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Central Leadership

Dr. Luvelle Brown, SuperintendentSuperintendent
Dr. Luvelle Brown
(607) 274-6845

Assistant to the Superintendent
Emilee Tracy-Arm
(607) 274-6845

Luvelle Brown is the 2017 New York State Superintendent of the Year. He has served as Superintendent of the Ithaca City School District (ICSD) in Ithaca, New York since January 2011. Prior to arriving in Ithaca, Dr. Brown had experiences as a teacher, assistant principal, principal, school CIO, and district-level leader in Virginia. 

During his tenure in Ithaca, the ICSD has experienced significant levels of success. The graduation rate has skyrocketed from 78% to above 94%, while students are reaching unprecedented levels of performance, including an 8% increase in enrollment and diversity in higher-level courses, an 8% increase in attendance, a 53% increase in enrollment in co-curricular programs, a 6% increase in number of students reading on-grade level K-5, a 63% reduction in discipline referrals, and a reduction of the district’s Special Education classification rate from significantly above state average (14.8%) to significantly below (11.6%). Specific school achievements include Northeast Elementary being named a National Blue Ribbon School and two other elementary schools being recognized as New York State Reward Schools. Ithaca High School has moved from being on the New York State School in Need of Improvement (SINI) list to being recently recognized with GOLD distinction by Newsweek placing in the top 2% of schools in the United States.

Early in his tenure, Dr. Brown facilitated a community wide strategic planning process that resulted in a new vision and mission. Conversations in homes, community centers, places of worship, and other local settings informed the vision of "6000+ Thinkers" and mission to "Engage. Educate. Empower."  The newly informed vision and mission has led to district-wide initiatives based on systems thinking, including integrating thinking skills into every classroom, shifting the organizational design towards a systemic approach, redesigning learning spaces, and numerous technology initiatives, such as systems-based visual mapping, game-based learning, innovative uses of social media, and 1:1 mobile device implementation. 

The state and national recognitions for the ICSD and Dr. Brown have highlighted one of the best educational stories in the USA. Recently, Ithaca High School was placed on the AP Honor Roll by the College Board for increasing the number of students enrolled, increasing diversity, and increasing achievement on AP tests. Another recognition for the school district includes being named by the National Association of Music Merchants Foundation as one of the nation's Best Communities for Music Education. Remarkable quantitative and qualitative achievement results have attracted visitors from around the globe. The ICSD has hosted national conferences and site visits for school board members, superintendents, administrators, and teachers from three different continents, 37 different states, and numerous school districts throughout New York State. 

Along with school district recognition, Dr. Brown has received various awards and recognitions as well. TrustED lists the 2017 New York State Superintendent of the Year as one of the nation's top educators and thought leaders. Dr. Brown has been recognized by the National School Boards Association as a “20-to-Watch" and "Difference Maker," received the Center for Digital Education Top 30 Award, and received the 2014 eSchool News Tech-Savvy Superintendent Award. He was selected by the US Department of Education as one of the nation's top 100 innovative Superintendents. Along with that distinction, Dr. Brown was invited to be a featured speaker at President Barack Obama’s first National Superintendent Summit at the White House. Additionally, Dr. Brown serves on the New York State Council of School Superintendents (NYSCOSS) Executive Committee, the Leadership for Educational achievement Foundation Board of Directors, the School Superintendents Association (AASA) Digital Consortium, the Center for Digital Education Advisory Council, and CoSN’s Empowered Superintendent Advisory Panel.

Dr. Brown is an active community member through service on various non-profit boards. He is a proud member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. and was the co-founder for the nationally recognized 100 Black Men of Central Virginia.

Dr. Brown is a highly regarded speaker, addressing a range of topics for local, regional, and national audiences. He has published numerous articles and books including the recently released Culture of Love: Cultivating a Positive and Transformational Organizational Culture. Dr. Brown is also the co-author of ThinkTweets: 100 Transformative Tweets for Educators.

Lily Talcott,  Deputy SuperintendentDeputy Superintendent
Lily Talcott
(607) 274-2134

Assistant to the Deputy Superintendent
Amy Ruta
(607) 274-2134

Deputy Superintendent Lily Talcott helps oversee principals, Instructional Technology, mathematics curriculum/instruction, APPR teacher evaluation, professional development, and human resources. 

Talcott, an Ithaca native, served as principal of Northeast Elementary School from 2015 to 2018. She previously served as a district-wide teacher on special assignment with a focus on pre-K-5 mathematics and then as a master educator supporting pre-K-12 professional development, curriculum, and assessments. Ms. Talcott began her teaching career in 2004 in the Bronx, New York before coming to the ICSD in 2006, where she served as a long-term substitute teacher and teacher aide before teaching first grade at Enfield Elementary School for five years.

Administration Officer
Daniel Breiman
(607) 379-2370

Mary Grover, Inclusion OfficerInclusion Officer
Mary Grover

Inclusion Officer Mary Grover will lead the charge to provide opportunity and access to education for all district students, regardless of ability, race, gender, class, or cultural background. Grover will facilitate practices that encourage high-quality teaching, learning, and leading, as well as continuous growth.

Ms. Grover began her career teaching English in Japanese public high schools. From there, she worked in Portland, Oregon for eight years as a student advocate and teacher. In 2010, Ms. Grover assumed a position as lecturer and teaching support specialist at Cornell University’s Center for Teaching Excellence before joining the ICSD as a graduation coach at Ithaca High School in 2012. She then served as principal of Caroline Elementary School from 2013 to 2018.

Bob Van Keuren, HR DirectorDirector of Human Resources & Labor Relations
Robert Van Keuren
(607) 274-2138

Director of Human Resources and Labor Relations Robert Van Keuren will oversee negotiations with employees, labor management, employee relations, recruitment, and retention.

Amanda Verba, COO
Chief Operations Officer
Amanda Verba
(607) 274-2121

Chief Operations Officer Verba will handle fiscal management, grant opportunities, title grants, capital projects, and administration of the Dignity for All Students Act. 

Ms. Amanda Verba has been named Chief Operations Officer. She is coming to our district from TST BOCES where she acted as the Coordinator of Youth Development. The 13 years of experience that she brings with her include time spent providing staff development throughout New York State and evaluating grants.