Dr. Racquel Jones, Ed.D., and Dr. Andrae Townsel, Ed.D.
Dr. Racquel Jones, Ed.D., and Dr. Andrae Townsel, Ed.D.

PRINCE FREDERICK, Md. – Through an extensive selection process, the Calvert County Board of Education (Board) has narrowed the superintendent search to two finalists. The two finalists are Dr. Racquel Jones, Ed.D., community superintendent for Baltimore County Public Schools in Baltimore, Maryland, and Dr. Andrae Townsel, Ed.D., superintendent Benton Harbor Area Schools in Benton Harbor, Michigan.

The Board is engaged in a search to replace the current superintendent, Dr. Daniel D. Curry, who announced earlier this year that he would retire in June 2022.

The two finalists will participate in individual interviews with the Calvert County Board of Education, in candidate forums with stakeholders to include community, staff, students and parents, and in tours of the school system.

Meet the finalists

Dr. Racquel Jones, Ed.D.

Dr. Racquel Jones, Ed.D., has over 25 years of service in public education working with educators and stakeholders as strategic partners in the pursuit of academic excellence for all students. For the past four years, Dr. Jones has served as community superintendent for Baltimore County Public Schools in Maryland, engaging in turnaround work, building a culture of continuous improvement, and aligning school and system operations. Under her leadership, opportunity gaps have closed significantly through the expansion of equitable access to college and career readiness pathways and advanced academics with increased participation in various Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs of study, Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID), dual enrollment, Advanced Placement (AP) courses, and magnet programs. Schools have received state and national awards for demonstrating a commitment to student success.

To ensure organizational effectiveness and coherence, Dr. Jones collaboratively leads high-performing, cross-functional teams focused on operationalizing system-wide initiatives. Leadership is cultivated in school administrators and central office staff to achieve a collective purpose of learning, accountability, and results.

Prior to leading in the role of community superintendent, Dr. Jones served as an executive director of school support in Baltimore County Public Schools. In this role, she provided strategic direction, supervision, and differentiated support to secondary principals in the areas of instructional leadership and teaching and learning. She utilized evidenced-based practices to create the conditions necessary to support the growth of principals as instructional leaders and implemented a teaching approach as a primary lever for enhancing principal performance. During her tenure as an executive director, graduation rates increased, and equity teams were established across all schools.

Previously, Dr. Jones successfully served as an assistant superintendent for The School District of Philadelphia in Pennsylvania, supervised a network of pre-kindergarten through eighth grade, middle, and high schools and oversaw all aspects of the instructional program and daily operations of assigned schools. She has performed in the role of an executive director of principal support and accountability for Baltimore City Public Schools in Maryland and directed the work of a central office network support team focused on closing achievement gaps and improving organizational culture and school climate.

Dr. Jones has also proudly served as a principal, an assistant principal, and teacher in diverse schools and districts. She has earned a doctorate in educational policy, planning and leadership from William & Mary, a master’s degree in educational leadership from Regent University, and a bachelor’s degree in business from Norfolk State University. She lives in Maryland with her husband and is the proud mother of a son and daughter

Dr. Andrae Townsel, Ed.D.

Dr. Andrae Townsel earned a football scholarship to Howard University in Washington, DC. During his time at Howard, he earned his bachelors, masters, and doctorate all from Howard University and began his educational career in the District of Columbia. He had the privilege to work in every level of the educational system and excelled. He served as a student teacher, teacher, head coach (football and basketball), athletic director, dean of students, central office specialist, assistant principal, high school principal, assistant superintendent, and a current highly effective superintendent.

As the superintendent of Benton Harbor Area Schools, he successfully eliminated the budget deficit after 14 years of being in the red, increased the salary of all teachers after having their salaries frozen for over 10 years, and successfully developed a 5-year district Strategic Plan. The United Way of Southwest Michigan has highlighted him and his district as the Education Innovator of the Year in 2021. He was nominated as the 2021 Superintendent of the Year in Michigan. He successfully navigated the pandemic, whereas the board of education gave a vote of confidence.

His district was awarded $3 million dollars over the next 5 years to focus on and improve literacy. They were 1 out of 5 districts to receive this award through a competitive grant application process.

As an assistant superintendent in the Wayne-Westland Community School District, Dr. Townsel pioneered the work of climate, culture, and social emotional learning. In a district of nearly 11,000 students and 20 school buildings, he hired and developed climate and culture coaches for each building and provided yearlong professional development to effectively address the disproportionality in discipline data as well as improve the overall behavior of student’s district-wide to ensure an increase in academic achievement. He has a strong knowledge of school finance and showed great fiscal responsibility at all levels. He generated nearly $250k in grant funding to support the work of restorative practices and social emotional learning (SEL).

Join the Conversation

33 Comments

  1. I see two candidates from failed public school systems . We do not need that kind of knowledge background inflicted on our students in Calvert county. We already have serious problems of our own making.
    The selection process needs to be stopped until a more diverse group of candidates are contacted and interviewed . Perhaps individuals from successful private sector institutions.

    1. No way man! They’re minority people and they’re doing the best they can. Don’t you want the country run by a population that accounts for 12% the US population? Because that’s what is being done.

    2. What part of “extensive selection process” did you not comprehend? Do you think they just took the first 2 resumes that came across the desk? What I see is 2 different educators with broad backgrounds and experience in public education. Key here is public, not private, because the job is to head up public schools.

