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Westchester HS Principal Named To State-Wide Common Core Task Force

Principal Carol Conklin-Spillane of Sleepy Hollow has been named to the Common Core Task Force.
Principal Carol Conklin-Spillane of Sleepy Hollow has been named to the Common Core Task Force. Photo Credit: File photo
Gov. Andrew Cuomo discusses the Common Core Task Force.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo discusses the Common Core Task Force. Video Credit: NYGovCuomo

ALBANY, N.Y. -- A principal from a Westchester high school was among a group of education officials, teachers, parents and state representatives from across New York named to a Common Core Task Force, announced Monday by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Carol Conklin-Spillane of Sleepy Hollow High School, who has been principal of Sleepy Hollow High School since 1994, was among 15 people named to the task force.

Sleepy Hollow serves a socio-economically and ethnically diverse community in Westchester County and in 2015 was identified as a School of Opportunity.

Cuomo has charged the task force to:

  • Review and reform the Common Core State Standards;
  • Review New York State’s curriculum guidance and resources;
  • Develop a process to ensure tests fit curricula and standards;
  • Examine the impact of the current moratorium on recording Common Core test scores on student records, and make a recommendation as to whether it should be extended;
  • Examine how the State and local districts can reduce both the quantity and duration of student tests, and develop a plan whereby districts include parents in reviewing local tests being administered to analyze those tests’ purpose and usefulness; and
  • Review the quality of the tests to ensure competence and professionalism from the private company creating and supplying the tests.

The Task Force will include members of the Cuomo's New NY Education Reform Commission, which played an instrumental role in developing a blueprint to improve the quality of education for all students through its final report in January 2014.

Richard Parsons, who chaired that Commission, will return to lead the Governor’s Common Core Task Force. Parsons is senior advisor, Providence Equity Partners Inc. and former Chairman of the Board of Citigroup Inc.

Conklin-Spillane serves as a consultant to public school districts through Northern Westchester BOCES, specializing in enhancing leadership at the middle and high school level, supporting English language learners, improving school climate, making the shift to block scheduling and providing opportunity through open enrollment.

Prior to her tenure in the Public Schools of the Tarrytowns, she was an assistant high school principal and junior high school principal, beginning her career as a special education teacher in 1979.

Conklin-Spillane has been recognized nationally for her achievements in developing school programs and practices that lead to high graduation rates.

Under her leadership, in 2008 Sleepy Hollow High School was identified as A Best Practices High School by The Magellan Foundation; one of three New York State high schools featured as model schools whose practices and outcomes align with research on high school reform and achievement. In 2014 ASCD released a DVD “Common Core Insider HS Math” which tells the story of how Sleepy Hollow High School is transforming teaching and learning to meet new challenges and support student success for all.

In addition to Parson and Spillane, also named to the task force were:

  • Heather Buskirk, Mohawk Valley Master Teacher; science teacher at Johnstown High School
  • Geoffrey Canada, President, Harlem Children’s Zone
  • MaryEllen Elia, Commissioner of the New York State Education Department
  • Constance Evelyn, Superintendent, Valley Stream School District
  • Catalina R. Fortino, Vice President, New York State United Teachers (NYSUT)
  • Kishayna Hazlewood, third-grade teacher at P.S. 156 in Brooklyn
  • Tim Kremer, Executive Director of the New York State School Boards Association
  • Senator Carl Marcellino, chair of the Senate Education Committee
  • Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan, chair of the Assembly Education Committee
  • Samuel Radford III, President, District Parent Coordinating Council of Buffalo
  • Carrie Remis, Rochester Area Parent & Founder of the Parent Power Project
  • Randi Weingarten, President, American Federation of Teachers (AFT), AFL-CIO
  • Nancy L. Zimpher, Chancellor, State University of New York (SUNY)

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