Educationally Speaking

May 27, 2021

Riverhead Central School District’s Roanoke Elementary School Principal Thomas Payton recently had the unique opportunity to participate in two virtual roundtable discussions with US Secretary of Education Dr. Miguel Cardona.

On May 10, Payton, along with 10 principals from across the country, with Dr. Cardona a variety of topics, including social emotional support for students and teachers; state testing; educating learners through a diversity, equity, and inclusion lens; closing opportunity gaps with underserved students; filling the teacher hiring pipeline with quality candidates; and CDC recommendations for social distancing.

Payton had a second opportunity to speak with Dr. Cardona, as well as Acting Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education Ian Rosenblum on May 21. During the session, educators discussed the availability of American Rescue Plan funds and the importance of state and district plans for how these resources will be effectively used.

Payton was presented with the opportunities to speak with Dr. Cordona since he serves on the Board of Directors for the National Association of Elementary School principals.

“I’m blown away by this incredible opportunity to meet with a sitting U.S. Secretary of Education and discuss current education topics and policies in a small group setting, not only once in my career, but twice in two weeks,” said Payton. “It also shows the importance of having a Secretary of Education who served as a public school educator. He understands the importance of tapping into the pulse of what is happening in the field and shape supportive policy.”