Governor Carney Announces New Director of Office of Innovation & Improvement

James Simmons III, Brandywine School District’s executive director of secondary education, is a district leader, former principal and teacher

WILMINGTON, Del. – Governor John Carney on Wednesday announced that James Simmons III, who has extensive district and school leadership experience in the Brandywine School District, will take over as Director of the Delaware Department of Education’s Office of Innovation and Improvement.

Simmons starts June 3.

The Wilmington-based office, created in 2017, supports students and educators in Delaware’s neediest schools with a focus on schools in the City of Wilmington.

“We created the Office of Innovation and Improvement to make sure we are on the ground supporting schools with high percentages of low-income and English learner students, and providing additional resources for educators and students in those schools,” said Governor Carney. “We need to make sure that we’re helping all Delaware students get a world-class education, and I’m confident that Jim has the experience and leadership necessary to make a real difference.”

Governor Carney’s Fiscal Year 2020 budget proposal also includes a three-year, $60 million Opportunity Funding initiative to target resources toward disadvantaged Delaware students.

Learn more about Governor Carney’s Opportunity Funding initiative.

“Jim has an impressive career of leadership in one of the state’s top-performing districts. He has the valuable experience and has built both the trust and relationships needed to lead our Office of Innovation and Improvement,” said Dr. Susan Bunting, Secretary of the Delaware Department of Education. “I am delighted that he will be joining our team at the Delaware Department of Education.”

“Our responsibility is to make sure that all Delaware children have access to a high-quality education – including students who may be struggling,” said Simmons. “I look forward to collaborating with educators, building leaders and staff to support students and educators in Wilmington and across the state.”

“This is a fantastic opportunity for Jim,” said Dr. Mark Holodick, Superintendent of the Brandywine School District. “Like his predecessor, Dorrell Green, he will be able to use his skills and knowledge to positively impact even more students – not just in Brandywine School District, but in our neighboring districts and schools as well. While it is hard to lose a dedicated employee with so much history and institutional knowledge, we know that Jim will continue to do great things for students and families in Wilmington. Indeed, he will be an asset to the Department of Education and the Governor’s Office.”

“Jim Simmons is a student-centered, community-minded leader,” said Dorrell Green, Superintendent of the Red Clay Consolidated School District. “He possesses the skill set and collaborative spirit that will help the Department advance the work of the Office of Innovation and Improvement.”

Simmons takes over the role from Dorrell Green, who left the position to become Superintendent of the Red Clay Consolidated School District.

Simmons currently serves as executive director of secondary education in the Brandywine School District. He graduated from Brandywine’s Mt. Pleasant High School before attending West Point Military Academy Prep School. Simmons, who received two appointments to the United States Military Academy at West Point, attended the University of Delaware on a full football scholarship, and earned his undergraduate degree in earth science education. He later earned a Masters of Education in curriculum and instruction from Delaware State University.

Simmons has spent his entire career in Delaware schools, first working as a teacher and football coach at St. Mark’s, Milford, Delcastle and Mt. Pleasant high schools. He moved into his first full-time administrative role in 2003, when he became assistant to the principal at PS duPont Intermediate School in Wilmington. He also served as assistant to the principal at Concord and Mt. Pleasant high schools before becoming Mt. Pleasant’s principal in 2008.

In 2013, Simmons took a district leadership role, serving as Brandywine’s climate and culture leader. He later led Brandywine High School’s leadership for a year before moving to his current position in the district office in June 2015. He also serves as president of the Delaware Principal Academy.

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Delaware Angel Investor Tax Credit Applications Now Available

Refundable tax credit to encourage job creation, innovation

WILMINGTON, Del. – Qualified investors and high-tech small businesses can now make use of Delaware’s newest program aimed at encouraging job creation and innovation.

The Delaware Division of Small Business began Thursday accepting certification applications for the Angel Investor Tax Credit (AITC) at www.business.delaware.gov/incentives.

“We are excited to have the Angel Investor program up and running,” said Governor John Carney. “Now the state’s most cutting-edge small businesses can connect with much needed sources of capital investment. The influx of funds Angel Investor will create will help these companies and Delaware’s new economy to grow.”

Once a business or investor has submitted a certification application, the Division begins its review process. In January, certified companies and investors will be able to submit credit allocation requests.

“Angel Investor is a great way for the state to spur economic development and another useful tool for our Division as we work to help small businesses succeed in Delaware,” said Damian DeStefano, Director of the Division of Small Business.

