The City School District of Albany Board of Education has extended the contract of Superintendent Kaweeda G. Adams through the 2024-25 school year, once again rewarding the strong leadership she has delivered with the longest contract that state law allows.
The board approved the five-year contract at its meeting Thursday night, adding one additional year to Adams’ current contract.
“As we enter this new phase of the COVID-19 pandemic, during which Albany will be working to provide the safest and best possible educational environment for our students and our employees, there is no leader we would rather have at the helm,” Board President Anne Savage said.
“Over the past three years we have seen repeatedly how Superintendent Adams’ exceptional operational skills, her leadership and her integrity are creating meaningful improvements for both students, and faculty and staff.”
The contract extension does not include a salary increase. Adams earned $200,950 in 2019-20 and voluntarily took a pay freeze for the 2020-21 school year to help the district close a budget deficit. All members of the district’s senior leadership team and all management confidential staff also accepted a salary freeze for 2020-21.
“I am honored to serve as the superintendent of the City School District of Albany,” Adams said. “The past three years have been amazing; we have seen many challenges and triumphs.
“In addressing the current COVID-19 pandemic, I understand that we do not have a blueprint for situations like this. However, I could not imagine going through something like this without the collegial support and relationships among our district’s cabinet, the commitment of our administrators, faculty and staff, and the support, confidence and belief in our work from the Board of Education. I am encouraged by the work we have done and the promise it holds for the future.”
A native of Shreveport, La., Adams came to Albany in 2017 after 28 years in the Clark County, Nev., school district, which includes Las Vegas. It is the fifth-largest school district in the United States.
Under her leadership, Albany is focused on five primary goals:
- Increasing student achievement;
- Enhancing the delivery of quality instruction;
- Building leadership capacity and increasing accountability;
- Empowering families; and
- Partnering with the city’s diverse community.
Adams has sought to engage all stakeholders in supporting the district’s approximately 9,300 students with her popular catch phrase “All in for Albany!”
The message, intended to empower a district with the best strategies to improve academic outcomes for all students, has served as a welcoming call to action for many in Albany.
Her leadership in the areas of equity, culturally relevant education and social justice have emerged as central tenets of the district’s work. Underpinned by the board’s adoption of the district’s first Equity in Education Policy in January 2019, the district is embedding those pillars in professional development for all employees as well as curriculum development.
“I believe in the possibilities of our continued success as we have established a foundation of equity,” Adams said. “I am inspired by the commitment to embedding social justice within our curriculum, and the awareness and implementation of anti-racist practices as we work to fulfill our vision of being a district of excellence with caring relationships and engaging learning experiences that provide equitable opportunities for all students to reach their potential.”
Other signs of progress through the first three years of Adams’ tenure include:
- A continued increase in Albany High School’s graduation rate to 68% for the classes of 2018 and 2019, the school’s highest rate since the state started measuring graduation under its current methodology in 2005;
- Nine Schools in Good Standing, up from four in 2018;
- An increased emphasis on social-emotional supports for students, including trauma-informed care and restorative justice;
- Increased opportunities for family engagement at the school and district levels; and
- Revitalized relationships with community partners.
“Under Superintendent Adams’ leadership, our district has begun to address long-standing barriers to equitable outcomes for all students,” Savage said. “We have dramatically improved operations throughout the district. We have committed to exceptional professional development for our employees, and we have substantially expanded and improved our curriculum, incorporating both more science and more social justice themes at every grade level.
“We are seeing the results of this work in improved graduation rates and improved academic outcomes in the early grades. The board looks forward to continuing this progress in partnership with Superintendent Adams, our faculty and staff, our students and families and our community.”