    3. Richard if both candidates were white, would you ask for a more diverse group? In the past, when no candidates of color were considered for the job of superintendent, did you ask for the selection process to stop in an effort to find more diverse candidates? Just wondering…

  2. Hahaha! Diversity of race is the only thing they care about now. While the CCSO arrests hard working good people and ruins their careers and life, calvert leadership continues it’s March towards the toilet.

    This mindset is lunacy.

  3. How does a small suburban County get narrowed down to two people who onlying worked inner city schools. Think think the BOE should be investigated and prove how they determined them to be the best fit for our community.

    1. Baltimore County – not City; student population 115,038. It is the 25th largest school system in the US as of 2013.

      Benton Harbor – 6 public schools; 2,098 students

      Calvert County – 15,292 students.

      At a glance, Dr. Jones is more than qualified.

  4. Dr. Townsel is a self promoting hack that has done nothing for BHAS. The district is ranked fourth from the bottom of all public schools in Michigan. The literacy rate for BHAS is 7% based on students being on grade level. His performance is less than creditable at any area he has worked. Check his track record. He stays nowhere long enough to determine a measurable metric to hold him accountable for. Don’t do it to yourself.

  5. I am skeptical of hiring a superintendent whose previous job was in Baltimore’s seriously failed school system. What did she do to help her students there?

    1. She comes from the Baltimore COUNTY school system, headquartered in Towson, Md. which has the 3rd-highest performance in the State. NOT inner-city.

  6. Are you kidding me? I dont know much about Dr.Townsel, but has anyone considered how much a disaster Baltimore county schools are? If she worked there she contributed to the problem. I can’t wait to get out of Maryland. This place is turning into a joke.

    1. Baltimore COUNTY school system, headquartered in Towson, MD, has the 3rd-highest ranking in Maryland. Baltimore City is NOT a part of the County.

    1. The proof is in the pudding, have you looked at the pudding? What’s good news for the applicant doesn’t mean it’s good for our community. People have a right to be concerned looking at the statistics of the school systems they came from. Nothing shameful about having concern for the education of our county’s future.

  7. I see two vastly educated candidates who both obtained all levels of experience in the field of education. We need leadership that will provoke more equitable ways of teaching. Their “, kind of knowledge background,” is just what this county needs!! Finally something different!! Perhaps having a some black excellence in this county will open up the minds of some very BIAs individuals.

  8. Some of you are confusing Baltimore county with Baltimore city. They are as different as Calvert county is compared to Washington DC. Also, Baltimore county’s school system was ranked 3rd in the state in 2020 and 2021. Calvert was 11th.

  9. After watching both their interviews I think Dr. Townsel would be best candidate for superintendent. He appear enthusiastic and appreciative of the opportunity. I like how he repeated some questions to ensure he understood it and then gave well thought out answers to the question. I wish the interviewers asked a question about failures they themselves made or witnessed that they learned from their previous roles in other districts.

    1. I also liked how he actually seemed to care about parents and families as part of the process in supporting students. Not referring to parents as “stakeholders” instead of “actual parents” like Dr. Jones continued to do is why my uncounted vote goes for Dr. Townsel.

  10. So, for county with an 81% White population, we’re going for woke diversity and preferential quota affirmative action hiring. Not based on merit, but because they are black. Which ever one gets the position, he/she will always be seen as a token hire. In addition to coming from education systems that are absolute abject failures. Calvert now only need to look at Baltimore, and Benton Harbor Area Schools (which has been graded a D- and, “According to state test scores, 4% of students are at least proficient in math and 7% in reading”), to see the future of Calvert County education. Way to go woke Calvert County BOE!

    1. Reading is still fundamental! Baltimore COUNTY school district ranks 3rd in the state (well ahead of Calvert). You seem like the type to say that you don’t see color…until you see brown skin. Sad and pathetic commentary!

    2. Congratulations!
      You’ve won the top prize for the most ignorant and racist comment in this thread!

  11. This is ABSOLUTELY insane! Two WONDERFUL choices and all people see is two BLACK folk that are only here because of that 1 fact. This county being 81% white, should only have WHITE people running it in all aspects should it??? Because last I thought we were in 2022, not 1822. We are a melting pot, but from what I am reading is that the 19% of non-white population should stay in their place and smile and nod and be happy with the little position they are allowed to have in this PRE-dominantly white county!? Our children need to be prepared for the world as it is now and not as it was then. They are our future and I want my children to know anything is possible and these two gifted and talented individuals proved they were not going to let the past and small thinkers stand in their way and they excelled. Then they decided to go back and bring up others to follwo them. They used what they had and tried to make better situations they were put into. and I want them to bring that same mindset to educating my children. Be it 81% or 19%, everyone deserves the best oppurtunity and I feel either of these 2 educators will help the children realize and aid them in reaching any goal they have.
    #blackexcellence

  12. Amazing candidates and I can’t wait to see who wins! Either way, I think the school system will be in great hands. Awesome news!

  13. Well-qualified candidates! We’d truly be lucky to have Dr. Jones, who has a proven record of success in nearby, high-performing Baltimore COUNTY!

  14. I see a community that would be blessed to receive either of these candidates. Given the poor public discourse of the past year, the County needs a leader who won’t back down and will unite the Educational Team for Success. Too many are making our children political bouncing balls for their political gains. They didn’t care about education before and don’t now. They are following a national political trend and hoping for success.

  15. Benton Harbor was self inflicted with clicks, relationships, kinship and friendship being put in front of what was best for you the students. He only for the staff that was needed and those who did the job. He helped create A2 = Academic Athletes and reestablish the honor Society.

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