Through an extensive selection process, the Calvert County Board of Education (Board) has narrowed the superintendent search to two finalists. The two finalists are Dr. Racquel Jones, Ed.D., community superintendent for Baltimore County Public Schools in Baltimore, Maryland, and Dr. Andrae Townsel, Ed.D., superintendent Benton Harbor Area Schools in Benton Harbor, Michigan.

The Board is engaged in a search to replace the current superintendent, Dr. Daniel D. Curry, who announced earlier this year that he would retire in June 2022.

The two finalists will participate in individual interviews with the Calvert County Board of Education, in candidate forums with stakeholders to include community, staff, students, and parents, and in tours of the school system.

Meet the finalists

Dr. Racquel Jones, Ed.D.

Dr. Racquel Jones, Ed.D., has over 25 years of service in public education working with educators and stakeholders as strategic partners in the pursuit of academic excellence for all students. For the past four years, Dr. Jones has served as community superintendent for Baltimore County Public Schools in Maryland, engaging in turnaround work, building a culture of continuous improvement, and aligning school and system operations. Under her leadership, opportunity gaps have closed significantly through the expansion of equitable access to college and career readiness pathways and advanced academics with increased participation in various Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs of study, Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID), dual enrollment, Advanced Placement (AP) courses, and magnet programs. Schools have received state and national awards for demonstrating a commitment to student success.

To ensure organizational effectiveness and coherence, Dr. Jones collaboratively leads high-performing, cross-functional teams focused on operationalizing system-wide initiatives. Leadership is cultivated in school administrators and central office staff to achieve a collective purpose of learning, accountability, and results.

Prior to leading in the role of a community superintendent, Dr. Jones served as an executive director of school support in Baltimore County Public Schools. In this role, she provided strategic direction, supervision, and differentiated support to secondary principals in the areas of instructional leadership and teaching and learning. She utilized evidenced-based practices to create the conditions necessary to support the growth of principals as instructional leaders and implemented a teaching approach as a primary lever for enhancing principal performance. During her tenure as an executive director, graduation rates increased, and equity teams were established across all schools.

Previously, Dr. Jones successfully served as an assistant superintendent for The School District of Philadelphia in Pennsylvania, supervised a network of pre-kindergarten through eighth grade, middle, and high schools, and oversaw all aspects of the instructional program and daily operations of assigned schools. She has performed in the role of an executive director of principal support and accountability for Baltimore City Public Schools in Maryland and directed the work of a central office network support team focused on closing achievement gaps and improving organizational culture and school climate.

Dr. Jones has also proudly served as a principal, assistant principal, and teacher in diverse schools and districts. She has earned a doctorate in educational policy, planning and leadership from William & Mary, a master’s degree in educational leadership from Regent University, and a bachelor’s degree in business from Norfolk State University. She lives in Maryland with her husband and is the proud mother of a son and daughter

Dr. Andrae Townsel, Ed.D.

Dr. Andrae Townsel earned a football scholarship to Howard University in Washington, DC. During his time at Howard, he earned his bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate all from Howard University and began his educational career in the District of Columbia. He had the privilege to work at every level of the educational system and excelled. He served as a student teacher, teacher, head coach (football and basketball), athletic director, dean of students, central office specialist, assistant principal, high school principal, assistant superintendent, and a current highly effective superintendent.

As the superintendent of Benton Harbor Area Schools, he successfully eliminated the budget deficit after 14 years of being in the red, increased the salary of all teachers after having their salaries frozen for over 10 years, and successfully developed a 5-year district Strategic Plan. The United Way of Southwest Michigan has highlighted him and his district as the Education Innovator of the Year in 2021. He was nominated as the 2021 Superintendent of the Year in Michigan. He successfully navigated the pandemic, whereas the board of education gave a vote of confidence.

His district was awarded $3 million dollars over the next 5 years to focus on and improve literacy. They were 1 out of 5 districts to receive this award through a competitive grant application process.

As an assistant superintendent in the Wayne-Westland Community School District, Dr. Townsel pioneered the work of climate, culture, and social-emotional learning. In a district of nearly 11,000 students and 20 school buildings, he hired and developed climate and culture coaches for each building and provided yearlong professional development to effectively address the disproportionality in discipline data as well as improve the overall behavior of students district-wide to ensure an increase in academic achievement. He has a strong knowledge of school finance and showed great fiscal responsibility at all levels. He generated nearly $250k in grant funding to support the work of restorative practices and social-emotional learning (SEL).

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