Philadelphia administrator to be Portland school superintendent

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PORTLAND — Emmanuel Caulk, who has been a regional assistant superintendent in Philadelphia since 2009, will be Portland’s next superintendent of schools.

School Board Chairwoman Kate Snyder made the announcement Friday, three days after the board hired Deering High School Principal Ira Waltz as acting superintendent.

The School Board will have a first reading to approve Caulk’s contract on Monday, with a final vote on July 9 in City Council Chambers. Caulk is expected to start the job in Portland on Aug. 20.

“I am very excited to be chosen as the new superintendent of the Portland Public Schools,” Caulk said in a news release Friday.

The decision to hire Caulk was cemented in part by his ability to match solutions to problems, Snyder said in an interview Friday, a skill she said was apparent in interviews he had with the superintendent search committee and meetings with members of the public in late May.

“It’s one thing to talk about issues and sort of identify needs, but it’s another to quickly move to ‘here’s what I would do to address those needs,'” Snyder said.

“He strikes me as a very confident leader,” she said. “He comes with a lot of energy, he comes with a lot of enthusiasm.”

Snyder said she was also impressed by Caulk’s interest in student outcomes, both among struggling students that need support, and those that are doing well and “need more” to be challenged and remain engaged in learning. “That was very exciting for us,” Snyder said.

Caulk’s contract includes an annual base salary of $137,500, and a 5 percent, merit-based pay increase during the second and third years that will depend on teaching, learning, and student improvement, Snyder said in the news release.

He was chosen after a national search that began last December, after former Superintendent James C. Morse Sr. announced his retirement. Morse later accepted the top position in the Oyster River School District in New Hampshire, and finished working in Portland in June.

Prior to working in Philadelphia, Caulk was assistant superintendent in East Baton Rouge Parish, La., and worked at all age levels as a teacher and administrator in Chicago and rural Penn Manor in Lancaster County, Pa.

He holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Delaware and a law degree from Widener University School of Law. Caulk is currently working on a dissertation for his doctorate from National-Louis University.

At a public introduction as a final candidate for the Portland superintendent position at the East End Community School on May 29, Caulk praised the School Department’s efforts to serve a rapidly diversifying student population, and spoke of the importance of including parents and the wider community in the education process, and of integrating technology into the school curriculum in a meaningful way.

“I think you need to have a plan that’s going to use technology to bring the curriculum to life,” he said.

In Philadelphia, Caulk presided over 36 schools. Portland has 16.

Andrew Cullen can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 100, or Follow him on Twitter: @ACullenFore.

Sidebar Elements

Emmanuel Caulk, shown here in a May 29 photograph, was chosen Friday to be Portland’s next Superintendent of Schools.