MOUNT VERNON, N.Y. – The Mount Vernon School District ushered in a “new day” on Tuesday, Sept. 2, as students returned to the classroom for the first day of school and new Schools Superintendent Kenneth Hamilton formally kicked off his administration.
Summer is officially over for Mount Vernon children, and schools are back in session as the district continues its rebuild, and transition to an innovative “K-8” model.
New School Board President Leonard Sarver and Hamilton have an uphill climb ahead of them, as they attempt to earn back the public’s trust and turn around a school district that saw student proficiently numbers among the lowest in the state.
On top of turning around the district, Hamilton has to try to tackle the Common Core Learning Standards – a point of scorn among students, teachers and administrators alike – and spearhead a technology initiative that was started last year by Interim Superintendent Judith Johnson.
Hamilton, who spent the entirety of his career in New Jersey to this point, has given the community a sense of optimism for city schools, and expressed his positive hopes for students and faculty as the new regime takes over.
“The future for Mount Vernon is vibrant, with new energy, to create lasting change,” he said. “The staff is ready to kick off the new year with high hopes and a renewed focus on improvement efforts.”
The new superintendent hit the ground running since he was officially sworn in last month. He has been active in the community and was one of several faculty members and administrators that handed out more than 600 backpacks filled with new school supplies to families in need last week.
Hamilton was tabbed as the permanent replacement for Johnson after a lengthy two-year search. He served as a special education teacher before transitioning to administration in 2009.
On the first day of school, the new superintendent echoed the words of his predecessor, vowing to leave no child left behind.
“It’s a new day in Mount Vernon and we’re changing the landscape,” he said. “One child at a time.”