“I am honored and humbled to represent PSSAM as the Maryland Superintendent of the Year,” stated Dr. Gaddis. “I am blessed to be able to belong to a professional organization that has passionate, caring and committed leaders - strong leaders who believe in the value of public education and in the importance of what happens in our school systems every single day. I accept this award on behalf of our Board of Education, our leadership team, our entire Somerset County Public School System and our community because it is not an award that I won by myself. It is because of teamwork and the building of relationships that we have been able to move our county forward, and due to that work, I am standing here tonight. I truly believe there is no greater institution than public education. Throughout history, it has been fundamental to our culture, it has preserved our way of life, given unlimited opportunities to all students, and given our society a foundation from which to grow. I am honored to be a public
school superintendent in Maryland and proud to say I am superintendent of the ‘Small but Mighty’ Somerset County Public Schools!”
Dr. Gaddis is in his 30th year in public education. Prior to becoming superintendent in Somerset County, Dr. Gaddis was Assistant Superintendent for Instruction in the Worcester County Public School System. In 2013, he was appointed as Superintendent of Schools in Somerset County and was reappointed to his second term in 2017. Throughout the years, Dr. Gaddis has been a highly successful elementary classroom teacher, an Assistant Principal, a Coordinator of Technology, a Principal and an Assistant Superintendent of Instruction. A graduate of Pocomoke High School, Dr. Gaddis earned a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education and a Master’s in Education, with a concentration in Administration, from Salisbury University. He earned his Doctor of Education, with a concentration in Innovation and Leadership from Wilmington University in 2005 and was awarded the prestigious Wilmington College Trustee Award for Service at commencement.
“Dr. Gaddis began his leadership role as Superintendent by immediately visiting every school, classroom and administrative office to meet and greet his staff and to convey his expectation that student achievement is and will be job one,” stated Dan Kuebler, former Board member and Vice Chairperson of the Board of Education of Somerset County. “The results of his leadership have been timely, systematic, thorough and continuing. Every Board of Education meeting has student achievement on the agenda. A systematic approach for school security is in place. Due to Dr. Gaddis’ leadership, Somerset County Public Schools is the first school system in Maryland to offer all day pre-Kindergarten classes. This essential program now accommodates yearly 90% of all four-year-old children in the county. Dr. Gaddis led our schools to a federal meals program that provides free breakfast and lunch to 100% of our student population, thus removing all stigma and insuring every student is ready to learn. He has established that both he and Somerset County Public Schools can be trusted by the stakeholders. His professional approach at assembling a highly effective 500 personnel SCPS team has been classic and replete with extraordinary professionalism.”
Deputy Superintendent of Schools Tom Davis stated, “As an elementary trained teacher, Dr. Gaddis never forgot the importance of establishing a student’s strong academic foundation. This focus drove the realignment of grades in one elementary school. This created a true early learning center where students in Pre-Kindergarten through the first grade can receive the special attention they require. With the advent of all-day Pre-Kindergarten across the system, the 2018 Maryland Kindergarten Readiness Assessment represented the fruits of this labor as 57% of our kindergarten children demonstrated readiness. This accomplishment was the fourth best in the state. Leading the way to a vision of graduating college or career-ready students, Dr. Gaddis proposed, influenced and secured the state’s and the county’s investment into the construction of a $42 million career and technology center. This state-of-the-art facility will open September of 2019 and will offer students opportunities in the core fields, Project Lead the Way Programs such as Biomedical and Pre-Engineering, and highly marketable skills in diesel mechanics and marine engines. This facility will serve as a catalyst for the success of countless Somerset County graduates.”
Under Dr. Gaddis’ tenure, in June of 2018, the graduation rate peaked to its highest level. The school system has the largest number of students choosing to enroll in two-year, four-year or technical schools. This is enhanced by the Dual Enrollment Program and the fact students now receive free tuition for two years.
Dr. Gaddis was named as the School Official of the Year by the Maryland Food Access and Nutrition Network in July of 2015 for providing for the Community Eligibility Provision through which all students receive free breakfast and lunch. He is the Legislative Chair for PSSAM and is the Elected Commissioner for Elementary Schools Commission within Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools. Dr. Gaddis is a member of the Eastern Shore of Maryland Educational Consortium and is a member of the American Association of School Administrators.
Dr. Gaddis is involved in the community. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the United Way of the Lower Eastern Shore. He serves as President of the Somers Cove Marina Commission. Dr. Gaddis is an active member of the Somerset Shelter Committee, Somerset County Opioid United Team, the Healthy Somerset Coalition and the Somerset County Local Management Board.
AASA’s selection of this award is based on the following criteria:
Leadership for Learning
Creativity in successfully meeting the needs of students in his or her school system
Strength in both personal and organizational communication
Constant improvement of administrative knowledge and skills, while providing professional development opportunities and motivation to others on the educational team
Active participation in local community activities and an understanding of regional, national and international issues