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Superintendent of the Year: Marlon Styles, Middletown City School District

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Superintendent of the Year: Marlon Styles, Middletown City School District

Dec 10, 2020
Marlon Styles elbow bumping young student


Superintendent of the Year: Marlon Styles, Middletown City School District

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, an Ohio superintendent took his push to close equity gaps to the national stage.

K-12 Dive, a leading education publication, named Middletown City School District Superintendent Marlon Styles, Jr., as the Superintendent of the Year. In a year where so much did not go according to plan, Middletown’s superintendent stayed positive and rewrote the plans to work for our district. Mr. Styles advocates tirelessly for Middletown students and staff at both the state and national level, gaining attention for all the right reasons. Today Middletown City Schools recognizes Mr. Styles. Thank you.

To read the full article, click here.

Superintendent of the Year: Marlon Styles, Middletown City School District

December 9, 2020

By Roger Riddell, Editor 

“...The local school district, Middletown City School District, serves 6,400 students and has a 99% free and reduced-price lunch rate. Even without a pandemic and a national reckoning over systemic racism and inequity, it is a scenario where transformational leadership is imperative...

“And one where Superintendent Marlon Styles has been ‘a game-changer,’ Middletown Board of Education President Chris Urso tells Education Dive…’Marlon has really reset our district in all kinds of different ways.’...

“An agenda focused on technological transformation also set the district up to face the COVID-19 pandemic. And while hurdles have persisted around internet access, Styles has become a vocal supporter of closing the homework gap on the national stage. 

“In March, he estimated to The Wall Street Journal that 20% of the district's students still lacked home internet or device access. And during a May virtual briefing to the House Committee on Education and Labor, he detailed the struggles of families in his district, called for lawmakers to move on closing gaps in access and equity further exacerbated by the pandemic…

“‘The equity gap that exists in this country between the haves and have-nots is on center stage right now...We’ve got kids across this country and here in Middletown who go home and don’t have access to Wi-Fi and maybe not even a device in their home. But right now across the country, we’re celebrating e-learning, virtual learning, whatever kind of learning you want to call it.’...

"But more so than access, his first concern when the pandemic hit...was ensuring the basic needs of students and their families were being met…

“In April, the city's food service and transportation departments were working with volunteers to distribute an average of 4,500 meal bags containing a breakfast and lunch from 30 locations citywide throughout the week…

“Of course, these challenges have also been compounded by a summer in which the police-involved deaths of Black Americans led to a national reckoning on systemic racism and inequity. As with his response to the pandemic, Styles has confronted the challenge with frankness and candor, establishing an open dialogue with stakeholders…

“‘We need to do a better job in the education profession of challenging each other to hold true to what we value in our cores,’ Styles said, stressing the importance of modeling the right thing to do...

“Ultimately, for Urso, as both a board member and parent, the end result of this work is visible where it matters most.

“‘Our scores are improving, if that's one marker people want to look at,’ he said. ‘But I look at our kids, and I think they're more prideful being in Middletown, and our teachers are jacked up about the work they're doing.”

To read the full article, click here.


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