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School Begins for New Superintendent

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July 12, 2010 by wcobserver

Seeks Community Input To Chart Course Forward

By Susan McCarthy

susan@wcobserver.com

Greenland- There hasn’t been a fall since the start of elementary school that Dr. Charles Cudney, now 56, hasn’t gone to school.  This fall will be no exception as Cudney begins his new job as Greenland School District’s new superintendent.

At a point in life when Cudney could be winding down, he has chosen to gear up, stepping out of semi-retirement to lead a revitalized Greenland School District following its removal from the state’s list of financially distressed schools this spring.

“This community is passionate and made a strong statement.  (They’ve said) We love our school district and we will do anything to keep it and make it successful.  That’s my charge,” Cudney said from his new office in Greenland.

Cudney officially began his new position on July 1, but was in his office a couple of days earlier meeting staff members, creating files and getting organized.

Cudney said his biggest challenge is trying to move on from the past and building his credibility within the community as a leader. “The district, under the direction of Dr. Roland Smith, has built an appropriate balance.  We need to ensure financial health of the district, but at the same time, promote academic and student achievement,” he said.

Cudney said he was pleased to see improvement in the district’s testing scores, but insists the district’s number one job is to provide educational opportunity for all students.  “No matter where you go to high school, you’ll be competing in a global economy.  We need to prepare students to be successful beyond Washington County,” he said.

On his first official day on the job, Cudney toured the school’s facilities, including the school-owned buildings in Winslow.  “Forced consolidation is not often an easy experience.  I want to reach out to the total community…Greenland and Winslow.  I am ears for all patrons in Winslow and Greenland.  I want to work as a team to build this school district,” Cudney said.

Cudney plans to provide several opportunities in the coming months for members of both communities to share their thoughts including a survey and open meetings. “I hope to learn more about the school district’s goals, aspirations desires.  What we’re doing well.  Where we can improve,” he said.

Cudney said he comes to the district with no preconceived plans, although he says teacher salaries “have to be a priority”.

“Our staff has stuck with us through difficult times. We need to recognize that.  The bottom line is we have to be competitive,” he said of teachers and staff who have not received a salary/wage increase in the past two years (a bonus was paid to teachers and staff in April).

Cudney hopes to have the community’s input ready for the new school board which will be elected in September.   When asked what kind of school board Greenland needs now, he said, “People who love Greenland schools.  People who have the well being of all kids first.”

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