District Announces 2019-20 Administrator Assignments

Park City School Superintendent Jill Gildea has announced the following administrator assignments for the 2019-20 school year.

District Office

Dr. Amy Hunt: Chief Academic Officer (Teaching & Learning) – Dr. Hunt has experience as a science and math teacher, high school assistant principal, middle school principal, executive director of Human Resources and Pupil Services in California districts, as well as leadership in adult education in Granite School District in Utah.

Traci Evans: Federal/State/Competitive Grants, Professional Learning, and Principal Leadership – Evans’ leadership strengths will keep the district’s Title I, Title II, Title III, and Title IV programs moving forward as well as providing innovative leadership in the area of principal mentoring, and professional learning.  Instrumental in securing and managing federal, state, and competitive grants, Evans will oversee implementation of the Digital Teaching & Learning Grant which will provide transformative professional learning experiences for staff.

Mark Wiesenberg: Executive Director, Human Capital and Culture – Wiesenberg has more than 20 years in human resource leadership. He has also worked within non-profit sector at Make-A-Wish leading over 200 volunteers.  Mr. Wiesenberg has experience in all areas of leading, training, managing, and growing exceptional human capital processes and organizational culture.

Openings for a Nutritional Programs Director and Dual immersion/English Language Coordinator are posted and appointments will be announced at a later date. A Career Technology Education (CTE) Director will also be announced once placement is finalized.

Park City High

Assistant Principals Tracy Fike  and Amie Campbell will join Roger Arbabi and Jamie Weekes in the leadership of Park City High School. Most recently, Fike served as Assistant Principal at Ecker Hill Middle School in an interim capacity. Campbell served as Principal/Director for Ogden Preparatory Academy (K-9) for the past six years. With 23 years in education, her teaching experience includes high school teaching, Science Department chair, and volleyball and basketball coach.

Treasure Mountain Junior High

Principal Caleb Fine and Assistant Principal Sam Salinas will join Assistant Principal Missy Tschabrun in the leadership of the 8/9 program throughout the master planning transition. Principal Fine has been a member of Park City School District since August 2009 and has background in financial literacy, business teaching, as well as having served as PCHS Assistant Principal/PCCAPS since August 2016. Salinas has experience in middle school education has implemented PBIS (Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports), developed School Improvement Plans, and has attained re-designation of EHMS as a School to Watch – a national recognition for excellence in middle education.

Ecker Hill Middle

Principal Amy Jenkins joins Assistant Principal Claustina Reynolds in the leadership of the 6/7 program throughout the master planning transition. Principal Jenkins has served as Assistant Principal at TMJH since 2015. An Assistant Principal, to be named, will also join this leadership team at EHMS.

Parley’s Park Elementary

Daren Houck joins Parley’s Park Elementary as Principal. Principal Houck comes from Coast Episcopal School where he has served as Principal for the past two years. His mix of both private and public school background, experience in high achieving systems, and his family’s relocation to Park City support his placement into this leadership post.

District Moving Forward to Prepare Future Ready Students

“The most dangerous experiment we can conduct with our children is to keep schooling them the same at a time when every other aspect of our society is dramatically changing,” says Professor Christopher Dede of the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

“We cannot maintain the status quo when it comes to preparing our students for the world ahead,” says Superintendent Jill Gildea. “Our educators know the critical need of always finding better ways to teach and assess.”

Academic excellence is one of the strategic pillars of Park City School District which is to “develop the potential of every student through data-driven and best learning practices to be academically successful and prepared for life beyond graduation…”      

Park City High is currently ranked 28th in Utah and 3,381 in the national by US News & World. “This is not the best result we can achieve in this community. If our target is to be ranked in the top 1,000, we need an aligned system (including curriculum, instruction, and assessment) which requires intentional and purposeful change.”

The change had its beginning at Ecker Hill Middle School. During the 2005-06 school year, EHMS teachers attended a conference where standards-based grading was discussed. Teachers had been looking for ways to better report student learning and immediately began working on reporting systems in individual classrooms to better reflect student learning.

