AllentownSchool District

Allentown Board of School Directors Vote to Appoint Dr. Carol D. Birks Permanent Superintendent

Allentown Board of School Directors Vote to Appoint Dr. Carol D. Birks Permanent Superintendent
Posted on 03/09/2023

ALLENTOWN, PA — The Allentown School District Board of Directors has voted to appoint  Dr. Carol D. Birks as the District’s next permanent Superintendent at the Special Board Meeting held on Thursday, March 9, 2023. 

Dr. Birks has served as Acting Superintendent since Monday, October 31, 2022. During her tenure, she has collaborated with the school communities, the School Board of Directors, and Central Administration to identify and address a number of immediate needs. Over the past several months, Dr. Birks conducted a Learning & Listening Tour to build relationships and get a sense of what staff and community members believe is going well and where improvements can be made. Through this process, she has forged connections with hundreds of individuals from various stakeholder groups and visited all schools in the city. 

Focusing on early learning, after identifying a need for increased after-school opportunities, Dr. Birks has also implemented the League of Learners after-school program for Muhlenberg Elementary to increase academic performance for our youngest learners. The Countdown to Kindergarten! has launched and will focus on developing further opportunities for early learners to become proficient in reading by grade three. 

Dr. Birks has also already taken steps to allow students to obtain a The Pennsylvania Seal of Biliteracy (PASB), which is an award presented by high schools in recognition of students who have attained intermediate-high proficiency in English and one or more additional languages upon high school graduation. She is also working with the ESOL Department to explore the best way to model nationally recognized dual language programs in Allentown and is developing plans for an Elementary School pilot this fall. 

Operationally, some of these immediate actions included using Emergency Connectivity Funds to purchase 400 laptops for paraprofessionals, implementing a student and staff recognition program, and successfully finalizing labor contracts with custodial, maintenance, and security staff. 

The need to recruit, retain, and develop “Grow Your Own” programs to address nationwide staffing shortages and to improve climate and culture also arose from these conversations. In partnership with one of her alma maters, Hampton University, Dr. Birks created Hampton University Online at Allentown School District to provide scholarships for 10 paraprofessionals to obtain their Bachelor's degrees. 

Additionally, Dr. Birks implemented strategies to increase revenue, saving the district at least $500,000. Projections indicate these strategies have a potential savings of upwards of $1 million.  

“I believe that Dr. Birks will provide the school district with much-needed stability in the Superintendent position,” said Audrey Mathison, Board President. “In the Acting role, she has already skillfully connected with members of our learning community and demonstrated leadership that has enabled critical progress in the improved culture and management of Allentown schools.” 

“It has been both an honor and a pleasure to serve the Allentown School District Community. I am humbled and deeply grateful for the trust of the School Board of Directors, and I am thrilled to be named the Superintendent of this amazing & culturally diverse community. “I look forward to continuing to partner with  staff,  students, families, and the  School Board of Directors Board of Directors to create the conditions where everyone feels safe, valued, empowered, and loved.”

Dr. Birks is a transformational servant leader who has dedicated her life to public education. She has been a teacher and has served as a district and school leader in Connecticut and Pennsylvania. Before her time in the Allentown School District, she was Chief of Staff for the Hartford Public Schools and Superintendent of the New Haven Public Schools, both in Connecticut. She was also Superintendent of the Chester Upland School District in Pennsylvania.

Dr. Birks holds a Doctoral Degree and Master's Degree in Educational Leadership from Columbia University Teachers College. She also earned a Master’s Degree in Education from the University of Bridgeport and a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from Hampton University.

Dr. Birks has a strong commitment to community service and civic engagement. She is a proud member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Incorporated, and The Links Incorporated. Dr. Birks also serves as a Regional Board Member for Hartford Healthcare’s St. Vincent’s Hospital and is a member of the Hartford Healthcare System’s Finance Committee.