Ms. Edwards awarded top PA supervision leadership award

QCSD Assistant Superintendent is recognized by the Pennsylvania Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development
Posted on 10/09/2019
Photo of Ms. Nancianne EdwardsBy Gary Weckselblatt

Nancianne Edwards, Quakertown Community School District Assistant Superintendent for Leadership, Administration and Technology, has been selected for the 2020 Outstanding Supervision Leadership Award by the Pennsylvania Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (PASCD).

Ms. Edwards, an administrator in QCSD since 2003, supervises school principals, leads administrative professional development, facilitates community committees and is the district’s safety coordinator.

“I have developed a real passion for this particular work because I believe that developing principals as instructional leaders is the key to improving student achievement and student experience,” Ms. Edwards said. “It’s incredibly gratifying to see principals grow in their practice and to model that for the teachers in their buildings. I consider this to be the most important work I’ve ever done. What’s exciting for me is that this award shines a light on the incredible strength of our principal leadership team.”

“Ms. Edwards has done a spectacular job, and is so deserving of this award and honor,” Superintendent Dr. Bill Harner said. “Her leadership ability is transformative and has helped develop our principals into outstanding leaders in their own right. To have both assistant superintendents be recognized by this prestigious state organization is something we are tremendously proud of and we are lucky to have their service here in Quakertown.” In 2018, Dr. Lisa Hoffman, the Assistant Superintendent for the Office of Teaching & Learning, was recognized by PASCD with their Curriculum Leadership Award.

In his 16 years as a superintendent, Dr. Harner described Ms. Edwards as the finest “exemplar in supervision and leader development. “Her myriad talents and knowledge are a perfect match for developing short- and long-term strategies in teacher and principal supervision, selecting learning management and data-collection systems, and implementing a culture and model of coaching versus evaluation throughout the district.”

Adam Schmucker, principal at Trumbauersville Elementary School and Pennsylvania’s National Distinguished Principal in 2018, described Ms. Edwards as “an omnipresent, open-minded coach. She invests significant time and attention to being present in all facets of the school leaders’ work.”

In a letter of recommendation to the PASCD’s awards committee, Mr. Schmucker wrote “Through her open-minded supervision, she seeks to foster growth in leadership practices, inspire growth in instructional practices, and increase student learning. … Her supervision has positively impacted my learning, my leadership, and the overall school culture and student achievement in our school. Nancianne Edwards is an outstanding supervisor.”

Eric Thompson, principal at the Sixth Grade Center, said Ms. Edwards is a “tremendous asset to the district in general and to principals specifically. Without a doubt, she’s the smartest person in the district and has shown tremendous leadership to help us move things forward in a way to help our students and teachers.”

Strayer Middle School Principal Dr. Jennifer Bubser said she appreciates the time Ms. Edwards takes for “check-in meetings, without a set agenda that allows me to bring up topics of concern from my perspective. It’s nice to know that she’s listening, and always thinking about what’s best for the kids.”

Last year, as a first-year principal, Dr. Bubser said Ms. Edwards “really did keep me grounded and help me with some tough decisions. She’s very visible and trying to get a good gauge for what is going on.”

Ms. Edwards’ leadership skills have been noticed before PASCD’s recognition. Last summer, for example, she and Mr. Schmucker gave a presentation at the Pennsylvania Leadership Summit titled “Principal Supervision and Support: Leveraging a Professional Coaching Model to Improve Principal Leadership.”

In 2016, Ms. Edwards was one of 28 women to receive the Lehigh Valley Business' Women of Influence award.

Ironically, it wasn’t until July 2014 that Ms. Edwards became assistant superintendent in QCSD. From 2003-2014 she had been the district’s Director of Human Resources. From 1999-2003, she held that position in the Pennsbury School District.

Mr. Schmucker said that because Ms. Edwards has not been a principal, she “embraces a learner stance. She is focused on understanding the demands of the role and on asking poignant questions that open up leaders’ perspectives and develop on-going growth rather than passing judgment. Nancianne sees her learning as a catalyst for improved student learning.”

Each year as assistant superintendent, Ms. Edwards has facilitated a community committee on an important topic. They include: elementary report cards, elementary redistricting, facilities, safety, and this year, school start times, which met for the first time last week.

“We really believe in elevating the voice of our community to give us guidance on where we should go with recommendations on major issues,” she said.

Ms. Edwards’ educational background includes a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration/Human Resource Management from Rider University, where she graduated summa cum laude. She has a Masters of Science in Business Intelligence from St. Joseph’s University. Business Intelligence includes statistical analysis, process modeling, predictive analysis, data visualization and data mining. She also completed a Superintendent Letter of Eligibility program at California University of Pennsylvania.

“Supporting others to challenge themselves to grow and learn every day has been the most rewarding work in my 26-year career in public education,” Ms. Edwards said. “Not only am I honored to receive this award, but to know that one of my principals nominated me for it. They are an awesome team, and it is a privilege to work alongside them.”

Gary Weckselblatt, QCSD Director of Communications, writes about the people and the programs that impact the Quakertown Community School District. He can be reached at 215-529-2028 or gweckselblatt@qcsd.org.
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