OXFORD – Oxford Academy Central School District welcomes a new superintendent as students get ready to go back to school next week. David S. Richards, Ph.D., reported to work on July 1 and has been preparing for his new role as chief administrator.
For the past five years, Richards, 57, has served the Deposit community as both the high school and middle school principal, as well as the director of secondary instruction, setting the curriculum and overseeing professional development. “It was a great experience, and I do miss the people,” he said in regard to his time in Deposit.
Richards has also taught in Sidney and served as a principal in Livingston Manor. On top of working as a teacher and administrator, he has served as an adjunct lecturer for SUNY Oneonta’s history department, where his wife, Julie Freemen, Ph.D., is currently a history professor. Richards recently received his doctorate in history from Binghamton University after publishing his dissertation on the belated effects of the New Deal upon the Sidney region during World War II. He earned bachelor’s and master’s degree from SUNY Oneonta and has attained a certificate of advanced study in administration.
Richards explained he plans to spend sometime discovering what’s been working well and what could be made better before he begins making any significant changes in Oxford. Nonetheless, parents should note there will be a few new changes in this upcoming school year. Due to new state mandates, teacher evaluations will now be directly linked to the performance of students on the Regents exams, putting pressure on them to ensure their students perform well, the superintendent said. In response, Oxford Academy will be compiling data to determine what students know and what they need to know. That data will be applied to curriculum reforms, Richards explained. A new Common Core curriculum, which has been adopted by the state, is also being introduced as part of a multistate effort to better prepare students for college by updating the current curriculum, further standardizing it and making it more relevant to the current world.