The AITC is a refundable tax credit worth up to 25 percent of the investment in a qualified, Delaware-based company. Those businesses must pay decent wages, employ fewer than 25 people and engage in innovation in one of several areas as its primary business activity. More information on investor and business qualifications is also available at www.business.delaware.gov/incentives.

“Delaware’s new angel investor tax credit is a win/win for high-tech and science start-ups as well as investors. Delaware is home to some of the nation’s most innovative start-ups and now with Delaware’s new Angel Investor Tax Credit, science and high-tech entrepreneurs have even more incentive to choose Delaware to grow their businesses,” said Kurt Foreman, President and CEO of Delaware Prosperity Partnership.

“Growing entrepreneurial startups is a key success factor for the growth of the life sciences industry in Delaware,” said Helen Stimson, President and CEO of Delaware BioScience Association. “Having an Angel Investor Tax Credit program improves our competitiveness for entrepreneurial retention. Coupling the program with our unique technical grant writing support from the SBDC, and Delaware’s very attractive R&D tax credit program creates a strong value proposition for why startups should stay in Delaware.”

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Related news:
Governor Carney Signs Angel Investor Job Creation and Innovation Act


Governor Carney, Delaware Department of Agriculture Announce Interactive Dashboard

Online tool helps Delawareans understand, visualize farmland preserved in all three counties

DOVER, Del. – Governor John Carney and the Delaware Department of Agriculture announced on Thursday a new, interactive dashboard to help Delawareans better understand farmland preservation.

Delaware’s statewide program made its first round of easement purchases in 1996, and has since preserved 22 percent of New Castle County farmland, 38 percent of Kent County farmland and 16 percent of Sussex County farmland. The Delaware Agricultural Lands Preservation Foundation selects those farms approved for easement purchase using an impartial discounted ranking system that maximizes benefits for taxpayers. The Foundation does not own the land, but rather purchases landowners’ development rights and places a permanent agricultural conservation easement on the property.

The dashboard was released following an easement selection announcement that now preserves more than 127,000 acres of farmland in Delaware. The Delaware Department of Agriculture’s new dashboard creates an interactive experience to help Delawareans see the value of farmland preservation.

“Delaware has a rich farming history and agriculture remains our number one industry,” said Governor Carney. “We’re excited to announce this new, interactive dashboard in order to protect and preserve family farms and to help make them profitable.”

The innovative online dashboard was created through Operations Dashboard for ArcGIS, released by ESRI late last year. The Department is one of the early adopters of the software in the State and in farmland preservation throughout the country. Utilizing real-time data visualization, visitors to the dashboard are able to interact with operational data, see it visually, and gain insight on this round of farmland preservation.

“This new web dashboard helps stakeholders and the public interactively explore our latest round of easement purchases. I hope this increases awareness of the farmland preservation program and provides transparency into how we are spending taxpayer money,” said Jimmy Kroon, DDA GIS Coordinator. “The dashboard also provides stakeholders with quick access to information about preservation activities in specific areas of the state by allowing easement selections data to be filtered by county, legislative district, or watershed.”

Governor Carney’s proposed budget called for $20 million for open space and farmland preservation.

This is the 22nd consecutive year of easement selections by the Delaware Agricultural Lands Preservation Foundation. The Foundation purchased the development rights of 41 farms totaling 3,534 acres, with one farm in New Castle County, thirty in Kent County, and ten in Sussex County preserved. In addition to over 127,000 acres in permanent easements, Delaware’s Aglands Preservation Program has over 45,000 acres of land enrolled in farmland preservation districts. Landowners must first voluntarily enroll their farm into a 10-year preservation district before they can sell an easement.

The Foundation’s Board of Trustees includes representatives from agriculture and state agencies. Trustees are: Bob Garey, chairman; Bill Vanderwende, vice-chairman; L. Allen Messick Jr., treasurer; William H. “Chip” Narvel Jr., secretary; Secretary of Agriculture Michael Scuse; State Treasurer Ken Simpler; Secretary of Natural Resources and Environmental Control Shawn Garvin; Peter Martin; Theodore P. Bobola Jr.; Robert Emerson; and Janice Truitt.

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Governor Carney Signs Angel Investor Job Creation and Innovation Act

New law establishes a refundable tax credit for qualified investors in Delaware small businesses

NEWARK, Del. – Governor John Carney on Thursday signed into law House Bill 170, the Angel Investor Job Creation and Innovation Act, at the Delaware Technology Park at the University of Delaware’s STAR Campus.

