AUDIO: New Superintendent Talks About Turning Around Santa Fe Schools

This week SFR profiles new Santa Fe Public Schools Superintendent Joel Boyd, who comes from the School District of Philadelphia. Click here to listen to Boyd explain his theory of education reform and how he'll apply it to SFPS.


Although many within the community say they're looking forward to a new relationship with Boyd, not everyone is happy about his new role.

"We had a window of opportunity to make progressive changes," local advocate Cate Moses, who dates (and often disagrees with) Board of Education member Glen Wikle, tells SFR.

Moses says she's concerned that Boyd will bring a top-down model of corporate reform targeting teachers. In Philadelphia, Boyd briefly oversaw the school district's "Promise Academy" initiative, which gave the worst schools more resources but also imposed a structured, centralized model that critics describe as top-down.

Yet when Boyd was principal of Woodrow Wilson Middle School in Philadelphia, his then-boss Lissa Johnson says he was able to change the school's entire culture through community involvement.

At the start of his job, "he met with teachers and grade groups all summer," Johnson, an assistant superintendent of support services in Philadelphia, tells SFR. "He collected data [from them] before he moved forward with any plan."

He also put a large emphasis on arts and often involved the students, she says. "We saw increases in reading and math and student attendance," she adds.

Boyd maintains that his reform efforts at SFPS will come "from the ground up." His model of how schools improve, posted below, is drawn with inspiration from Harvard professor Richard Elmore. Listen to Boyd speak more about how he plans to change SFPS below.

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