“Grading belongs at the classroom level, as does professional development, and school-based decisions,” says Dr. Gildea. “At the district level we help ensure that assessment and reporting practices are being reviewed and are responsive to the needs of students.”

As a school, EHMS began the work of unpacking and prioritizing standards through curriculum mapping. Many teachers began to see success as they started to implement standards-based grading. “Our educators are professionals and I’m incredibly proud of them for wanting to move forward with this way of assessing students and reporting progress along a continuum of learning,” says the Superintendent.

Standards-based assessment is not about students competing against one another, according to Dr. Gildea. “It is about the knowledge, skills, and dispositions necessary for next generation access to life, career, and college ready outcomes.”

When schools adopt a standards-based mindset it requires a cultural shift. This is not a new system of grading. It has been around since 1983. Dr. Gildea’s previous district has been using standards-based assessment for more than 20 years.

National education consultant Kevin O’Connor says parents have a hard time making this shift. “Standards-based grades are not what parents know so it changes the conversation to an emphasis on words about strengths and weaknesses, not single symbols per subject that have little meaning.”

While some parents may have frustrations about moving to a new reporting system, Dr. Gildea continues to receive positive feedback from teachers, parents and students about this shift and how much it assists teachers in personalizing instruction and learning for all students.

The successes seen in the early stages at EHMS, prompted other schools in the district to begin looking at standards-based assessments. School administrators, instructional leaders, and teachers have had and continue to have external and internal development work. This professional development has originated in a school-based manner with the district providing external experts such as Bob Marzano Associates, Tom Guskey’s team, and Tim Brown of Solution Tree.

Teachers, principals and parents have donated their time, suggestions, learning, ideas, and input in order to fully develop an implementation timeline for all schools. This summer elementary teachers will continue their work aligning mathematics standards, while secondary teachers will continue working on refining the proficiency scales and vertical articulation of learning targets. Ongoing professional learning will also be available through the Digital Teaching and Learning Grant the district was award earlier this year.

This fall, internal and external experts will host  parent forums on college admissions as well as the shift toward a competency-based approach. In August, the district’s Back-to-School Convocation will focus on “Learning Transformed.”

Dr. Gildea anticipates the implementation in schools will continue through 2021-22 with junior high and high school retaining both letter grades and GPA. “We remain committed to defining a system that measures actual student learning, provides meaningful feedback to students and their families on their academic progress, and motivates students to achieve and persevere.”

For more information about standards-based learning and assessment visit the district’s Teaching & Learning homepage here.

District Appoints Chief Operations Officer

Michael Tanner

In an effort to provide more efficient day-day-to operations, Park City School District has appointed Michael Tanner as its Chief Operations Officer. As COO he will oversee the departments of facilities and grounds, maintenance, transportation, child nutrition services, and community education.

Tanner has worked in similar roles for other school districts over the past 15 years. He was selected following a national search by an independent search firm.

Tanner has extensive experience in education, as well as corporate, government, and military management. “Mike comes to us with a broad range of supervisory and leadership skills,” said Superintendent Jill Gildea. “He will be a tremendous asset because of his strong background in master planning, bonding, budget administration, transportation, finance, and marketing.”

He has a MBA in Finance and Marketing, and bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Natural Resources Management. He is a certified Chief School Business Official and also has a Secondary Education teaching certificate.

“After considering a move to Park City for many years, my family and I are very excited to finally get the opportunity to become part of the community,” said Tanner. “I am honored to join the fine school district team, and look forward to leading the group effort to bring a number of operational improvements to the district. I hope to leverage my background to provide communication, visibility, accountability and execution for the community, and serve as a force to help drive positive change.”

In addition to his public education background, he has served in the United States Air Force since 1996 as a Pilot and Contingency Airlift Director. He collaborates with senior military and state department leadership to frame airlift requirements, articulate system capabilities and limitations, conceive strategic airlift plans, and mobilize resources to orchestrate international airlift operations in support of U.S. wartime and humanitarian relief missions.


PCSD Launches ‘The Future of Learning’ Education Master Plan

Park City School District is collaborating with the collective community during the 2018-19 school year asking what they want learning to look like in the coming years. The nine-month project will ultimately produce a community-based education vision and a proposed system to deliver on that vision.