The Angel Investor Job Creation and Innovation Act establishes a refundable tax credit for qualified investors in Delaware small businesses to spur job creation and innovation. The law establishes guidelines for awarding a tax credit worth up to 25 percent of the investment in a qualified, Delaware-based small business. Businesses receiving the investment must pay decent wages, employ fewer than 25 employees, and engage in innovation in one of several areas as its primary business activity.

“We should do everything we can to support Delaware’s innovators and entrepreneurs who are leading Delaware’s new economy, and this law will help connect our most talented entrepreneurs with the resources they need to be successful,” said Governor Carney. “Delaware is already a hub of innovation, and this tax credit will help to encourage investments in innovative, Delaware-based small businesses.”

 

 

Governor Carney called for passage of the Angel Investor Job Creation and Innovation Act in his 2018 State of the State Address. The bipartisan legislation was sponsored by Representative Michael Ramone, Representative Bryon Short, Representative Melanie George Smith, and Representative Dave Wilson. Senate sponsors included Senate President Pro Tem David McBride and Senator Cathy Cloutier.

“As a prime sponsor of the Angel Investor Act, I know that by enacting this legislation we are taking a significant step in helping to strengthen Delaware’s economic development climate,” said Representative Michael Ramone. “Getting to this point today was certainly a collaborative effort by legislators, the Governor, and the small business community, and one that I believe will result in definite job growth in Delaware.”

“By encouraging investment in technology startups, Delaware is making another strategic move to enhance its economic competitiveness. It is painstaking and difficult work to advance a startup and this new program will provide an infusion of capital to businesses at a critical time,” said Representative Bryon Short. “These resources will foster innovation in our state and support entrepreneurs growing their businesses.”

“We believe that keeping innovation created in Delaware in the state is a key component of future success for the life sciences industry,” said Helen Stimson, President and CEO of Delaware BioScience Association. “We are delighted to have this new Angel Investor Tax Credit program to entice investors to support our startup companies. This benefit coupled with Delaware’s attractive R&D tax credit program provides key benefits needed to keep our innovators in the state.”

“As a longtime advocate and mentor of early stage technology-based businesses, the Angel Investor Tax Credit should be a stimulus for new investors to support entrepreneurs in Delaware,” said Michael Bowman, Associate Director of the University of Delaware’s Office of Economic Innovation and Partnerships, and President of the Delaware Technology Park.

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Details about the Angel Investor Job Creation and Innovation Act:

The Angel Investor Job Creation and Innovation Act establishes guidelines for awarding a tax credit worth up to 25 percent of the investment in a qualified, Delaware-based small business. Businesses receiving the investment must pay decent wages, employ fewer than 25 employees, and engage in innovation in one of several areas as its primary business activity. By statute, the Delaware Division of Small Business will have until November 1, 2018 to create and publish an application for small businesses looking to participate in the program in calendar year 2019.

Qualified business activities include:

  • Using proprietary technology to add value to a product, process, or service in a qualified high-technology field.
  • Researching or developing a proprietary product, process, or service in a qualified high-technology field.
  • Researching, developing, or producing a proprietary product, process, or service in the fields of agriculture, manufacturing, wildlife preservation, environmental science, financial technology, or transportation.
  • Researching, developing, or producing a new proprietary technology for use in the fields of agriculture, manufacturing, financial technology, or transportation.


Governor Carney’s Statement on Final Passage of Angel Investor Job Creation and Innovation Act

DOVER, Del. Governor John Carney on Tuesday issued the following statement on the General Assembly’s final passage of the Angel Investor Job Creation and Innovation Act, which will establish a refundable tax credit for qualified investors in Delaware small businesses to spur job creation and innovation:

 

“We are focused on doing everything we can to support Delaware’s innovators and entrepreneurs who are leading Delaware’s new economy. I look forward to signing this legislation, which will encourage investments in innovative, Delaware-based small businesses, connect our most talented entrepreneurs with resources they need to be successful, and create new jobs. Thank you to Representative Ramone, Representative Short, Senator McBride, Senator Bushweller and all members of the General Assembly for their support on this important issue.”

 

Governor Carney called for passage of the Angel Investor Job Creation and Innovation Act in his 2018 State of the State Address.

 

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Related news:

Governor Carney and Legislators Announce Bill to Spur Investment in Innovative, Delaware-based Small Businesses