Dr. Julie Hackett
Superintendent of Schools
Taunton Public Schools
Superintendent of Schools
Taunton Public Schools
Dr. Julie Hackett has been a public educator since 1992. Her background includes experience at the elementary, middle, high school, and post-secondary levels. Over her twenty-four year career in education, Julie has demonstrated a consistent commitment to innovation, collaboration, and the belief that all children can and should attain the highest levels of achievement.
As a teacher researcher and advocate for struggling high school readers, Dr. Hackett developed an innovative partnership between pre-school and high school students. This effort culminated in a book that she co-authored with Dr. Jeffrey Wilhelm called Strategic Reading: Guiding Students to Lifelong Literacy, 6-12 (Heinemann, 2000). In 2001, while serving as a middle school principal, Julie was appointed to the Governor’s Maine Learning Technology Initiative (MLTI) Design Team. At that time, MLTI created the largest 1:1 educational technology program in the world, putting laptops in the hands of every middle school student in the state. In addition, Julie has led numerous strategic planning efforts for non-profits, communities, and school systems, developed comprehensive PK-12 local assessment systems, and implemented a district-wide K-8 foreign language program.
In 2009, Dr. Hackett was the first female in the history of the city to be named superintendent of the Taunton Public Schools. Under her leadership, the district’s dropout and graduation rates have continued to improve each year. Today, the district dropout rate is at a record low of 1.7% (from a high of over 7%), with Taunton High School achieving a dropout rate of less than 1%. The graduation rate is at a record high of 90% (from a low of 72%). The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education recently recognized Julie and her team for decreasing the dropout rate by 67.4% from 2007 to 2014. Julie believes it is every educator’s responsibility to get students across the finish line and on to college, and she holds herself accountable to this core value as a mentor to at-risk students each year.
With a strong belief that inclusion benefits everyone and all children have a right to learn with their peers, Dr. Hackett worked closely with the Taunton school community to put new inclusion practices in place. Together, they created one of the first district-wide models of inclusion in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. During her tenure, Taunton has also been recognized for its efforts to close the achievement gap between African American and White students at a rate “two to three times faster than the State average” (Beyond Demographic Destiny, 2010). The Taunton school district consistently receives the lowest per pupil funding of any urban school system in the state, making these accomplishments all the more significant.
An economical leader, Dr. Hackett has demonstrated through the years that she knows how to do more with less. While serving as an educator in the State of Maine, she developed breakfast programs and offered high-quality professional development to educators throughout the state to create new revenue streams for her district. Julie also created and taught a series of graduate-level gifted and talented courses to increase the State’s share of local funding for education. In her current role as superintendent in Taunton, inclusion efforts have resulted in a significant reduction in the number of costly outplacements, saving the district millions of dollars. Julie also has spearheaded efforts to increase revenues by establishing Universal Kindergarten and creating five new vocational-technical programs, resulting in a combined annual revenue increase of approximately $3 million. The Taunton Public Schools reinvested these additional revenues in programs such as the Tiger Tent Café, a student-designed and operated restaurant at Taunton High School that caters to senior citizens. In 2013, as a result of these efforts, Julie and her team were awarded the Donald J. Johnson Award for Operational and Cost Efficiencies, an honor annually bestowed upon one school district in Massachusetts.
In recent years, Dr. Hackett has become a frequent presenter at state and national conferences on the topic of how to establish positive and productive working relationships between superintendents and school boards. She has been called upon by both in-state and out-of-state colleagues to share her superintendent-school board relationship-building strategies and insights into how these efforts lead to gains in student achievement. She recently completed her second book, Building Relationships, Yielding Results: How Superintendents Can Work with School Boards to Create Productive Teams, was published by Harvard Education Press in 2015.