Audubon’s administration strongly rebounding after pandemic; turnover

Audubon’s administration strongly rebounding after pandemic; turnover

School administration is crucial to structure and order. While Audubon’s administrative staff has changed in recent years the current administration team includes; Superintendent Andy Davis, Principal Jeffery Lebb, Vice Principals Frank Corley and Eric Miller, Guidance Director Dan Howey, Athletic Director Tony Carbone and Curriculum Director Shamus Burke. Members of The Parrot conducted interviews with the administrators to provide a look inside the realm of running a school.

Prior to joining the Audubon administration team Mr. Lebb worked his way from being a teacher, to a vice principal, to building principal at Deptford High School. Although the basics of administration are the same at Deptford, Lebb feels the dynamic between teachers and students is different. He explained “Deptford is a lot bigger than Audubon, so the administration and teacher staff do not have the opportunity to work as closely with the students as they do at Audubon.” Mr. Lebb also provides a differing perspective than other administrators because he is an Audubon graduate. Since Lebb graduated, besides the major construction and renovations made in the media center and auxiliary gym, the school is pretty much the same. From the smell of the cafeteria and gym to the feel of the school overall, everything is almost exactly the same, including some of the teaching staff.

Differently, Mr. Howey’s experience between his old school district, Woodbury, and Audubon has been vastly different. At Woodbury, Howey was the Athletic Director, but he also presumed some counselor duties. In his words, he was “the athletic director who also supervised K-12 P.E. and Health, transportation and activities, whereas here I’m in charge of all counseling and scheduling.” Additionally, Mr. Howey is very passionate about graphic design and making things look as nice as possible. So, he is grateful he has more opportunities to do graphic design and creative work at Audubon, such as designing the new student of the month format and a design for outside of the counselors office. 

Despite these experiences about the schools they worked for, both Lebb and Howey feel the same way about the upcoming arrival of a new superintendent. Lebb, when asked about this change in administration,ssed how this change of superintendent is a big change, but he is approaching this change in administration the same way he would any other change in the administrative staff. Lebb plans to address any disagreements with the new superintendent and address it with them by having open and honest communication between all administrators. Howey is used to the change in administration, as at Woodbury the superintendent left three weeks after he was hired. However, Howey shares the same philosophies as Lebb, and believes the administration had to align expectations with the new superintendent and make sure there is frequent and unfiltered communication between the superintendent and the other administrative staff.

Mr. Shamus Burke has been Audubon’s Director of Curriculum and Instruction since 2017. Burke serves all Audubon schools, from preschool to high. Burke balances between all four schools’ needs, explaining “Everything is a yearly cycle. Every year we know that we are going to revise a certain amount of the curriculum, a certain amount of the budget, you have to reach out to everyone and take a look at the data. That process starts in the spring. From there, you develop a budget, and say, if the state comes out with all new Math and ELA standards, then we know we have to revise it in the summer. The process continues with speaking to teachers throughout the fall, into the next in-service in February.” Between helping with the curriculum and the school’s budget, Burke also has a hand in making sure all teachers are on the same page. Burke explained in our interview he is regularly conferencing with teachers and aides to make sure everything is good and there are no outstanding issues. Burke has been vehemently proud of Audubon’s rebound from the COVID-19 pandemic, as Audubon School District was one of the few districts in the state who improved on test scores after the pandemic. Burke mentioned several times Audubon recovered incredibly well from the pandemic, and ended up ahead, even if the recovery wasn’t the quickest.

Dr. Andy Davis has been Audubon’s superintendent since 2018, and while Davis isn’t a doctor of medicine — he is a doctor of the mind, being education. Dr. Davis’s story is a wild one, going all the way back to his time in college, when he was a nationally ranked pole vaulter. After he broke his leg, he began focusing on education, earning two degrees each at Southern Connecticut State and St. Joseph’s, all while starting his teaching career in Cherry Hill. Davis also obtained his educational doctorate from Seton Hall in 2015, giving him a total of five degrees. Davis has been adamant about his beliefs, using his experience from the different districts he’s been a part of over the years to back them. He was a large part in helping Audubon’s $26 million bond and referendum package pass, and he is satisfied with the work that has been done internally and externally to the schools, saying “We’re about 80-90% done”. For what isn’t done, there isn’t much to be desired in the referendum, simply stating “Most of the things that needed to be done, were done.”

Despite the differences in background, job description and each administrator’s formal education, each one shares the same dedication to making Audubon the best they possibly can and provide Audubon students with the best education/high school experience as possible.

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About the Contributor
Dan Wilkins, Writer
I have been a journalist and sports commentator since 2016, and have since taken my aspirations to writing for The Parrot at AHS. I started out as a public address announcer for the local Audubon Little League, serving there for five years, along with ventures in youth football in Oaklyn, and a litany of sports for AHS. The sports that I cover as of this publication are soccer, field hockey, and football in the fall, basketball and wrestling in the winter, and baseball in the spring. Besides broadcasting and commentary, my other main interests include music, riding my eight-speed bike, photography, and travel. I am a huge fan of progressive rock, including the bands Genesis, Rush, and Yes, among others. When I'm done with high school, I plan to attend a four-year university to pursue a career in sports broadcasting and hopefully get a job in the media for Major League Baseball in the future.

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