Q&A with schools' new chief academic officer

Marlena Gross-Taylor's role will be curriculum alignment

Posted 11/26/18

Douglas County School District Superintendent Thomas Tucker has hired a chief academic officer to oversee curriculum across the school district. Autonomy in the classroom will continue, Tucker said …

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Q&A with schools' new chief academic officer

Marlena Gross-Taylor's role will be curriculum alignment

Posted

Douglas County School District Superintendent Thomas Tucker has hired a chief academic officer to oversee curriculum across the school district. Autonomy in the classroom will continue, Tucker said at a Nov. 13 school board meeting, along with a push for students to develop a deep understanding of curriculum at the district and state level.

“There is a gap between taught curriculum, written curriculum and assessed curriculum,” Tucker said. “Those three levels of curriculum must go together.”

Marlena Gross-Taylor comes in at a starting salary of $169,000. That is about $20,000 to $25,000 less than what a deputy superintendent would make, Tucker said. Douglas County School District has one superintendent and one assistant superintendent.

Gross-Taylor is a nationally recognized speaker and the founder of Edugladiators LLC, a consulting business for educators and district leaders on best practices in the classroom.

What is your background?

Being an educator is simply in my blood.  Born and raised in southern Louisiana, my family is filled with teachers, principals and district office leaders, including my mother, who was a middle school principal.

Over the years, I have had the pleasure of serving K-12 students in a variety of settings. I began my teaching career at the middle school level before entering leadership intentionally at elementary, middle, high and district levels to gain a comprehensive understanding of the teaching and learning cycle. 

What made you want to pursue a career in education?

My belief is that all students deserve a high-quality education in a supportive environment that challenges them academically while elevating their voice through enriched learning experiences. 

As chief academic officer of DCSD, what will your responsibilities include?

My primary charge is to provide leadership in developing grade-level curriculum embedded with researched best practices.

I am excited to facilitate the alignment of our curriculum, engage our community, and be a driver in helping to raise student achievement.

Why is it important for DCSD to have a chief academic officer?

In a district this size, there are many moving parts as it pertains to curriculum and the support we provide students and teachers.  It is important that this role works collaboratively with students, teachers and building leaders to provide a systemic and seamless instructional model, while also defining and expanding opportunities for learning. 

What are you most looking forward to in your new role?

It takes a village to educate a child and I look forward to meeting the incredible students, teachers, leaders and community members of Douglas County who highly value a quality education. 

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