Dr. Shawn Joseph resigning from post as superintendent

By Lynn R. Parks

Two years after accepting the position, the superintendent of the Seaford School District has resigned. Shawn Joseph's last day will be Feb. 28, just one day after the referendum on the district's requested $1.5 million hike in current expense revenues.

Former Woodbridge superintendent Kevin Carson has been named as his replacement. Carson will take over the reins of the district on March 1.

Joseph submitted his resignation Monday night, during an executive session of the school board. He announced his resignation at the public board meeting that followed the executive session.

"The Seaford School District will always have a special place in my heart," he said. "This has been one of the greatest professional endeavors of my life."

"The past two years under Dr. Joseph's leadership have been integral in placing Seaford at the forefront in educational innovations within our state," board president Mike Smith said in a statement that was released Tuesday morning. "The initiatives that have been put into place have helped to define our path forward and shape the future of the district."

Following a second executive session, the school board named Carson to serve as interim superintendent through June 27. Carson, who has also been superintendent of the Cape Henlopen School District, most recently served as a consultant with the Delaware Academy of School Leadership. He has been working with the district to help ensure passage of the Feb. 27 referendum.

"He has a proven track record of district leadership in Delaware and will provide a seamless transition as the Seaford School District moves further into the implementation of its strategic plan," the school board said in announcing the appointment.

District spokeswoman Stephanie Smith said that the school board will conduct a search for a replacement for Joseph. "The search particulars are not determined yet," she said.

Monday night, reading from a prepared statement, Joseph said that he was leaving the district because of "personal family issues." His wife, Ocheze, is principal at Clopper Mill Elementary School in the Montgomery County (Md.) School District. She has "not been able to relocate" to Sussex County, Joseph said. She and their two children still live in Montgomery County.

"Professionally, I could not be happier in the Seaford School District," Joseph said. He pointed to several indicators of improved student performance, including higher graduation rates and climbing test scores.

"There is a sense of momentum in the community," he said. "I am proud of our workers, that they were able to collaborate to improve instruction. And I'd like to thank the board and the community for working to advantage our children."

Smith, who until recently was serving as acting principal at a middle school in the Christina School District, said that he understood Joseph's situation. "I know the feeling of being on the road and being away from your family," he said. "It can wear on you."

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