Latest Communications

May 10, 2021: MSD Superintendent Search Suspended
 
The Maryland School for the Deaf (MSD) Board of Trustees has suspended its search for a new superintendent after three finalists identified by the Search Committee withdrew from the process.
 
In September 2020, the MSD Board of Trustees initiated its search process to appoint a transformative leader to serve as the next superintendent of its school. Throughout the search process, the MSD Board ensured that stakeholders were provided opportunities to engage in this important work. The nationwide search sought a highly qualified educator and inspiring leader to advance MSD in its compelling mission and vision.
 
After a series of interviews in April, the MSD Superintendent Search Committee voted to nominate three candidates to the MSD Board of Trustees who were highly qualified and met the expectations for the next MSD Superintendent based on the leader profile and job requirements. One candidate withdrew their consideration prior to MSD Board consideration. The Trustees then accepted and approved the remaining two candidates recommended by the search committee during a special meeting on May 6, 2021. Shortly after the special Board of Trustees meeting both finalists withdrew their application.
 
The MSD Board of Trustees will be meeting virtually in the coming weeks to determine the next steps for the school. In the meantime, Mr. Kevin Strachan, who has served as Interim Superintendent, will continue to serve in this role until the Board makes a decision on how it will handle the interim Superintendent role.
 
"Thanks to feedback and support from the community, our stakeholders, and partners, we identified three excellent candidates," said Stephen Hlibok, MSD Board Interim President. "While it is unfortunate that this process did not result in a finalist selected and appointed to the superintendent role, we have learned a great deal about what our community envisions for MSD's future and it will inform our decisions on the MSD leadership roles for this coming school year and the search for the next Superintendent. I would like to express my deepest gratitude to the MSD Superintendent Search Committee members and the leadership of Akilah English and Krista Leitch Walker, search committee co-chairs, for their dedication and time to a search process that was led with the utmost integrity and transparency. I also wish to thank Shane Feldman and his team at Innivee Strategies for their outstanding work in supporting the Superintendent search process."
 
About Maryland School for the Deaf
Recognized as a flagship school for Deaf and hard of hearing students and the only one of its kind in the state of Maryland, the Maryland School for the Deaf (MSD) provides comprehensive educational programs and services for eligible Deaf and hard of hearing students. MSD serves and supports over 450 students and their families on two campuses. The Frederick campus, founded in 1868, serves students from birth through 21 years of age, and the Columbia campus, established in 1973, serves students from birth through 8th grade. MSD strives to provide an equitable and exemplary education for all students in a nurturing, engaging, and challenging environment, ensuring that students achieve personal excellence and become responsible lifelong learners. MSD's mission is to provide American Sign Language (ASL) and English language models for early acquisition, and to provide linguistically enriched ASL and English environments for the attainment of fluency in both languages. The Maryland School for the Deaf Board of Trustees is the policy-making body responsible for the governance and strategic operations of the school and oversees the work of the superintendent. For more information about the Maryland School for the Deaf, please visit www.msd.edu.
 
About Innivee Strategies, Inc.
Innivee Strategies, Inc. provides organizations with systemic frameworks that enables them to build a strong strategic decision toward their desired vision. We engage leaders and stakeholders in collaborating together to choose the best governance model, set leadership, staff, and volunteer expectations, align and optimize resources, and manage change. Innivee Strategies is a leading search firm in the recruitment and placement of executives and leaders of organizations that serve the Deaf and hard of hearing community. Our services also include Effective Governance, Organizational Assessment, Strategic Planning, Change Management, Executive Support Systems, Leadership Development, and Guided Facilitation. Please visit our website at www.innivee.com to learn about our clients and their testimonies about how our services have benefited their organizations.
 
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Letter in ASL | Watch ASL Video
 
 
April 28, 2021: Superintendent Search Update
 
Dear MSD Community,
 
We are pleased to share this update on the progress of the search for the new Maryland School for the Deaf (MSD) superintendent, as well as the activities that are scheduled to take place over the next two months.
 
Over the course of a two-week period, the fifteen members of the MSD Superintendent search committee who come from a range of key constituent groups including staff, parents, and alumni engaged in the first stage of candidate interviews. Through these interviews, committee members had the opportunity to learn more about the candidates' qualifications and experiences, as well as the skills and competencies they may bring to the superintendent role.
 
