BoardNotes: January 2022

Highlights from the Caroline Board of Education Meetings

Caroline County Board of Education meetings are livestreamed and may also be viewed after the meeting has concluded. For information about the Board of Education, including agendas and meeting schedules, please visit the Leadership page of our website.

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Board Member Reports

Board Members shared the highlights of their activities from the preceding month:

Mr. Barton said he attended the Advanced Manufacturing Program presentation and appreciated and admired the teamwork, comradery, and relationship between students, teachers, and members of the business community.

Mr. Jones especially enjoyed the winter concerts he attended, and said he knew there was "not a small amount" of work involved in enabling these to be held in-person.

Ms. DiGiacomo attended a Federal Relations Network committee meeting and appreciated that everyone acknowledged the current difficulties all school systems are experiencing.

Mr. Newcomb provided an update on the Board's superintendent search process which is moving forward with advertising and accepting applications. He also appreciated the work involved in the providing in-person winter concerts.

Ms. Wayman was not in attendance.

Board Members Report

Below L-R: Richard Barton, Donna DiGiacomo, James Newcomb, Arevia Michele Wayman, Mark Jones

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Superintendent's Report

Dr. Simmons shared his enjoyment of the winter concerts he attended, and congratulated the students and teachers for their return to in-person performances. He publicly thanked all the music teachers who worked together to fill any gaps caused by absences.

Dr. Simmons also explained that the School Messenger calls families and staff have recently received are automated rather than live in order to enable the message to be translated to Spanish and Haitian Creole.

Superintendent's Report

Student Representative Reports

Zahid Ashraf from Colonel Richardson High School and Zack O'Brien from North Caroline High School reported on activities from their respective schools.

Student Representative Reports

Finance Report

Comptroller Erin Thornton presented the most recent finance report.


The Board approved personnel items as presented by Debbie Siachos, Supervisor of Human Resources Debbie Siachos.


2020 Maryland Agriculture Teacher Association (MATA) Outstanding Teacher Award

The Board recognized Caroline Career & Technology teacher Jodi Callahan for receiving the 2020 Maryland Agriculture Teachers Association Outstanding Teacher Award. This is an award presented by MATA to recognize an individual for their outstanding contributions to agriculture education.

Doctoral Degree Recipient

The Board recognized Dr. Robert Willoughby for receiving a Doctorate of Public Administration from West Chester University in West Chester, PA.

Dr. Willoughby's dissertation was entitled, "From Networks of Necessity to the New Normal: How Collaboration and Networks Can Provide Efficient and Equitable Service Delivery in Rural Maryland Counties."

It examined the way Caroline County collaborates with outside agencies, citizens, and other groups in order to tackle complex problems and provide service in specific areas of public policy.

Maryland Early Childhood Leadership Program Completion

The Board recognized Heather Harding for completing the Maryland Early Childhood Leadership Program. After acceptance into the highly competitive program, Ms. Harding completed a year of training and a culminating project and presentation, earning three credits toward a Masters Degree. Her presentation was entitled "Theory of Change: Increasing Participation in Parenting Education Through Community Partnerships."


Two individuals participated in in-person Public Comment:

  1. Kevin Webster expressed concern about changes to the Technical Education course.
  2. Laney Tapponnier expressed concern regarding the law as it pertains to students who identify as transgender.


Legislative Update

Dr. Simmons provided the Board an update on the upcoming Legislative Session.

Important Dates of Interest:

  • January 12: General Assembly convenes
  • January 19: Final date for Governor to introduce budget bill and capital budget bill
  • March 7: 55th Day - Final date for introduction of bills without suspension of Rules
  • April 4: 83rd Day - Budget bill to be passed by both Chambers
  • April 11: 90th Day - Adjournment (Sine Die)

Blueprint Plans

The Board heard an update from Blueprint Implementation Coordinator Sara Visintainer regarding current planning.

Blueprint Implementation Update


Budget Summary

Dr. Simmons and Comptroller Erin Thornton discussed updates to the FY23 Budget Summary. Dr. Simmons explained the timeline, and Ms. Thornton highlighted major changes that have occurred since the document was last reviewed by the Board.


January 18, 2022: The Board met in open session with the Caroline County Commissioners to discuss the FY23 Draft Budget.

Board Work Session Video

FY23 Draft Budget Summary

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