By James Hanlon
Leader Staff Writer
Oxford Community Schools appointed Pamela Biehl as the new Executive Director of Special Education last week. Biehl had been serving as the interim director since Denise Sweat’s retirement in January.
“To say I am thrilled to serve the community in this capacity is a gross understatement,” Biehl said. “I have a deep investment in our Special Education program and look forward to serving Team 0 as the Executive Director of Special Education for years to come.”
Biehl joined the district in 2012 as a school social worker. She moved to Oxford with her husband in 2014, and they have three children.
“Ms. Biehl brings a passion and dedication to the department and the Oxford community” said David Pass, Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources. “We are excited to have Ms. Biehl in her new role and look forward to her continued support of OCS staff, families, and students!”
Biehl earned her Master of Social Work degree from the University of Michigan and a Bachelor of Social Work from Western Michigan University. She returned to graduate school and completed her Education Specialist Certificate in Special Education Administration from Wayne State University in December 2020.
“I’ve always been interested in systemic and policy work, but my heart pulled me toward working directly with students,” she said. “After a decade in various schools (in and out of the district), I realized that I could combine those two interests into a new passion. I did not expect the year to play out how it has, but I am so grateful.
“Being in the interim position I have had the opportunity to connect with staff, families and students across the district. I have been involved in collaboratively creating a vision for the Special Education program and our students and families. I am eager to get started.”
The department offers a wide range of services across the district. There is a birth-to-three program, an early childhood program, resource programs and categorical programs that provide related services, such as speech and language, social work, occupational therapy and physical therapy.
“Our commitment is to closing achievement gaps and providing a world-class education to our students with disabilities,” she said. “Moving forward, I hope to collaboratively develop a strategic alignment plan that emphasizes Oxford’s ‘Portrait of a Graduate,’ setting program goals to cultivate proper conditions for learning, including learning space, culture, curriculum, pedagogy, technology integration and community.”
Speaking of community, Biehl would love to partner with local business for job shadowing, employment opportunities and community experiences for children with disabilities, particularly at the secondary level. “We have students with a variety of needs that would greatly benefit from these ‘transition to adulthood’ activities.”
If any local businesses or community members have ideas or are willing to have further discussion, please contact her office at 248-969-5015, or email at Pamela.Biehl@oxfordschools.org.