Superintendent Mayo Announces He Will Retire

February 20, 2013

Fox CT's Ayana Harry reports on Dr. Mayo's decision here

For the New Haven Independent story, click here.

For the New Haven Register story, click here.
Accomplishments include largest magnet school program and preschool program in Connecticut, significant improvements in student test scores 
After 46 years of service to New Haven Public Schools, including the last 21 as head of the school district, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Reginald Mayo announced he will retire at the end of this school year. His retirement is effective June 30.
For two decades, Dr. Mayo has served New Haven Public Schools as a strong and steadfast leader with an ability to bring people together to share ideas and work toward a greater good. During his tenure, New Haven built the largest Inter-district Magnet School program in the state of the Connecticut, extended full-day kindergarten to all students, strengthened and expanded preschool opportunities and constructed 37 state-of-the art schools in every neighborhood in New Haven.
These accomplishments, along with a continued focus on student achievement, data-driven strategies, innovative curriculum, and professional development helped set the stage for New Haven’s nationally recognized School Change Initiative. In partnership with Mayor John DeStefano Jr. and the Board of Education and in collaboration with the teachers union and staff, Dr. Mayo helped launch New Haven School Change in 2010, a reform initiative that is already transforming New Haven schools – student achievement is growing at twice the state average; high school graduation rates are up; school learning environments are improving, and more students are thinking about college at an early age. High school students are viewing their futures in a new light thanks to New Haven Promise.
“If I wait for the day to come when I no longer love overseeing this school district and looking out for the 21,000 public school children we serve, I might never retire. However, after 46 years of service to New Haven Public Schools, including the last 21 years as your superintendent, it is time for me to move on,” Dr. Mayo said.
“When I look at the amount of progress we have made as a school district over the past two decades, I am reminded of all of the extraordinary teachers, school leaders, administrators and board members who have poured their heart and soul into making New Haven Public Schools the best that they can be. I could not have asked for a more capable or more dedicated team of educators, and I could not have asked for a more visionary and big ideas-driven partner in the mayor’s office than John DeStefano Jr.  I thank Mayor DeStefano for his support, his leadership and his friendship. And I thank the city of New Haven for being a community that values and supports education.”
Under Dr. Mayo’s leadership, New Haven Public Schools built an Inter-district Magnet School Program that now has 17 inter-district schools and draws 3,000 students from all over the region. The program brings in millions of dollars of resources for students. He restructured schools in the city to have K-8 elementary schools and smaller high schools.
Dr. Mayo has made early childhood education a priority, both expanding and improving the quality of preschool opportunities. The district now has the largest pre-K program in Connecticut, with 3,000 preschool slots between Head Start, School Readiness, the magnet program and private licensed programs. Intensified early literacy and math instruction are better preparing kids for the start of school.
Dr. Mayo was ahead of his time in emphasizing data-driven strategies to boost student achievement and following cohorts of students to more accurately measure growth and achievement. Student test scores have risen steadily over time, with big gains among third graders and eighth graders. The percent of third graders reading at the proficient level in 2007 nearly doubled in five years by the time they were eighth graders to 75 percent. New Haven is now sending more than 70 percent of its eighth graders off to high school proficient in the three major subjects – reading, math and writing. More students than ever before are taking Advanced Placement classes and earning qualifying scores on AP tests. The district is on track to cut the high school dropout rate in half over five years, a major goal of School Change.
With the launch of School Change, New Haven began tiering schools as part of an annual evaluation process that lets the district track progress toward improvement goals and intervene when a school falls behind or heads in the wrong direction. The lowest-performing schools are tapped to undergo an intensive turnaround process. It is a testament to the success of School Change that four of our turnaround schools – Brennan-Rogers, Wexler-Grant, Barnard and Hill Central – were among the 10 most improved schools in the district in 2012.
One of the hallmarks of New Haven School Change is the commitment to collaboration. Teachers in New Haven helped design a blueprint for reform that includes a rigorous teacher evaluation system praised by U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and the New York Times and a turnaround approach that lets schools embrace improvement plans that address their unique needs and student population. Teachers in New Haven for have met the challenge of School Change with passion and determination.
School Change stresses the importance of community and parent engagement. Dr. Mayo has worked to engage and empower parents and grandparents. He created a special group for grandparents who are caretakers of children and he worked with staff to help launch Parent University this fall, which drew 250 parents to the free daylong series of workshops.
“I started out 46 years ago as a science teacher at Troup School, and every day since then I have come to work – whether as science teacher, school principal or superintendent – and felt in my heart that I made the right choice to be an educator. I know I made the right choice when I think about what has inspired me most over the years to keep working toward the goal of building the best urban school district in the country – it’s the students and parents of New Haven Public Schools. They are my inspiration and my reason for being here. I’ve always tried to think of New Haven Public Schools as a family.”
“I want to thank my beautiful wife, Patsy, our three children, Lisa, Reggie Jr. and Shawn, and my four grandchildren for their love and support during this journey.  I look forward to spending more time with my family.”
“I thank the Board of Education for its steadfast commitment to serving above all else the best interests of the children of New Haven. I am encouraged that as I prepare to step down this summer, I leave this school district in good hands and in a good place – firmly on the path toward achieving real and lasting School Change.”