan is formulated, according to the board.
Genco said the respect he has for his co-workers and the connection he feels with students are the primary reasons why his decision to retire was so difficult.
“I am, of course, grateful to be retiring after 34 years in education with a happy heart and on the best of terms with our board and staff,” he said. “I am eager, though, for the focus for this year to not be on me, but on the ways we can all work together to create the best year for our students.
“Thanks to the hard work of our facilities team, I can honestly say our schools have never looked better,” Genco said as staff members and administrators prepared to welcome students back to school. “I am so proud to open our doors to students and staff and to begin another year of excellence in the Jackson School District.”
Genco said he is particularly excited about the theme of this year’s professional development, “Making Connections.”
“Through my experiences as an administrator and teacher, and from my days as a student myself, I know the value of those connections in our classrooms, our athletic fields, on our stages and in our homes,” he said.
Administrators said the district focuses on making connections between what students are learning and how that learning applies to their future. Staff members want students to understand the relationship between their own progress and how they can use that momentum to set goals and map out their future.
Administrators also look for ways to ensure students appreciate how various cultures, traditions and backgrounds can bring people closer together in a diverse, evolving and global society.
Genco said the themes of social emotional learning, setting goals using data, student engagement and diversity will be woven through all district efforts this year as administrators continue to create a rigorous and robust educational experience.
This year the district will implement curriculum updates in Social Studies K-12 and Guidance K-12, and begin a review of English Language Arts K-12.
Other initiatives include expanding student engagement practices district-wide with the help of Title II Teacher Leaders; expanding problem-based curriculum and staff training that focuses on real-world applications; implementing a new middle school schedule and making recommendations on the high school schedule; expanding in-class resources to fourth grade; continuing efforts to increase awareness of student mental health; implementing student social emotional learning approaches K-12; and expanding the Advanced Placement/Dual Credit initiative.
Administrators said they are excited with the progress being made on a new satellite transportation facility which will help ease the burden for transportation staff. The facility is under construction at Jackson Liberty High School, North Hope Chapel Road.
A district-wide security vestibule project has been completed and administrators said they will continue to set priorities for projects to maintain a comfortable and engaging educational environment.
Genco praised the district’s staff members, saying, “I cannot possibly express the admiration I have for the people who work every day to make sure our students have the very best experience here.
“From our teachers to our office staff, to the people behind the scenes who ensure our students are safe and secure, and all those who work to run this district day to day, we could not do it without them,” the superintendent said.
According to information posted on the Jackson School District website, enrollment during the past five years is as follows: October 2015, 8,679 students; October 2016, 8,453 students; October 2017, 8,203 students; October 2018, 8,096 students; and October 2019 (estimated), 8,101 students.