Dr. Nicholas Wade dropped into the Lexington Two School District when he was chosen as the Superintendent-Elect in the summer of 2020.
He came from Elmwood Park, Ill; making his debut as the world dealt with COVID-19. Since moving South, Wade said he has found many similarities to the district he left.
“There is not much of a difference here,” he said. “The people and the challenges are much the same. “It’s the same dynamic and the same structure.”
In the eight months since Wade arrived, Dr. Bill James has retired, and Wade no longer has the word “Elect” in his title. There have been other changes, too. Lexington Two is no longer in COVID lockdown and now offers five-day, in-person classes. As the district moves slowly back toward normalcy, Wade also is working on his vision for Lexington Two.
“I’m very focused on providing students with a number of diversified opportunities so we can prepare them for any avenue that they see fit,” Wade said when he came to the district. He still feels that way. He also said the Lexington Two Innovation Center (L2IC) offers a unique chance to serve students.
“Lexington Two is definitely investing in opportunities, especially with the Innovation Center where there are a number of opportunities for students and not just the traditional path. That really speaks to me as an educational leader and is something I’ve been really working on heavily throughout my career.”
The L2IC is a relatively new facility. Lexington Two also has many new and renovated schools thanks to the $225 million referendum Lexington Two voters passed in 2014. Wade said his job now is to ensure the content of the schools is comparable to the quality of the structures.
“The schools look nice,” Wade said. He said he wants to focus on what is inside the schools’ walls. “Now what do we do for our students?” Wade said teacher-student dialogue is important as a way to develop and enrich the learning experience.
Wade also said the effort to find career paths should begin in the sixth-grade with the expansion of electives and earlier high school credit courses.
He said the parents of Lexington Two students have a lot of pride in the schools and he wants to be responsive to the concerns of parents with collaborative monthly community engagement sessions.
“It will give parents the opportunity to engage,” Wade said.
Wade said he wants to strengthen the support system provided by schools, so that mental and emotional health is included in the development of students.