Sylvia Henderson to lead the district

Capital School District Assistant Superintendent Sylvia Henderson will be the district’s interim superintendent, the school board voted unanimously June 29 in a special meeting.

Henderson joined Capital in 2015. “[She] has helped bring our district forward since her first day in office,” the district wrote in a Facebook post. “She bleeds blue and white and exudes Senator pride each day and we are excited to move forward with Dr. Henderson into the 2020-21 School Year.”

Adewunmi Kuforiji, chief financial officer, was unanimously approved as interim assistant superintendent. Filling these positions sets a search in motion after the board approved Superintendent Dan Shelton’s resignation June 17.

The special meeting included a presentation from the Delaware School Boards Association, a nonprofit organization that includes 19 school boards. Executive Director John Marinucci introduced a general 16-week search process, offering to lead or support the search in any way.

Marinucci did not pressure the school board to make a decision. “Don’t feel urgency to agree to use the school board association at this point,” he said. “We’re here. You’ve got us.” Services are included in Capital’s membership and come at no cost.

Following about an hour of discussion, the board moved to table any search decisions until they could consider other outside consulting firms. President John C. Martin volunteered to lead that research with one other member.

Board member Sean Christansen made the motion to table the resolution and board member Joan Engel seconded it.

During their conversation, the board emphasized the importance of involving community members and stakeholders.

“I want for us to also be transparent. I want us to be inclusive,” Martin said. “I want us to over communicate and make sure we’re getting our message out far and wide to make sure all of our constituents get a chance to be heard.”

Board member Sean Christiansen said he hopes the district’s community connection stays strong throughout the process. “Our schools have become our community and our community have become our schools,” he said. “It’s a very good working relationship that we have and it continues to grow.”

Marinucci gave examples of how the DSBA used a specific email address and community meetings during a recent search at Brandywine School District. “We will seek as much input as possible through the email address, through the ability to attempt several meetings at different items, different days of the week, different locations,” he said.

Despite distancing restrictions, Martin said he was hopeful that virtual meetings might allow for more stakeholders to be heard.

Earlier this month, Shelton announced his resignation effective July 1. He is taking a new position as superintendent of Christina School District.

The board approved the resignation unanimously June 17. Before the vote, each member took turns wishing Shelton well and showing gratitude for him and his work in the district.

Christiansen recalled the first days when Shelton started as superintendent and began to visit schools. “He sat down on the carpet with a kindergartner and read to him,” Christiansen said, remembering a conversation with a faculty member. “Our superintendent has not sat still since he’s come on.”

The goodbyes were teary-eyed among many. “I’m certainly going to miss all of you,” Shelton said. “It’s a Senator Nation and it’s something that I’m truly going to miss.”