On November 3, Dr. Kevin Gilbert, previously South Orange-Maplewood School District’s Assistant Superintendent of Access & Equity, became the acting Superintendent of SOMSD, following a vote by the Board of Education to place former Supt. Dr. Ronald Taylor on administrative leave and not renew his contract. On a night of extraordinary contentiousness, the BOE voted 9-0 to appoint Gilbert to the superintendent position.
Most recently, Gilbert has been engaged in implementing the 23 recommendations made by Dr. Edward Fergus of the Rutgers University Disproportionality and Equity Lab that the district is legally obligated to fulfill through a recent settlement extension with the Black Parents Workshop. Dr. Gilbert presented the “Rutgers Study Implementation Plan” at the first monthly Fergus Committee meeting on October 30.
At the Oct. 30 meeting, BOE President Kaitlin Wittleder asked Gilbert how he felt about the amount of work before him. Gilbert replied, “We don’t have a choice.” He noted that it had been six years since Fergus first starting working with the district. “There is a sense of urgency.”
“Our students need to have it. We have to have it done. We’re going to start moving as quickly as we can to start removing those gaps,” Gilbert said.
Village Green will continue to follow up on the district’s plans for administrative reorganization following Taylor’s leave and Gilbert’s elevation.
The following profile of Gilbert was published upon his hiring by the district in 2022:
The South Orange-Maplewood School District has hired Dr. Kevin Gilbert as its new Assistant Superintendent of Access & Equity.
Dr. Gilbert currently holds a similar position in the Howard County Public School System in Maryland. He is a veteran educator of 24 years. He will begin at SOMSD on May 16, 2022, at a salary of $170,000.
See a bio of Dr. Gilbert from SOMSD, as well as his resume, below:
Dr. Kevin F. Gilbert, has been in education for 24 years and currently serves as the director of diversity, equity, and inclusion for the Howard County Public School System (HCPSS) in Howard County, Maryland. Prior to his arrival in HCPSS, he served as the coordinator for teacher leadership and special projects with the Clinton Public School District in Clinton, Mississippi.
As the director of diversity, equity, and inclusion, Dr. Gilbert is tasked with coordinating HCPSS’s efforts to be more diverse, promote equity, and ensure inclusion throughout the district. As the first person to serve in this capacity for HCPSS, he also oversees the operation of the newly created Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (ODEI). After just three years, ODEI is one of the bedrocks of the HCPSS’s equity work. The Howard County Public School System is located in Ellicott City, MD and serves over 59,000 students and over 8,000 staff members.
Dr. Gilbert has worked as a social studies teacher, coach and an administrator with the Clinton Public School District, Rankin County School District (Flowood, MS), and the Hinds County School District (Raymond, MS). Other professional experience includes serving on the National Education Association’s (NEA) Executive Committee from 2013-2019, and president of the Mississippi Association of Educators (MAE) from 2007-2013. Other leadership positions include serving as vice president for governance for the National Council of State Education Associations, chair of the NEA Committee on Human and Civil Rights, and co-chair of the NEA task force on Discipline and the School-to-Prison Pipeline.
He earned a bachelor’s and master’s degree from the University of Southern Mississippi, and a doctorate in education leadership from Mississippi College.