SEYMOUR — The Seymour Public School System has a new leader at the helm, Susan Compton, Ed.D., who brings years of experience in public schooling and a passion for education to the school system.

The Board of Education hired Dr. Compton at its special meeting on Monday, August 16.

Dr. Compton recently spoke with Voices about her previous experience, educational philosophy and plans as superintendent.

“Truly, I am honored and humbled to be selected as Seymour’s new superintendent,” she said.

Dr. Compton said that Seymour felt like a good fit for her, and she said she still had such a passion for education.

“I’ve always been a scholar, and academia has always been my love,” she said. “I just decided that education as my passion, and my love. I still know that I can make a difference.”

Dr. Compton comes from Kentucky, though her last position was as a tri-district superintendent of schools in New Jersey, a position she had for eight years.

“When I look back and reflect on all of my years in Kentucky,” Dr. Compton said, “what really was most beneficial was being able to serve in every capacity as an educator.”

Dr. Compton’s career includes as an elementary and middle school teacher, a band director and serving in the central office.

“I felt like this was really a great fit for me as an experienced superintendent,” she said. “I can see building on what has already been established that we truly can go to the next level where Seymour can be recognized as one of the top districts in the nation.”

Dr. Compton noted that Seymour is already an outstanding school system, and that it’s an ideal size because each student can be known by name

“Each and every student is valued,” she said. “Children are given that opportunity to reach their fullest potential.”

She said that educators are unique that they can open doors to opportunities for students, something that she sees as crucial to each child’s education.

Aside from the size, Dr. Compton said that school pride, tradition and sense of community drew her to Seymour, along with staff talent and the Board of Education.

“I feel like those are the ingredients that help make and continue to have a wonderful school system,” she said. “And this system has had years and years of legacy of outstanding accomplishments.”

Dr. Compton said she hoped to build upon the good that Seymour already has, but also has specific goals for the region.

In the short term, Dr. Compton said she wanted to spend her first 100 days as superintendent making sure she met members of the public and meet staff in all the schools.

“That’s the first thing, an introduction to the community,” she said. “First of all, I’ve got to listen and learn more about each of the components. But then my job is to lead.”

Her broader goals include creating a strategic plan for the district, designing a profile of a graduate, partnering with a local college to form either an early college program and working on communication and local partnerships.

“Something I would like to see in the future is possibly a early college associate degree program worked out with one of the local universities,” she said. “What I’d really like to do is develop an associate degree program with a partnership with a STEM focus for both college and career and technical programs.”

She said she wanted to prioritize communication as well.

“I’m going to establish a district wide communication advisory panel,” she said. “The purpose of the panel would be to address communications and public relations with our school system.”

Dr. Compton said she wanted to include different representatives from the schools and from the community on the panel.

She said she also wanted to form a student superintendent advisory council, which would be made up of students from all four schools. Dr. Compton added she wanted to tap into the student council from the high school and the student Board of Education representative.

Dr. Compton said she wanted to strengthen the relationship between the school and local government and community as well

“We’re all trying reach the same goal of having the best opportunities for each and every kid in school,” she said.

She said it was important to her to not only be involved in the school district, but to be involved in the wider community.

She said she would like to emphasize supporting socio-emotional learning, especially due to Covid.

“Social and emotional programs in all of the school levels are crucial to a students success,” she said. “It’s also important to our own staff’s wellbeing.”

She said she emphasizes academics, but loves arts and athletics as well, and cited research that students involved in extracurricular often succeed academically too.

Dr. Compton noted that while academics is her emphasis, she said that a student first mentality was crucial to her leadership and the driving philosophy behind her goals in the system.

“Always put students first. From the boardroom to the classroom, it’s always about what is best for kids,” she said. “If you have that as your philosophy, you’ll never go wrong.”

She said she also has a tremendous group working for her in the office and in the classrooms, which is another key part of her vision to get things done in the region.

“The successes of where I’ve been, it’s all been about teamwork,” she said.

Dr. Compton said she looked forward to her first year as superintendent.

She said, “my heart is still in educational leadership, and I still have the vision to lead a school district and take it to the next level.”

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