The York County School Division's retiring Chief Academic Officer, Lucia Villa Sebastian, Ed.D., has been tapped to coordinate a Virginia Department of Education Title I grant at The College of William & Mary to assist local school divisions with schools struggling to meet annual student accountability measures. Dr. Sebastian's retirement from YCSD is effective July 1, 2010.
The over-$473,000 in grant funds will direct work with local K-12 leadership teams in the central offices of 42 Virginia school divisions with one or more under-performing schools. Sebastian will supervise the work of leadership coaches assigned in each of the school divisions. One important part of her work will be a thorough analysis of each division's improvement plan to determine if it meets the criteria to ensure that (1) each plan connects to specific indicators of progress for their identified schools and (2) there is congruence between school site improvement plan(s) and division improvement plans. Strategic issues such as plan implementation, fidelity and evaluation will also be addressed.
Sebastian will also serve as an Executive Professor teaching classes in the Educational Policy and Planning portion of The College of William & Mary's School of Education.
William & Mary's portion of the Title I grant will focus on "...supporting and developing leadership at the division level to build local capacity that will lead to academic gains evidenced by SOL test scores and other external measures in the 42 identified participating divisions." Co-directing the project are W&M Professors Michael DiPaola, Ed.D., and Steven Staples, Ed.D., both former superintendents, who bring extensive experience with leadership development and school improvement programs.
Dean Virginia McLaughlin commended the expertise of this leadership team and noted, "We are pleased that William & Mary has been selected to lead this important initiative for school divisions across the Commonwealth. Lucia's experience as a teacher, principal and central office educational leader will be a real benefit as we partner with K-12 educators to sustain student achievement growth. Her assignment with the School of Education as an Executive Professor adds richly to the strength and experience of our faculty. Lucia has taught for us part-time in recent years, and we are delighted now to have her working with us full-time."
"While we will miss Lucia's instructional leadership, she is perfectly suited to assist school divisions that are working on improving student achievement," YCSD Superintendent Eric Williams, Ed.D., said.