There has been a change of leadership at Kent County Middle School this summer, with Mark Buckel being named principal.
Buckel, who has been with Kent County Public Schools for 17 years, will be joined at the middle school by the new assistant principal, Kelley Melvin.
Previously, Buckel spent the last two years as the school system’s assistant coordinator for Special Education and Career and Technical Education.
While that position saw him based out of the KCPS Central Office in Rock Hall, Buckel began his career in the classroom as a science teacher and spent four years as assistant principal of Kent County High School.
“I’m overjoyed at being named principal of Kent County Middle School. I am excited to get back into the building and spend time daily with our wonderful children,” Buckel said. “As an administrator, it is the ultimate gift to be named principal and have the opportunity to lead a building.”
Melvin also comes to the middle school from the Central Office. She was previously an instructional specialist and worked directly with Buckel on a number of initiatives.
Like Buckel, she also began her KCPS career in the classroom, teaching sixth-grade math at none other than the middle school. She has nine years total experience with Kent County Public Schools, having also taught elementary school.
“Ms. Melvin brings to the middle school an energy that can’t be matched,” Buckel said. “She has been a teacher in the building and most recently an instructional coach working with the Kent County Middle School teachers, so she knows where the areas of concern fall and has ideas to address them.”
Melvin is excited about returning to the middle school, this time as assistant principal.
“I am eager to make the necessary changes that will bring quality and engaging education to the forefront of our students’ lives,” she said. “My vision is for students to feel a sense of pride and belonging when they walk into Kent County Middle School every day.”
Melvin is feeling optimistic about the upcoming year at the middle school with Buckel as principal.
She said she knows Buckel will be a fantastic leader at the school. She said Buckel recognizes how vital building a positive relationship with students is.
“Mark went into education for all of the right reasons. His top priority will always be the students,” Melvin said. “His vision for a quality school is clear and we have the same core values when it comes to management, school climate and more.”
Buckel’s management of the CTE program has been handed to Tom Porter.
Through the CTE program at Kent County High School, students can take their education down a professional pathway such as engineering, carpentry, broadcasting, health professions, teaching and others.
Porter has spent the past year leading the school system’s efforts to implement the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future — the landmark statewide effort to transform public education in Maryland into world-class system.
Bolstering CTE programs like Kent County’s is a big part of the Blueprint.
Porter said adding the CTE program coordination to his work here was logical step as he will continue this Blueprint implementation work as well.
“I was already going to be working with Mark very closely to tighten up our programming and align it with kind of the vision of spelled out in the Blueprint,” Porter said.
Porter came to KCPS from the Maryland State Department of Education’s Division of College and Career Readiness, so he also has connections there to help with the CTE program’s Blueprint alignment.
Prior to job with the state, Porter taught English language arts in Cecil County Public Schools.
“The CTE pathway is a valuable experience for all KCPS students as evidenced by the over 90% participation rate in our CTE courses,” Porter said. “The CTE pathway provides students with firsthand industry experience and allows them to refine understandings of their strengths and goals for their professional life.”
Back at the middle school, Buckel is already hard at work charting the course for the upcoming year.
He aims to re-establish school expectations for learning and he wants to see increased student success on state assessments and mastery of content.
“My vision is to build the Kent County Middle School culture and climate so that it fosters an environment conducive to learning,” he said. “Only through developing an environment of respect will we be able to improve the academic achievement of our students.”