July 7, 2017
NORTH ADAMS, MASS. — The Leadership Academy at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) on Saturday, July 8, will welcome Pittsfield Public Schools Superintendent Jake McCandless, who will speak on the topic of schools as sanctuaries, from 1:15 to 3:15 p.m. in Murdock Hall.

The event is free and open to the public.

In his presentation, McCandless will look at the many types of “at-risk” students, the state of at-risk students in the Commonwealth, what Pittsfield Public Schools have done to become more “sanctu-arial,” and the special care that immigrant and refugee children require.

According to McCandless, due to current affairs, rhetoric and governmental actions considering school as a “Sanctuary” takes on urgent and precise meaning. For many students, however, including students of color, students affected by poverty and immigrant students, schools have certainly served as sanctuaries, if not “Sanctuaries,” for decades.

McCandless has worked in public education since 1993 with service in Pennsylvania, Virginia and Massachusetts. He has served as an alternative education program director, an English teacher, a football and wrestling coach, a department chairperson, an assistant principal and a principal.

For the past 12 years, McCandless has served as a school superintendent. He is a co-author of a chapter, “The Collaborative Cohort Model: A Group Perspective on the Impact and Issues of Collaborating on a Dissertation,” in the soon-to-published book, “Exploring the Impact of the Dissertation in Practice.”

A graduate of Grove City College with degrees in Literature and Communications, with a Master’s Degree from the University of Virginia, and a Doctorate in Educational Leadership from Boston College, McCandless is in his fourth year as the superintendent of the Pittsfield Public Schools, and is in his 12th year as a Massachusetts Superintendent.

The goal of MCLA’s Leadership Academy is to prepare candidates to serve as highly effective leaders of educational institutions and active citizens in their communities. Leadership Academy graduates discover how to shape a vision based on equity, justice and academic success for all students; create a climate hospitable for education in schools and the community; cultivate collaborative leadership with faculty and staff; improve curriculum and instruction; and manage people, data, and processes to foster continuous school improvement.

For more information, contact Dr. Daniel Rapp, (413) 662-5197, or .

Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) is the Commonwealth's public liberal arts college and a campus of the Massachusetts state university system. MCLA promotes excellence in learning and teaching, innovative scholarship, intellectual creativity, public service, applied knowledge, and active and responsible citizenship. MCLA graduates are prepared to be practical problem solvers and engaged, resilient global citizens.

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