“The Future of Learning” will be the roadmap to the future for the school district,” said Superintendent Jill Gildea. “We will be asking educators, students, parents, and community members what they want learning to look like in the coming years and how that will be implemented in our District.”

Superintendent Gildea said previous master planning for the district was designed to address specific building needs. But this process focuses on how today’s students learn and how the environment and teaching methods can best support that – both now and in the future.

GSBS, a consulting firm in Salt Lake City, is assisting the district with this planning. The four-step process will include:

– Identify the community’s vision;

– Create guiding principles and education specifications;

– Analyze existing facilities as they relate to the principles, and;

– Provide final recommendations for implementation.

Community Steering Committee Created

Earlier this summer the district invited community members to volunteer for its education master planning Steering Committee. This committee will ensure that all groups have a voice and the opportunity to be involved in this long-term educational planning. The Steering Committee held its first meeting in September.

Community Engagement Open House

The community will have its first opportunity to engage with the team and the process during an evening open house on Monday, Oct. 29, at the Summit County Sheldon Richins Building Auditorium. Sessions will be held at 5:30 and 6:30 p.m.

The Future of Learning Summit

The following day, Oct. 30, the district has invited teachers, community members, students and the Steering Committee to attend a day-long “The Future of Learning Summit” held at the District Office from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The event will be recorded and posted to the District’s website under “The Future of Learning” tab.

Workshops

Over the next six months, the consultant team will host six additional “mini” workshops with various segments of the community to generate educator and community input into the educational specifications surrounding pedagogy, curriculum, assessment, learning spaces, and student learning experience.

Additionally, there will two more open houses (December and April) that will seek the community’s feedback on the progress made at the summit and workshops. The community will also be asked for input through a series of online surveys.

Final Recommendations

Once the education specifications have been created, the consulting team will evaluate existing facilities for alignment and the ability to deliver the education specifications. Final recommendations, including education specifications, potential facility needs, and funding will be presented to the Board of Education in May 2019.

Learn More

For more detailed information visit The Future of Learning section on the district’s website.

Sept. 10 Front Line Blue Line Focused on Dark Web, Harmful Drugs

Parents are invited Monday, Sept. 10, to spend an evening with law enforcement learning about drugs and the Dark Web. “The Front Line Blue Line — Parents and Police Working Together,” is presented by the Summit County Sheriff’s Office and members of the Summit County Mental Wellness Alliance.

“Educating parents on issues affecting our student is a subject that is incredibly important,” said Dr. Ben Belnap, Associate Superintendent of Student Wellness. “This is one of the most important events our parents can attend all year.”

The event, which is for parents only, begins at 6 p.m. at the Eccles Center.  Park City School District Superintendent Jill Gildea will welcome parents, and remarks will be give by Sheriff Justin Martinez, Park City Police Chief Wade Carpenter, Lt. Greg Winterton (drugs and harmful substances), and Special Agent Clinton Kehr (the Dark Web) from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.

The Dark Web is a subset of the dark web or deep web, is a place where illegal activity thrives and criminals function in perceived anonymity. Illegal drugs are one of the most dangerous categories of goods marketed on the Dark net, according to the Department of Homeland Security.

Following the speakers, a resource fair featuring 20 community partners will be held in the Park City High gym.

Free childcare will be available for children ages 4-11.

NOTE: The community is also invited to attend an Open House from 5-6 p.m. in the lower lobby of the Eccles Center to meet the district’s new Superintendent, Dr. Jill Gildea.

KPCW Story

Park Record Article

Meet New Superintendent at Open House Sept. 10

Park City School District Superintendent Jill Gildea will be introduced to the community during an Open House on Monday, Sept. 10, prior to the Front Line Blue Line event. She will meet with the public from 5-6 p.m. in the lower lobby of the Eccles Center.

Dr. Gildea is known as a learner-centered and future-focused educator who keeps students at the forefront of all decisions.

Her goals for the coming year include:

–To learn and recognize the school district and individual school building culture, strengths, and areas identified for continuous growth.

