CUSD and Community Embrace Stable Leadership As Top Positions Within District Announced
Posted by Chester Upland School District on 8/15/2022
CHESTER, PA- August 15, 2022 -- With appointments to top leadership positions recently announced, the Chester Upland School District is excited to usher in an era of stability and administrative strength as a new school year approaches.
In June, Nafis Nichols, who served as Interim Receiver for the 2021-22 school year, was reappointed to the position for a three-year term by Delaware County Court of Common Pleas Judge Barry Dozer.
Nichols, a Chester native and product of the CUSD, is entering the upcoming school year with a strong leadership team at his side. Just a few weeks after his own reappointment, Nichols approved a new, five-year contract for Superintendent Dr. Craig L. Parkinson, who became Superintendent in Chester Upland in July 2021. During the same time, Dr. Latrice N. Mumin was appointed as Assistant Superintendent. Prior to this new appointment, Mumin served as Director of Accountability for the district.
“Coming into this role, I knew there would be challenges and a part of my strategy to right the ship was to assemble a team of apt professionals who were committed to the vision and had the skillset and experience to navigate the issues within the district,” said Nichols. “From having worked with both Dr. Parkinson and Dr. Mumin this past year, I am confident in their abilities and trust this team to continue building off the progress that was made last year.”
In highlighting progress within the district, Parkinson noted that Nichols’ reappointment was no surprise. “It’s been amazing working alongside Nafis this past school year,” said Dr. Parkinson. “While challenging for both of us in our first year, he has made a tremendous impact on the district in such a short amount of time. In fact, our entire team has demonstrated noteworthy progress.”
In just one year with Nichols and Parkinson at the helm, the district has seen an increase in stability throughout various departments. During the district’s State of the District presentation this past July, key accomplishments were highlighted:
CURRICULUM and INSTRUCTION:
Development of Curriculum Review Cycle
Implementation of the new educator effectiveness system (Act 13)
Developed MTSS Teams in each building
Focused on increased services for social-emotional learning and PBIS
Ensuring that all CUSD Professional staff have the appropriate credentials for their respective roles
Creation of internal auditing process
$1.2 million recuperated to CUSD
Submitted timely quarterly reports
Created plan of action for vendor payment in conjunction with Business Office
Assessment and controls to address vehicle insurance policy
Established Athletic Handbook for CUSD
Expanding sports programs and partnerships
Deneen Mosley, former Chester High School PTO President and mother to three CUSD graduates, has been involved in educational advocacy on the local level for nearly three decades. As a well-respected community member and graduate of CUSD c/o 1986, Mosley currently sits on the Receiver’s Advisory Council and is a member of the district comprehensive plan’s steering committee.
“I think the recent announcements concerning CUSD leadership is a sign that we are headed in the right direction,” said Mosley. “There are complex problems that have plagued the district for many years, and this team has been tackling them head-on. They aren’t trying to pass the buck. In my years of experience working with the district and seeing leadership come and go, I can honestly say Receiver Nichols has been transparent, visible, and really trying to include feedback from the community.”
Echoing those sentiments, Joan Neal, current Chester Upland School Board President and member for the last nine years added that she believes the leadership team is making an impact despite some skeptics. “Most people don’t like change and this team has implemented changes and will have to make more if we want to continue seeing a positive impact,” said
Neal. “This is about holding people accountable so that our children can receive the best education possible.”
With a new school year on the horizon, Nichols is positive the best is yet to come for the district.
“We are laying the groundwork for long-term success and fiscal health,” said Nichols. “I came here with a lot of experience and I’m staying here because I know we can do the job. I know we can create transformational change here and we will. Everyone wants to see the finished product but it’s going to take time and I am honored that I have three more years to work on behalf of this community and our children. This community, the children deserve stability and consistency from their leaders. We are ready to show and prove that we are committed to working on their behalf.”
In addition to being the court-appointed Receiver for the Chester Upland School District, Nafis Nichols is the Owner/Principal of NJN & Associates, LLC, a management consultant firm providing services to municipal governments and non-profits. Prior to assuming his role as Receiver, Nichols served as the city of Chester’s Chief Financial Officer for almost five years. He previously served as Councilman for the City from 2012 until 2016, where he held the position of Deputy Mayor, Director of Accounts and Finance, and Compliance Monitor.
Dr. Craig Parkinson’s biography can be accessed here.
Dr. Latrice N. Mumin’s biography can be accessed here.
A copy of the State of the District presentation is available upon request.