Windham, CT November 4, 2019--The Windham Board of Education announces that it has appointed Dr. Tracy Youngberg as Acting Superintendent of Windham Public Schools, effective November 2. Dr. Youngberg will serve in this capacity through the rest of the school year and/or until a superintendent is hired, following Dr. Patricia Garcia’s announcement Thursday that she is taking a professional leave.
Dr. Youngberg has worked at Windham Public Schools for four years as an Assistant Superintendent. She was hired to lead the Office of Teaching, Learning and Leadership with primary responsibility for the curriculum and teaching practices of the district. In recent months, she has also taken on oversight of key operations functions including Transportation, Information Technology and Facilities when the second assistant superintendent position was not filled due to budget limitations.
“Dr. Youngberg has expressed to me that she is both excited and humbled to step from the role of Assistant Superintendent to Acting Superintendent for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year,” says Lynne Ide, Board of Education Chairperson. “With more than 26 years of experience in public schools, she is deeply passionate about connecting the work of curriculum, instruction, assessment, and professional learning with fair and efficient approaches to the day to day operations of Windham’s schools and departments.”
In addition to her practical experience working in three different Alliance Districts, the state’s lowest performing school systems, Dr. Youngberg holds a Doctorate in Educational Leadership and Supervision, as well as a Bachelors of Elementary Education, from American International College (AIC) in Springfield, Massachusetts. Her doctoral dissertation, entitled Inside These Four Classroom Walls: Exploring Elementary Teacher Perceptions as a Way to Improve Teacher Practice, has provided her with a deep foundation of the impact that relationships have on adult practice, and the importance of supervision, feedback and professional supports when making improvements within classrooms and schools.
Youngberg was named the Connecticut Association of Schools National Distinguished Principal in 2013, and considers the ability to now be a member of this national selection committee that visits nominated school principals and their districts as an annual professional highlight. She also holds a Certificate of Advance Graduate Studies (CAGS) in Educational Administration: The School Principal Program and a Masters of Special Education, both from Westfield State University in Westfield, MA.
Dr. Youngberg is clear about the needs of students in Alliance districts like Windham. She says, “I don’t want the district to lose any ground on the structural work Dr. Garcia started, and I believe deeply in the mission of ensuring equitable access and results for all of our students. With the exception of my first six years of teaching, all of my experiences have been in districts with similar challenges to Windham.”
Dr. Youngberg is also experienced in creating high-functioning teams. As Principal of the Carmen Arice Intermediate School in Bloomfield, she and her school’s leadership team received many accolades from the Connecticut State Department of Education and the Connecticut Coalition for Achievement Now, known as ConnCAN. Her school was ranked #1 in the state on ConnCAN’s list of performance gains, and was one of 34 schools statewide to be removed from the No Child Left Behind Needs Improvement List that same year.
She plans to use that successful team approach to tackling Windham’s challenges. “A key lever in my district leadership plan will be to fully utilize the talents of my Cabinet members, school and district administrators and teacher leaders.”
Dr. Youngberg, who has been supervising the implementation of the District Social Emotional Learning Plan funded by Project AWARE since July, believes that stabilizing classroom environments and creating school cultures that are truly conducive to learning for all students, requires effective leadership, teacher empowerment and parental and community engagement. Dr. Youngberg notes, “While one size never fits all in public education, having a clear set of protocols and a clearly defined system of supports for both academic and social emotional responses, will allow our schools to better strategize how to help each individual student reach and exceed grade level expectations.
“I have a clearly defined, yet practical, vision about what learning communities must look like, sound like and feel like, for both the students and staff members involved.” Dr. Youngberg adds. “I plan to continue to work with our partners including the Windham Public School staff, the Board of Education, Windham families, local agencies and businesses, as well as our neighboring institutions of higher education, to help all of our students, Pre K-12, reach their fullest potential.”