–To review strategic planning, with an eye toward continued focus on best practice strategies in teaching and learning and supporting best practice operational strategies.

–To assess the state of the school district, including core approaches to teaching and learning, operations, business systems, finances and budgeting, reviewing externally funded and conducted audits, evaluations, and reviews in order to take timely action for improvement.

–To focus organizational efforts and align resources, financial and human, to ensure all students are provided a world-class education that will prepare them to be life, college, and global workforce ready.

Superintendent Gildea considers it “an honor to have the opportunity to join an innovative and progressive system like PCSD.” She previously served as Superintendent of Greenwich Public Schools in Greenwich, Connecticut, and for seven years was Superintendent of Fremont School District in Mundelein, Illinois.

During her 30 years in education, Dr. Gildea has held administrative positions of superintendent for eleven years, assistant superintendent, educational programs director, curriculum director, high school division administrator, elementary principal, and has taught at the middle and high school settings.

An award winning and published educator, Dr. Gildea has been recognized as an exemplary educational leader and for her work in communications and fiscal management. She was a 2014 Finalist for the National Association of School Superintendents’ (NASS) Superintendent of the Year Award; the National School Public Relations Association (NSPRA) 2013 Golden Achievement Award in Communications recipient, and has received the Illinois Association of School Business Officials’ (IASBO) Meritorious Budget Awards in Financial Budgeting for six years running (2012-2017.)

The Superintendent received her superintendent’s endorsement from National Louis University (2004), Evanston, Illinois and a master of education in language and literacy also from National Louis University (1992), a doctorate in curriculum and supervision from Northern Illinois University (2002), and a bachelor of arts in English and Secondary Education from Bradley University (1986).

From the Superintendent

Superintendent  Jill Gildea

To Our Park City School District Community:

I am honored to serve our community as superintendent of Park City School District and to partner with our students, educators, families, and community to ensure we meet the district’s mission to inspire and support all students equitably to achieve their academic and social potential.

I am deeply committed to this mission and excited to learn more about how the mission is being implemented within Park City School District. To accomplish this learning, I have developed an entry/transition plan as we approach this important work together. As your new superintendent, I am committed to learning as much about our students’ experience in our schools as quickly as possible.

Park City School District has achieved incredible success across many indicators, and I want to build upon the strong legacy the school district and community have established for our students.

It is my belief the community’s vision —Park City School District is student-centered with a focus and emphasis on the whole child — our students are safe, supported, engaged, challenged, and healthy—will be present in all that we do operationally and educationally.

The entry/transition planning document and my work as superintendent will be guided by a tenet put forth by Stephen Covey in The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. He says leaders must first seek to understand, then to be understood. The transition activities outlined in this plan are designed to enable me to quickly and effectively listen to and learn from a wide range of people involved directly and indirectly in public education.

I want to learn as much as possible about what is working for our students and where there are areas for growth. I also want to hear how we can better prepare and support our teachers, administrators, support staff, and parents for the critical roles they play in each student’s life.

I look forward to this opportunity to listen, learn, and partner with you. Together, we can increase educational opportunities for all our students to be successful in careers, college, and life.

Yours for excellence in public education,

Jill M. Gildea, Ed.D.

Superintendent

PCSD to Hire Deputy Superintendent to Focus on Operational Services

Park City School District announced today it will hire a Deputy Superintendent to lead the day-to-day operational side of the district. The position will be responsible for master facility planning, safety and security coordination, transportation, child nutrition, and school operations.

This new administrator will partner with incoming Superintendent Jill Gildea and other executive leadership to develop and implement the Board of Education’s strategic plan, district policies, instructional programs, and school services provided by the district.

In light of the multi-million dollars the board is invested in safety and security, the Deputy Superintendent will oversee the daily operations of safety measures throughout the district. He/she will oversee safety training of all employees, collaborate with safety and emergency officials in the city and county, chair the district safety committee, stay informed on best practices, and ensure safety drills are conducted on a regular basis at the district and school levels.

“As we rebuild the administration, Dr. Gildea and the board agree on the need for a Deputy Superintendent to assist in the day-to day running of the district,” said Board President Andrew Caplan. “Dr. Gildea will spend the majority of her time on improving instruction and working with our principals.

