Dr. Jeffrey Marsden, who joined the Medfield school district as Superintendent on July 1 after the retirement of long-serving teacher and administrator Robert Maguire, has spent the summer familiarizing himself with the buildings and staff in order to ensure a smooth start to the new school year.
"Everyone I've met so far has been very, very supportive and extremely receptive," he said.
He will hold meetings in September with parents, and the general public will get to meet him at a welcome reception being held in his honor on Saturday, Sept. 7 from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the Medfield High School cafeteria.
The main issues Marsden plans to address right away include creating consistency among school buildings, promoting transparency, encouraging common planning times and collaboration, increasing visibility in the community, and holding forums by which to meet parents.
What does he see as his main challenge?
"Implementing the educational evaluation system," he said, referring to the new process of evaluating schoolteachers. "The most important thing in this all is that we're committed to having the best people working with kids every day. Just keeping that at the forefront, and also making sure that it's done in a real respectful, responsible way."
What is he excited about in the district?
"I think the initiative around the iPad and Bring-Your-Own-Device is very exciting to me," Marsden said, noting the program will enrich and enhance the students' classroom experience. "The possibility of having our kids working on an iPad and working one-to-one is very, very exciting."
He said he spent a few days in the district in June, after he was tapped as incoming superintendent and before school let out in June.
"I have been really impressed with the kids in the district; they're just a great group of kids at every level," he said. "They're polite, excited about school, eager to learn, just really great, great kids. I'm excited to meet more of them and really get involved in what they're doing. It's been impressive."
Asked what changes he has made already, Marsden said he has implemented the automated call service (Blackboard Connect) which will be helpful in sending unified messages from the district to parents who sign up for the newsflashes. He is also changing the way the district conducts professional development by embedding it into teachers' regular school day and tailoring it to individual classrooms. This is something that Marsden is passionate about; in fact, "The Effectiveness of Job-Embedded Professional Development," was the basis for his doctoral thesis.
About Dr. Marsden
Marsden lives in Norfolk with his wife and children. He says he knows Medfield well because they have friends here, they dine out a lot in town (Noon Hill Grille is a favorite), and they like to shop here as well (including Park Street Books).
Marsden holds a Doctorate in Education in Educational Leadership from Boston College, and has been the Superintendent of Wrentham Public Schools since 2006.
He started his career in the Taunton school district and then worked several years in the Douglas school district as a fourth and fifth grade teacher, then as Assistant Principal/Curriculum Coordinator, and ended in 2006 as the Principal of the Douglas Elementary School.
Marsden is a former adjunct professor at Boston College where he taught "Finance and Facility in Education" between 2007 and 2009.