The committee was enthused and impressed with the caliber of professionals interested in leading MSD and becoming a part of our community. Additionally, the pool of candidates comprises racial, gender, and experiential diversity, which was an essential value and priority shared by the MSD Board of Trustees and the MSD community through the community survey and the focus groups held earlier this year.
 
After thorough review and deliberations regarding the candidates, the search committee will submit to the Board of Trustees a list of candidates that they recommend for advancement to the finalist status. The committee's finalist recommendations will be submitted to the Board of Trustees prior to a closed session Board meeting where trustees will approve the finalists. A public announcement of the finalists will be shared with the MSD community on or around May 10th. 
 
During the week of May 24-27, the finalists will engage in the second stage of activities which will include an open community forum and forums with the Orioles Leadership Team, the Community Work Group team leaders and representatives, and a group of middle school and high school students representing both campuses. Details regarding the finalist community forums will be shared with the MSD community at the same time the finalists are announced.
 
The Board of Trustees is scheduled to conduct their interviews with the finalists in special, closed session meetings and is expected to make a decision regarding the selected candidates in June.
 
As you can see, we continue to move forward and closer to the finish line with this very important work! Barring no unforeseen changes or disruptions, we hope that the MSD Board of Trustees will announce the new MSD Superintendent by July 1, 2021.
 
Please stay tuned for more information regarding the finalist community forums during the second week of May.
 
Sincerely,
Akilah English and Krista Leitch Walker
MSD Superintendent Search Co-Chairs
 
Letter in ASL | Watch ASL Video
 
 
March 2, 2021: Superintendent Search Update
 
Dear MSD Community,
 
We are pleased to provide an update on the progress made in our preparations for the recruitment and hiring of a new superintendent of MSD.
 
First, and most exciting of all, is the release of the Maryland School for the Deaf Superintendent Search Prospectus! The MSD Superintendent prospectus includes key information for potential applicants for the position including an overview of the school, a profile of the leadership characteristics and capabilities of the ideal candidate, and a description of the required qualifications and the job duties. We have an ASL version of the prospectus and it can be found on the website. The team that worked on this project did a fantastic job -- most especially Amy Mowl, MSD's director of public relations!
 
The Maryland School for the Deaf (MSD) Superintendent leader profile was developed with input from nine focus groups representing a diverse makeup of stakeholders from the MSD community, including over 75 participants and 100 responses to the community survey. The MSD Board of Trustees and the Search Committee are appreciative and grateful for the community's contributions to MSD's Superintendent search process.
 
If you know of an ideal candidate who may be qualified for the Maryland School for the Deaf Superintendent, please share the prospectus and website with them. Candidates should submit a cover letter and resume to [email protected]. The deadline for applications is March 24, 2021.
 
We also want to take this opportunity to provide the following updates regarding the search process:
  • The MSD search committee held its fourth meeting on Friday, February 5, 2021 to begin the process of developing the interview process and questions. This work will be completed prior to the interviews which are scheduled to take place in April 2021.
  • During the February 5th meeting, the search committee welcomed a new member, Garri Azrelyant. Garri is replacing Michelle Core as the Frederick campus parent representative. We look forward to working with Garri. We appreciate the contributions Michelle made during her time with the search committee. Thank you, Michelle!
  • Please be sure to check out the search process timeline on the MSD website. It was recently updated to reflect date changes that better align with the school schedule and ensure that the MSD community and stakeholders are able to attend the finalist forums. More information about the finalist forums will be released in a future search committee update.
As you can see, the work on the search for a new MSD superintendent is moving ahead. We will provide another update on our progress once we close the application period and begin the interview phase.
 
Sincerely,
Akilah English and Krista Leitch Walker
MSD Superintendent Search Co-Chairs
 
Letter in ASL | Watch ASL Video
 
 
January 6, 2021: Leader Profile Community Survey
 
Dear MSD Community, 
 
The Maryland School for the Deaf Board of Trustees has initiated the search process for the next MSD Superintendent. Innivee Strategies, Inc., an executive search consulting firm, has been contracted to assist us with this important work. In preparing for the recruitment of potential candidates, we wish to learn from the school's community and stakeholders about the ideal qualifications and attributes that are needed in MSD's next superintendent.
 
