CENTREVILLE — A new superintendent of schools has been named by Queen Anne’s County Public Schools.

During the open meeting portion of the Board of Education’s work session May 19, a four-year contract was awarded to Patricia Saelens to begin in July 1, 2021.

A unanimous vote was cast by board members present, President Richard Smith, Tammy Harper, Michele Morrissette and Helen Bennett.

“We are truly excited to appoint Dr. Saelens and look forward to her leadership in our school district and community,” Smith said. “She brings a deep knowledge base and a wealth of experience in Maryland, specifically on the Eastern Shore, that will be vital in years to come.”

“I am honored to have the privilege of serving Queen Anne’s County Public Schools,” Saelens wrote in a statement to the board, “I look forward to working with and getting to know staff, students, and the community to continue advancing opportunities for student success.”

It has since been announced that as June 3, Salaens began serve as acting superintendent for the school system, after Superintendent Andrea Kane stepped down during the June 2 Board of Education meeting.

“It has been my honor to serve you for the past four years,” Kane wrote in a statement to the board, “Queen Anne’s County Public Schools has achieved many accomplishments for which I am very proud. Structures for systemic continuous improvement have been put in place and outdated, oppressive mindsets have been challenged. QACPS employees have a greater awareness and understanding of educational equity. Students have been encouraged to respectfully speak up and speak out for what is right.”

Kane continued, “Despite the challenges of the past year, I can confidently state that I am leaving Queen Anne’s County Public Schools in a better position than when I arrived. That is the role of leadership.”

Saelens was appointed interim superintendent of Caroline County Public Schools in December 2016. The following year, she signed to a four-year contract. She resigned her position there this spring after the school board opted not to renew her contract.

Prior to that she served Caroline County as assistant superintendent for instruction, supervisor of accountability and coordinator of instruction.

Saelens earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and a master’s degree in administration and supervision from Salisbury University and a doctorate in leadership and innovation from Wilmington University.

A native of Talbot County, she began her career in Dorchester County as a social studies teacher and subsequently became an administrator.

Kane took the helm at Queen Anne's County Public Schools in 2017. The board and Kane had previously indicated her contract, which expires this year, was not going to be renewed.

In her June 2 statement, Kane announced her plans to move forward to the University of Pennsylvania.

“I will always be grateful for the friendships I have made and for all who partnered with me to support the students of Queen Anne’s County Public Schools,” Kane said.

Her resignation comes after she filed a racial discrimination and retaliation complaint against the Board of Education with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in January. The EEOC has not pursued Kane’s complaint and the school board and other county officials deny Kane’s claims.

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