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Q & A with Middle States Commissioner Kevin McNulty

By November 29, 2018December 18th, 2021No Comments
Kevin McNulty is a teacher and assistant headmaster at Seton Hall Preparatory School in West Orange, N.J. He graduated Magna Cum Laude from Iona College and went on to earn Master’s degrees in History and Educational Administration. He has been affiliated with Middle States Association since 1999 and currently serves as commissioner.

Q. How did you choose a career in education?

A. While working on my bachelor’s degree I applied to several doctoral programs. I was thinking of becoming a college educator. After graduation I decided to put graduate school on hold and went to work educating young men in Harlem. I’ve been in several schools since in roles that range from teacher to principal.
Q. How did you become involved with Middle States?

A. My first visit was back in 1992 and it was a bit of a disaster. The school was not prepared. Several years later my own school was going for accreditation. I had the opportunity to work with a lot of people from Middle States on continuous school improvement and planning, and found that I was excited by the process. To date I’ve been on at least 20 visits and have been visiting team chair for most of them.

Q. What do you see as one of the main benefits of Middle States accreditation?

A. The peer review process. The school engages in a self-study before inviting peers to come in and take a look at what they are doing. Schools can learn so much in just a couple of days when peers serve as “critical friends.” A strong visiting team can make suggestions that lead to significant improvements for schools.

Q. Are there any school visits that stand out in your memory?

A. I visited a school in Pennsylvania where the student body was court referred, meaning that all students had at some point been in trouble with the law. The school was doing a tremendous job with kids with a range of abilities. They had students come to them who were high school age but reading at a first grade level and doing math at a second grade level. The school’s emphasis was on individuation. Teachers met each student at their level and moved them along at their pace. It was really inspiring to watch this school address challenges in a way that I’d never seen before.

Q. Who inspires you and why?

A. This is a generic answer but it’s the truth: kids inspire me. I’m inspired by their curiosity, willingness to engage and the struggles they overcome. I love coming to work each day and being able to spend time with kids. It keeps me going.

Q. What do you enjoy doing when you’re not working?

A. Martial arts. I run a small dojo, a school for training in the martial arts. I have black belts in multiple styles of jiu-jitsu and in judo. I recently took up Iaido, the art of sword drawing and cutting.

Q. What is one thing that may surprise people about you?

A. I love to study and have been surreptitiously completing my third master’s degree in Jewish-Christian studies. Due to work and other commitments I have been taking it slowly. I complete one course at a time and it took me awhile to complete my thesis, but I’m happy to say that I’m almost finished with my degree.

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