Superintendent Search

Collingswood and Oaklyn Public Schools Welcome Dr. Fredrick H. McDowell, Jr. as the next Superintendent

It is with great enthusiasm that the Collingswood Board of Education welcomes Dr. Fredrick H. McDowell, Jr. as the next superintendent of the Collingswood and Oaklyn Public Schools effective February 1, 2021. The selection is the result of a national search conducted with the assistance of the firm, HYA Associates, that prioritized a diverse candidate pool and produced nearly 60 qualified candidates, both locally and nationally. After multiple rounds of interviews, we chose Dr. McDowell for his breadth of experience working in complex and diverse school districts with a focus on inclusivity and collaboration and a passion for empowering and mentoring those that work with him to reach their fullest potential. As a student-centered leader who has dedicated his career to educational equity and opportunity, Dr. McDowell is ready to build on the solid foundation our district has created and will work with all community stakeholders to continue to create the conditions that allow for every student to grow. As a Collingswood resident and Collingswood Public Schools parent, he is deeply committed to the long-term success of the school district.

Early in the search process, the Board solicited input from our community, families, students, and staff members to identify the most important characteristics that our community desired in a new superintendent. As always, the focus was on providing the best possible education for the students of Collingswood and Oaklyn and finding a superintendent who can bring our mission of embracing the strengths inherent in a diverse student body to inspire confidence, critical thinking, creativity, and perseverance in every student to life. We fully believe that we have found that leader in Dr. McDowell.

McDowell will succeed Dr. Scott Oswald who has faithfully led the district with great dedication for 14 years and will be retiring at the end of this month. We are incredibly grateful for the leadership that Dr. Oswald has provided, particularly during this pandemic where he has provided much-needed stability in a time of chaos. We are confident that Dr. McDowell will honor our strong Collingswood and Oaklyn traditions while positioning our district as an innovative learning community for all of our students and educators. 

Dr. McDowell is an experienced educational leader and district executive. He currently serves as the Senior Director of Teaching and Learning with Christiana School District in Delaware where he supervises schools and a range of instructional programs and services. In addition to school leadership consulting, he previously served as the Superintendent of Trenton Public Schools, a large high needs school system with substantial room for growth. Upon entrance into the role, he used a collaborative process to establish key priorities to guide the foundational work for long-term system planning to increase academic achievement. Although his administration was met with significant resistance, NJ school district quality scores in curriculum & instruction increased, student growth targets were achieved in literacy and math, and district math proficiency increased. They were able to accomplish this and much more through authentic partnerships with committed staff and community members. 

After accepting the Board’s offer, Dr. McDowell shared that he would like to thank the Collingswood Board of Education for providing him the opportunity to serve as the new Superintendent for Collingswood and Oaklyn Public Schools during this challenging time in our nation’s history. As a community member, he’s witnessed firsthand how the community has come together to support its children.

Dr. McDowell will be appointed at a virtual special meeting of the Collingswood Board of Education on Tuesday, January 19, at 8 PM. Dr. McDowell will be with us that evening and we invite members of our community to join us as we extend a very warm welcome to him as our new educational leader. 

Please join us virtually; access info for the meeting will be posted soon.