The deadline to respond to the survey is Friday, January 22, 2021, at midnight EST.
 
This survey asks four questions which consultants from Innivee Strategies will analyze and use to compile into a description and leadership profile for the ideal candidate for the position of MSD Superintendent. Each question has a video that translates the question into American Sign Language (ASL) and the content is translated into written Spanish.
 
Once you understand each question, select your response via text OR upload your video response to YouTube. The YouTube link should be "unlisted" and the link should be pasted into the text in response to the survey question. Your video should be no longer than one minute.
 
A summary of the survey results will be shared publicly in conjunction with the MSD Superintendent job announcement that will be shared with prospective candidates and the community.
 
Thank you for your support!
 
Sincerely yours,
 
Akilah English
Krista Leitch Walker
MSD Superintendent Search Co-Chairs
 
Click HERE to complete the online survey.
 
Letter in ASL | Watch ASL Video
 
 
PDF and Online Survey in Spanish | Encuesta Comunitaria sobre el Liderazgo
January 4, 2021: Focus Groups
 
Dear MSD Community,
 
In an effort to gather feedback from the MSD community before issuing a call for applications for the new superintendent of MSD, our executive search consulting firm, Innivee Strategies, Inc., will host a series of confidential focus groups during the month of January 2021.
 
These focus groups will provide students, faculty, staff, alumni, and other stakeholders the opportunity to share their thoughts on the qualifications and attributes that are needed in the next MSD superintendent and what the new leader's top priorities should be. This information is important to our process as it will help to shape the recruitment and evaluation of prospective candidates for the position.
 
The focus groups will be led by Mr. Shane Feldman and Dr. Onudeah Nicolarakis of Innivee Strategies, Inc., You can learn about the focus group facilitators at: 
 
Focus group members will be selected based on the available space for each focus group date and the composition of each focus group. There are four total open focus group dates to choose from, and they are:
  • Saturday, January 16 from 9:00 to 10:30am
  • Tuesday, January 19 from 4:30 to 6:00pm
  • Thursday, January 21 from 7:00 to 8:30pm
  • Friday, January 22 from 12:00 to 1:30pm
The deadline to RSVP for the focus group is midnight, Monday, January 11, 2021.
 
In addition to the four open focus groups, there are two restricted focus groups. The restricted focus groups will be for MSD students and Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) teachers, staff, and families. The student focus group will allow students the opportunity to have space in which they can share their thoughts among peers. The focus group for BIPOC will be led solely by Dr. Nicolarakis to ensure the space is safe for BIPOC participants. The dates for the student and BIPOC participants will be coordinated by the school administration and superintendent search co-chairs.
 
To ensure that participants feel safe and comfortable in sharing their thoughts, it is important that everyone honors a commitment to confidentiality. Therefore, if you are selected for a focus group, you will be required to sign a focus group confidentiality form. The focus groups will be recorded only for the purpose of note-taking and follow-up; they will not be shared outside of the search consultants and the recordings will be deleted once the recruitment materials have been developed and published.
 
All focus groups will be conducted in American Sign Language (ASL). ASL-Spoken English interpreters will be provided. If you have any requests for accommodations for Deaf-blind interpreting, Spanish interpreting, captioning services, or other similar services, please email [email protected] by January 11, 2021.
 
Should you have any questions, please feel free to contact us via email at [email protected]
 
Sincerely yours,
 
Akilah English
Krista Leitch Walker
MSD Superintendent Search Co-Chairs
 
Click HERE to RSVP for the MSD Superintendent Focus Groups
 
Letter in ASL | Watch ASL Video
 
PDF in English | Focus Groups
 
PDF and RSVP Form in Spanish | Grupos Focales
December 10, 2020: Executive Search Firm
 
Dear MSD Community, 
 
We are pleased to share that the MSD Board of Trustees has engaged Innivee Strategies, Inc., a deaf-owned national consulting firm to assist in MSD's search for its 11th superintendent.
 
