While the new Talbot County Public Schools superintendent Dr. Sharon Pepukayi is indeed home-grown, with a long family history based in Bellevue, including her parents ownership of Bellevue Seafood, years spent as a counselor Camp Pecometh in Centreville, and a very proud graduate of St. Michaels High School, she does start her new career at TCPS with a learning curve challenge. For her entire professional life, including her recent twelve years with Middletown, Delaware public schools, she has never worked within the Maryland public school system before taking her new job.
In “normal times,” this gap of experience is relatively easy to overcome, but with the rollout of Blueprint for Maryland’s Future, the state’s massive multi-billion dollar public education reform act, as well as surveying the full impact of COVID on her students, Dr. Pepukayi is the first to admit that she’s been on a rapid orientation since she was appointed last summer.
Nonetheless, Pepukayi is well aware that her school district will be not only entering a new era, but it may also be it’s most transformational. With the support and funding of the Blueprint plan, the superintendent sees a remarkable opportunity for both students and teachers to fulfill the County’s consistent desire to provide the best possible education for its young people.
And while the Blueprint offers some remarkable hope, it doesn’t stop the complexities and current challenges of her 4,524-student school system. That includes, but is not limited to, getting students caught up after losing almost two years to COVID, very poor test scores, school safety, and such things as dress codes and the use of cell phones.
Dr. Pepukayi touches on these complex issues in her first interview with the Spy. She also talks about her professional journey, her love of her native Talbot County, and her devotion to public education.
This video is approximately eight minutes in length. To support the work of the Talbot County Public Schools please go here.
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