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Glover outlines his experience during superintendent candidate forum

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MASSENA - A finalist for the upcoming superintendent vacancy in the Massena Central School District says the variety of positions he has held in the past make him a more well-rounded person capable of leading a district the size of Massena.

Dr. David J. Glover outlined his background during a Thursday night community forum that drew just over a dozen audience members.

“I’ve given you an idea of the level of experience I’ve had in all facets of school leadership,” he said, noting that the number of roles he held in small school districts added up to a wealth of overall experience.

“It’s given me enough knowledge to ask the right question so we’re able to move in the right direction,” Dr. Glover said.

Dr. Glover earned a doctorate of education in educational leadership with a concentration in curriculum and instruction online from the University of Phoenix. He earned his education administration certification from SUNY Brockport and his bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism from Ithaca College with a master’s degree in international studies from St. John Fisher College.

He has served as Morristown Central School District superintendent since July 2009. He had previously served three years as high school principal at Hornell Central School District, assistant principal for a year at Horseheads High School for a year, and assistant principal for a year at Saratoga Springs High School.

Dr. Glover taught social studies for two years at Mount Morris High School and four years at Wayland-Cohocton High School. He began his teaching career in 1997 as an English teacher with the Reid Ross Middle School in Fayetteville, N.C.

But, he said, it hasn’t just been administration and teaching along the way. There have been a multitude of other areas he has worked in at each district, he said.

In Morristown, for instance, he is currently the Information Technology director, shares the duties of superintendent of buildings, grounds and transportation and has served as athletic director, chief information officer, Committee on Special Education chairperson and even cook.

At Mount Morris, with a population of about 700 students, he was involved with block scheduling, English as a Second Language and Advanced Placement co-teaching. He worked with instructional technology, Academic Intervention Services and taught and scored Advanced Placement courses at Wayland-Cohocton, and was involved with school organization, alternative education and instructional technology at Saratoga Springs.

As assistant principal at Horseheads, Dr. Glover worked with the GED program and was involved in shared decision-making, building safety and block scheduling. And at Hornell, he worked in areas such as instructional technology and Academic Intervention Services. He said the special education dropout rate was 25 percent when he arrived and had dropped to 3 percent before he left, which he attributed to the work done by teachers and fellow administrators.

Dr. Glover has been the superintendent of the Morristown Central School District since July 2009. The district has 371 students in pre-kindergarten to grade 12, with 57 percent of them on free or reduced lunch, he said.

During his tenure, they’ve increased student opportunities by starting a distance learning program with Paul Smith College, SUNY Canton and other schools.

“A few years ago five seniors left as second semester freshmen. That doesn’t happen very often,” he said.

They have also introduced online courses that help students with credit recovery and revised the curriculum in art, technology and science to provide more opportunities for teachers and students, he said.

One of the areas Dr. Glover said he addressed when he arrived in Morristown was student performance. That included the “infusion of technology into the classroom,” as well as changing Academic Intervention Services at the secondary level.

“We used an Academic Intervention Services approach that was very diversified,” he said, noting it was in a learning lab format and technology-driven. “It gives students a different instructional approach, a different voice to learn from.”

Student performance in many areas, such as geometry and physics, increased. He said students went from 30 to 80 in geometry and 13 to 80 in physics, the results of four years of work. Other subjects where the students were already performing satisfactorily either remained steady or increased, he said.

Student discipline has also gone down, according to Dr. Glover, who said, in a school with 150 high school students at the time, 1,500 students were removed from the classroom in 2008-09. That number dropped to 500 in 2012-13.

“This year we’re better still,” he said.

Dr. Glover said Morristown, like other districts, also dealt with fiscal realities that forced them to lay off some teachers. At one point, he said, they were part of an exploration into a regional high school concept, something that’s currently not supported in New York.

“We made tough decisions up front. We were able to stave off impending doom,” he said. “We made it as public as we could make it. We had full budget conversations right out in the open. It was an open conversation. We were very honest about it.”

Teachers who were involved in cuts had personal conversations with him, he said, and none of them were easy.

“That’s where the rubber meets the road. For several years in a row we had really tough choices. We tried to give teachers enough advance notice” and helped them find other employment, he said.

Some of those positions have since been restored, and new positions have been added, he said.

Now, Dr. Glover said, he wants to be able to guide Massena and create the same types of successes. But they would take some time, he said.

“I wouldn’t presume to walk right in and say, ‘This is what we need to do,’” he said.

He said they would need to plan and implement a vision and mission for the district that involved a high level of learning for all students and have quality teachers in every classroom and skilled leadership in every building. The plan would also address building relationships within the district.

A “high level of learning” would be to examine programs such as the current International Baccalaureate program, providing a “rich, relevant and rigorous curriculum,” Dr. Glover said.

There would also be high expectations for achievements every day, he said.

In order to keep quality teachers in the classrooms, he said they would provide “appropriate professional development for rising challenges,” such as the Common Core, as well as sufficient resources to address student needs and opportunities for collaboration and cooperation.

Among the areas Dr. Glover said he would like to focus on are integration of technology and analyses of programs to determine what programs are effective and what aren’t so they might be able to redirect their money to programs that would be beneficial for students,.

“If it costs a school $100 a week to run a program and you only get $90, it’s only a matter of time before you can’t run it anymore,” he said.

Building relationships both inside and outside the school would also be on his list of priorities, he said. That trust, he said, would allow them to “move forward as a unit.”

“The more trust that exists, the fast things happen and the less it costs. If you’re going to get to places, trust has to exist internally and externally. With trust, we can do everything else,” he said.

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