Selected through a competitive process, the Board selected Innivee Strategies as the most qualified for this project given their experience in consulting on executive searches for other schools and programs for the deaf, coupled with their expertise in management, human resources, and organizational development. Additionally, their approach in engaging community stakeholders beyond the search committee through a variety of strategies and formats is in alignment with the philosophy and expectations of the Board and search co-chairs for the MSD superintendent search.
 
A team of consultants, led by CEO Shane Feldman, will help to shape the overall strategy and process, will actively recruit a highly qualified and diverse pool of candidates, and will provide guidance to the co-chairs and the members of the search committee at each stage of the process.
 
We are excited that this important milestone has been achieved and look forward to the work ahead with the search committee and Innivee Strategies in identifying highly qualified, visionary, and transformational candidates through an engaged, community-wide process.
 
For more information about the executive search firm, please visit the MSD Superintendent Search website.
 
Sincerely, 
Akilah English and Krista Leitch Walker
Co-chairs, MSD Superintendent Search
 
Letter in ASL | Watch ASL Video
 
PDF in English | Executive Search Firm
 
November 11, 2020: Superintendent Search Committee
 
Dear MSD Community,
 
We are pleased to share with you the members of the search committee for the Maryland School for the Deaf Superintendent. We appreciate their willingness to serve and to invest their time in this important search at this very challenging time of the year.
 
The committee members are:
  • Akilah English, Co-Chair - Board of Trustees Member
  • Krista Leitch Walker, Co-Chair - Board of Trustees Member
  • Heather Beck - Parent, Columbia
  • Tamara Jo Coleman - Teacher, Frederick
  • Cheri Dowling - Coordinator, Family Support & Resource Center, Columbia
  • Nicole Goldberg - Teacher, Columbia
  • Carina Hed-Edington - Teacher, Columbia
  • Jo Ann Mackinson - School Counselor, Columbia
  • Brandon McMillan-Muszynski - Teacher, Frederick
  • Ann Miller - Chief Operating Officer & Chief Financial Officer
  • Lisa Pershan - IEP Coordinator, Frederick
  • Karen Price-William - Alumni
  • Lisa Smith - School Social Worker, Frederick
  • Trudy Suggs - Maryland School for the Deaf Foundation Board of Director
  • Michelle Vore - Parent, Frederick
We would like to remind you that the search committee is just one way for community members to be involved with and contribute to the search and selection of a new superintendent. There are other ways for you to be involved with the search process. We hope that you will consider participating in one of the community forums and completing the survey that will be conducted in a few weeks. These are important ways that you can provide input on the ideal competencies and characteristics for the future leader of MSD. Information regarding the community forums and survey will be shared with the MSD community in the next few weeks.
 
As for the executive search consultant that will work with the search committee and the Board of Trustees for the recruitment and hiring of the new superintendent of MSD, the proposal review process is nearly completed. A recommended firm will be presented to the Board of Trustees for approval at their meeting on November 13th, with a public announcement to be made shortly thereafter.
 
If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us at [email protected]. As always, thank you for your important work.
 
Thank you.
Akilah English and Krista Leitch Walker, Co-Chairs
 
Letter in ASL | Watch ASL Video
 
 
October 8, 2020: Update on the Superintendent Search
 
Dear MSD Community,
 
We are pleased to provide an update on the progress made in our preparations for the recruitment and hiring of a new superintendent of MSD.
 
Search Committee
 
We received over 40 nominations and applications for search committee members. While we are thrilled that so many community members are interested and willing to volunteer their time for this important work, it also poses a challenge as the committee will be limited to approximately 15 members. In determining the composition of the committee, we must be mindful to ensure that the members are representative of the diverse identities, roles, experiences, and perspectives of the community. We expect to have notifications sent out to the nominees/applicants by the week of October 12 - 16, 2020.
 
While not all nominees/applicants will have the opportunity to serve on the committee, we will be providing other ways for people to be involved and contribute to the process. Keep an eye out for more information to come!
 
Executive Search Consultant
 
On Friday, October 2nd, a request for proposals (RFP) was issued for an executive search consultant to assist with the recruitment and hiring of the new superintendent of MSD. The search consultant serves as a neutral expert, providing guidance and support to the search committee and the Board of Trustees throughout the process. Some of the tasks the consultant will perform include developing advertising materials; networking and recruiting potential candidates; screening applications for minimum qualifications; and coordinating the interviewing process.
 
