STATEMENT FROM THE NEW HAVEN PUBLIC SCHOOLS' NEWLY APPOINTED SUPERINTENDENT
New Haven (November 22) — In response to the Board of Education’s vote to hire Dr. Carol D. Birks as New Haven Public School’s next superintendent, Dr. Birks offers the following statement:
I am excited and humbled by the historic opportunity to lead the New Haven Public School district. I am aware of the emotional display at Monday’s Board of Education meeting, but I see it as an opportunity to listen, learn and empower us to build inclusive partnerships for all of our learners. I set out on the path towards being New Haven’s next superintendent because of my commitment to service and educational equity. I know it will be an uphill battle to help the community heal and thrive, but I remain impassioned.
My gratitude extends beyond those who voted in my favor, but also to the board members and families who are strategizing next steps. I know everyone wants what's best for New Haven’s children and I want to work with you to achieve those goals.
I am grateful to have been selected your next superintendent, and I know the success of my work can only be defined by my ability to collaborate, build and improve. That’s why, every step along the way, my administration will work with families, students, educators, and community members to ensure that those who felt unheard are heard, and those who felt unseen are seen.
The first action of my Superintendency will be to listen and learn. Since this moment in New Haven’s story is wrought with disagreement and distrust, building a strong foundation in transition will require honesty, transparency, and cultivating relationships. So I invite all families, students, educators and community members to work with me, learn more about my beliefs, and help inform my leadership vision and theory of action for New Haven.
My door will always be open, and parents and families will have an opportunity to engage. I will make students’ voices a priority and parent outreach a commitment.
We get better when we work together and we’re going to need the collective strength of everyone in the community, especially educators, keep New Haven on a path of continuous improvement for each student. High achievement is only one aspect of developing an inclusive school system. The other aspect is making sure that students who are in the most need do not fall between the cracks. We must see that they receive the services needed for them to be successful in their school environment. I am wholeheartedly committed to ensuring that every child has a strong opportunity for success.
I recognize that the next few months won’t be easy for anyone. I know there will be challenges as we heal and clear the path forward. I am up to doing the heavy lifting necessary for this challenge. I have an obligation to educate and empower students and to build the capacity of the adults who are entrusted with their care. As we embark on the path towards progress in this district, I ask you to give me feedback, provide me with your input, offer your insights and ideas and work with me to ensure New Haven has what it needs to succeed and thrive.
DR. CAROL BIRKS BIO
Dr. Carol Birks is an exceptional educational professional with more than 20 years of experience at all levels of education.
She comes to New Haven Public Schools from her leadership position as The Chief of Staff at Hartford Public Schools where she assisted the superintendent in the day to day management and operations of the district. While working as a district administrator for HPS, Dr. Birks led key initiatives that required executive leadership, skill, and strategic direction.
Dr. Birks also served as an Assistant Superintendent for Instructional Leadership at HPS. She has worked collaboratively with a Networked Improvement Community to build the capacity of school leaders to improve student academic outcomes for fourteen schools. Through this collaboration, she supported school leaders to leverage resources in and out of the district.
Throughout her career, she has implemented improvement efforts that have addressed disparities in education, promoted urban school reform and yielded statewide and national recognition.
Dr. Birks received a bachelor’s degree from Hampton University, masters degrees from the University of Bridgeport and Columbia University Teachers College, obtained an executive leadership superintendent’s certification from the University of Connecticut and holds a doctorate in educational leadership from Columbia University Teachers College.
Dr. Birks is a former language arts teacher from Bridgeport and has experience as an administrator, an executive leadership coach in Norwalk and New Haven, and as a developer of an safety net programs to develop students' academic and socio-emotional growth and development. She has an extensive background in Urban Education and supporting diverse learners in all settings.
Throughout her career, Dr. Birks has demonstrated exemplary instructional and organizational leadership, a willingness to take risks, a commitment to collaboration, and the ability to overcome adversity.
In her advocacy, she has challenged the system, built on the strengths of all external and internal district partners, boosted the system’s continuous improvement strategies, and has inspired the entire community to believe that all students are entitled to rigorous, challenging, and meaningful learning experiences. Her story is one of perseverance and passion, championing for children in Connecticut’s neediest cities.