“We are looking for someone with expertise in safety and managing the physical plant. We also need someone to oversee operations of the district in order to achieve our community’s vision and mission of highly effective schools focused on student and staff well-being, safety and security, and overall progress in meeting the community’s expectations for its facilities.”

The Deputy Superintendent will guide the master facility planning process and lead efforts to successfully fund facility projects and programs. He/she will also supervise schedules and calendars of timely work projects and processes.

The posting can be viewed here.  The deadline for applications is Aug. 31.

Board Selects Dr. Jill Gildea as Superintendent

Dr. Jill Gildea

After conducting an extensive national search, the Park City School District Board of Education has selected Dr. Jill Gildea as Superintendent. The Board voted today to appoint Dr. Gildea, an experienced educator with demonstrated success in enhancing family and community engagement, in improving student achievement, inspiring innovative learning environments, and demonstrating effective fiscal management.

Dr. Gildea is currently the Superintendent of Greenwich Public Schools in Connecticut and brings three decades of education experience to Park City. She has a proven track record in managing school districts using data-driven decisions and sound fiscal practices, working collaboratively with staff and parent groups, as well as with local township governments to fund educational needs.

She is known as a student-centered and future-focused educator who keeps students at the center of all decisions. She has been a Superintendent for 11 years, assistant superintendent, educational programs director, curriculum director, high school division administrator, elementary principal, and has taught at the middle and high school levels.

“Her experience as a Superintendent both in the Chicago area and in Greenwich will bring valuable intellectual capital to our district,” said Board President Andrew Caplan. “Her history of helping children succeed academically, socially, and emotionally stood out to the board and made her our first choice for this position. The board looks forward to welcoming Dr. Gildea to our community this summer and we are excited to support her leadership in the coming months and years ahead.”

Dr. Gildea exemplifies the qualities the community identified as those they would like to see in the next Superintendent, and was a top choice for the the 12-member community committee that interviewed candidates.

President Caplan said Dr. Gildea impressed the Board as a strong educational practitioner and thought-leader, well-versed in the national conversation on public education. She values the mission and vision of the Park City School District with its focus on inspiring and supporting all students equitably to achieve their academic and social potential. She has a keen understanding of what it takes to manage systemic change in order to achieve student growth and improve performance, create a master plan for facilities and managerial systems, and to enhance communications and family and community engagement.

“I’m honored to join the Park City School District and to work collectively on the important visionary and strategic work of an exemplary system,” Dr. Gildea said. “From my perspective in visiting other districts across the country through my work with a variety of national organizations, I believe that Park City School District keeps its students at the center of key decisions, and models whole child practice. The District is well poised as a leader not only in Utah, but in the nation. I look forward to joining this talented and dedicated team.”

An award-winning and published educator, Dr. Gildea has been recognized as an exemplary educational leader and for her work in communications and fiscal management. She has worked with implementation of a future-focused strategic plan, master facility planning, and scaling innovative practices.

She has received numerous honors and accolades including: 2014 Finalist for the National Association of School Superintendents’ Superintendent of the Year Award, the National School Public Relations Association 2013 Golden Achievement Award in Communications, and Illinois Association of School Business Officials’ Meritorious Budget Awards in Financial Budgeting for six years running.

Dr. Gildea earned her Doctorate in curriculum and supervision from Northern Illinois University, her Master of Education in language and literacy, and her superintendent’s endorsement from National Louis University, and her Bachelor of Arts in English and Secondary Education from Bradley University.

Board Selects Two Superintendent Finalists

The Park City School District Board of Education has narrowed its field of candidates for Superintendent to two finalists. The finalists will meet with the board on Saturday for a final round of interviews.

On May 5, five semi-finalists were interviewed by a 12-member committee comprised of staff and community members. That same day, the semi-finalists were also interviewed by the board. The  two finalists were both approved by the community panel as well as the board.

The board will issue a public statement about its selection once a decision has been made, and the board’s consultant, HYA Executive Search, has completed its due diligence.