Individuals interested in reviewing the Superintendent Search RFP or in submitting a proposal should visit the Office of State Procurement's eMaryland Market Place Advantage (eMMA) website. The due date for proposals is Thursday, October 22, 2020, with a selection targeted for the week of November 2 - 6, 2020. An announcement will be made regarding the selection of the executive search consultant shortly thereafter.
 
As promised, we will continue to keep the MSD community informed as things progress. Should you have any questions, suggestions, or concerns, please do not hesitate to email us at [email protected]
 
Thank you for your interest and support.
 
Akilah English and Krista Leitch Walker
Co-chairs, MSD Superintendent Search
 
Letter in ASL | Watch ASL Video
 
 
September 24, 2020: Superintendent Search Committee
 
Hello MSD Community, 
 
We know that it is critical to a successful search process for us to gain input from a diverse group of stakeholders in the Maryland School for the Deaf community, on an individual and group basis. One way for the community's involvement is to serve on the MSD superintendent search committee. We want to ensure that the superintendent search committee is diverse and representative of the MSD community. As a result, we are seeking 15 individuals to join the search committee representing a wide array of constituencies throughout the MSD community.
 
Unfortunately, to date, we have received only a few applications/nominations from the Columbia campus. It is very important that the Columbia Campus has a "voice" in the process through representation on the search committee. We are currently looking for a total of five (5) representatives from the Columbia Campus: two teachers, two staff, and one parent.
 
Because we need to have an adequate pool of applications/nominations to ensure well representation from both campuses, we are extending the deadline to apply. The new deadline is Friday, October 2, 2020 and we are still accepting applications from both Frederick and Columbia campuses. The nomination form can be found on the website.
 
If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us at [email protected]
 
Thank you, 
Akilah English and Krista Leitch Walker
Co-Chairs
 
Letter in ASL | Watch ASL Video
 
 
September 18, 2020: Letter to the Community
 
Dear MSD Community, 
 
We are honored to have been appointed to lead the recruitment and search for a new superintendent of Maryland School for the Deaf. The superintendent serves as an essential role in leading the strategic direction and culture of the organization, as well as overseeing the day-to-day operations of the school. As a result, finding a highly qualified and transformational leader is a major endeavor and should follow a process that engages the many constituencies of the community. An active search committee, composed of efficient, diverse, and engaged stakeholders, is an essential factor in a successful search.
 
We are seeking 15 individuals to assist in vetting a robust pool of candidates to fill this important role and invite nominations for consideration to serve as a member of the MSD superintendent search committee. Selections from the nominations will be made to ensure that the composition of the search committee is diverse and representative of the MSD community.
 
The 15-person search committee will consist of the following members:
  • Two co-chairs: Akilah English and Krista Leitch Walker
  • Two teachers from Frederick campus
  • Two teachers from Columbia campus
  • Two staff from Frederick campus
  • Two staff from Columbia campus
  • One parent from Frederick campus
  • One parent from Columbia campus
  • One MSD alumni
  • One member from the Maryland State Department of Education or the Governor's Office
  • One member from the Maryland School for the Deaf Foundation
The nomination form can be found on the website. The deadline to submit a nomination is on Friday, September 25, 2020.
 
In October and November, the MSD Superintendent Search Committee (MSSC) will meet with different stakeholders through focus groups and conduct an online survey to solicit input. The information gleaned from those activities will help the MSSC to create a Leadership Profile that will be used in recruiting applicants for the position. The Leadership Profile may include:
  • Desired educational background and work experience
  • Leadership and management philosophies and styles
  • Essential personal qualities
  • Values, beliefs, and characteristics
  • Priority issues facing MSD, the education of Deaf students, and the K-12 landscape
We are both committed to transparency and integrity throughout the entire process and thank everyone in advance for their engagement during this transformational time at the Maryland School for the Deaf. We will keep the community informed as the search for a new superintendent progresses and encourage you to check the website for updates.
 
Please visit the website for more information: www.msd.edu/superintendentsearch/
 
If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us at [email protected].
 
Thank you,
Akilah English and Krista Leitch Walker
Co-Chairs
 
Letter in ASL | Watch ASL Video
 
PDF in English | Letter to the Community