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Posted Date: 07/07/2021


As part of the new strategic framework adopted inon May 18 by the Norwalk Board of Education, a new structure was approved for districtwide leadership positions. We are pleased to announce that Dr. Alexandra Estrella, superintendent, has confirmed appointments for the following positions: deputy superintendent of excellence, equity & inclusion, assistant superintendent of schools and two executive directors of leadership development roles. These positions will be voted on during a special Board of Education meeting to be held tomorrow, July 8. being held this Thursday.

These senior leadership appointments join four others that were confirmed last month, including the In June, the following senior leadership appointments were approved: assistant superintendent of business and operations, assistant superintendent for digital learning and innovation, chief of staff and communications, and chief financial officer. With the addition of this week’s Thursday’s appointments, the Norwalk Public Schools senior leadership team is complete for the in place for the 2021-22 start of the new school year.

Deputy Superintendent of Excellence, Equity & Inclusion

Dr. Thomas McBryde brings comprehensive experience to the role, having facilitated and implemented equity focused work across all district schools in New York City’s District 19, to provide equal access to education for all learners, while supporting and enabling staff members to identify and address implicit bias.

In his new role, Dr. McBryde will promote a culture of inclusion and embrace differences as a strategic opportunity to lead the district’s effort to build a culture of equity and inclusion for all students, families, staff and community members. Dr. McBryde will guide efforts to define, assess, nurture and cultivate diversity as an institutional and educational resource. He will also provide leadership for the district in the absence of the superintendent.

Dr. McBryde joins Norwalk Public Schools from the New York City Department of Education, where he held a variety of leadership roles including Community Superintendent of District 19. While in this role, he increased student performance at or above grade level by 11% in ELA and 10% in math on state assessments. Dr. McBryde also served as Deputy Superintendent of District 4, acting as the superintendent’s designee to conduct principal evaluations annually. Additionally, he developed districtwide goals and facilitated the planning of action steps to meet goals and the process for monitoring and tracking progress toward goals. Dr. McBryde also served as the Principal of Mott Hall IV Middle School in Brooklyn, New York where he implemented systems and structures to significantly increase student achievement after serving in the role of Resident Principal at Esperanza Academy as part of nationally recognized year-long school leadership training program.

Assistant Superintendent of Schools

Mr. Pennington’s strong leadership experience positions him to lead the Department of Curriculum and Instruction, ensuring highly effective, innovative and inclusive instruction and specialized services. In this role, Pennington will oversee the work related to curriculum and instruction, special education, professional learning, counseling, student services and the multilingual, gifted and talented and visual and performing arts programs. He will also oversee the development of and support for principals, including the evaluation of both their performance and the annual quality reviews of their schools.

Having served as principal of Rowayton Elementary School for the past two years, Pennington participated in the NSPEDPAC committee as a co-vice chair helping to build relationships with our specialized learning families. He also led implementation of the community wide vision of the School Improvement plan to help improve student achievement and close the achievement gaps. Pennington also served as Rowayton School’s Curriculum and Instruction Site Director (CISD) since 2017. As CISD, he developed and led the K-5 teams, supporting academic and social-emotional needs through the SRBI Tier II and Tier III implementation that helped students achieve high growth.

Prior to becoming a part of the Rowayton Elementary School team, Pennington held the position of CISD at Brookside Elementary School, where he created and implemented a before-school intervention program for students in need of academic support. This program was instrumental in helping the school to narrow the achievement gap.  He has provided similar interventions for students at Rowayton School.

Executive Directors of Leadership Development

Dr. Kase and Ms. Sheppard will provide guidance and direction to principals and assistant principals to become transformational leaders who can build and articulate a shared vision for their schools, create high performance expectations, provide support and supervision for staff, effectively lead the school’s instructional program and encourage meaningful collaboration among stakeholders.

Dr. Sandra Kase

An experienced leader with a deep knowledge of curriculum and instructional best practices, Dr. Kase began her career in the South Bronx as a teacher and continued as a staff developer, district administrator, principal and superintendent of schools. 

As a teacher and trainer, she supported the development and growth of other teachers so that they were able to meet the needs of the students they served. During her 14 years as principal of The Claremont Community School, CES 42, Dr. Kase led the school’s successful turnaround from failing to high performing, and was recognized for her efforts by the city, state and national media. 

After serving in the position of special assistant to the Chancellor for Priority Schools, Dr. Kase was appointed supervising superintendent for the Chancellor’s District, which was composed of 49 of the lowest performing schools in New York City.  Supervising and supporting four instructional superintendents and a full district staff, she led the work of improving student outcomes in those schools.  She also led the creation of ten new schools, each with its own mission, vision and organization. 

Ms. Mary-Anne Sheppard

Ms. Sheppard joined NPS in 2020 as director of STEM, where she worked with elementary schools to develop, implement and enhance the STEM curriculum. This included content areas such as career and technology education, library media, science, engineering and math. She has also held a variety of leadership roles including deputy superintendent, field support liaison, and principal, Sheppard began her career as a teacher and math coach.

During her tenure in New York, she coordinated a community of practice for principals and assistant principals to study equitable practices in mathematics instruction and led a math lead teacher professional learning cohort to strengthen math curricula and support and challenge students as mathematicians. 

As a middle school principal of Urban Assembly Academy of Civic Engagement, Sheppard advanced the school’s capacity to meet student needs and to ensure a coherent approach to instruction, moving the school’s overall ranking from seventh to 44th percentile as compared to all NYC middle schools.