Superintendent-to-be Hill ready for new challenge -- Gazette.Net



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Students, school staff and local officials anticipate that the county’s newest superintendent will lead the system the same way they said she leads North Point High School, with professionalism and high expectations.

Hill, 50, was appointed superintendent of Charles County Public Schools this week. She announced her new position in a rare schoolwide assembly at North Point on Wednesday.

Azeezat Adeleke, 17, a student at the Waldorf high school and the student representative of the Charles County Board of Education, said that the way Hill is able to “stand there and command a room with [2,250] 14- to 17-year-olds” is an indication of how she will lead the county school system.

The gymnasium, packed with all of the school’s students and a majority of staff, filled with the sound of applause and cheers as Hill was announced. In seconds, the room quieted down as Hill spoke. Adaleke said it showed the respect students have for her.

She said students feel valued when around her.

Adeleke has worked with Hill in various roles at the school and said that Hill has a knack for reading people and situations. She said Hill is able to analyze a situation and improve on it.

In a statement sent to the Maryland Association of Boards of Education prior to Hill’s selection, Elizabeth Brown, president of the Education Association of Charles County, said the EACC has had a good working relationship with Hill as principal. She said members who work at North Point have reported honest and collaborative relationships with Hill.

“I was impressed when I asked for her assistance while I was working on a project involving her school — she went out of her way to make sure the project was done professionally,” Brown wrote in the statement.

After Hill was appointed, Brown said, “The EACC looks forward to working with the new superintendent to ensure our students receive a quality education.”

Hill, who has been at North Point since it opened in 2005, told students that she counted on them to “keep alive” the expectations at the high school.

“Principals will come and go. Teachers will come and go. But it is the students in the building that make this place special,” she said.

Hill explained to students that her last day as principal would be Friday but that she would not let go of her bond with the school.

“This will always be a place that is special to me and special in my heart ... and that is because you have given me that love,” she said.

C.M. Cusmano, school resource officer for North Point, said he has worked with Hill since 2005 and that when it comes to her being selected superintendent, “I don’t think you can find someone more professional and level-headed.”

Cusmano said Hill is also “firm and fair.”

Chris Adams, a math teacher at North Point, said that with all the new transitions taking place in the system, including moving the system to new curriculum standards and new teacher and principal evaluations, the county can expect Hill to be level-headed and “someone who understands we are all in this together.”

Charles County Commissioner Ken Robinson (D) said in a phone interview Wednesday that he recalls his first impression of Hill, which was in 2011 when he attended a North Point graduation. “I was literally blown away by the ceremony,” he said of its level of professionalism.

Robinson said the ceremony, held at the high school, reminded him of an elite private school graduation.

“If she brings that kind of expertise and dedication to the superintendent role, then the county school system will be in excellent shape,” he said.

Robinson said Hill being from Charles County and spending her entire career in the county gives her a head start in her role as superintendent.

Elridge Proctor of Waldorf, a parent of two children in the school system, said Tuesday after the school board made the announcement that she was pleased the board selected Hill over the other two candidates, who were from outside of Charles County.

“I really like having people who are invested in the county,” she said.

Taking over at North Point until the end of the school year will be Michael Simms, current vice principal at the school.

Adams said North Point is in good hands because it has a good administration.

North Point students say the county is in good hands with Hill.

Jessica Kirkham, 18, North Point’s student liaison for the Charles County Association of Student Councils, said Hill is “all about unity.”

“We feel it’s not just North Point who will be behind her. It’s the whole county,” she said.

Hill begins the transition into her new role April 15 by working at the central office. Her contract, which includes a $200,000 salary, begins July 1. She will serve a four-year term.

gphillips@somdnews.com