It is a pleasure to represent our great NASS organization as the 2012 Superintendent of the Year. As part of my commitment to you and NASS, I will be submitting a monthly message and tips for superintendents that corresponds with the NASS theme for that particular month. I will share practical ideas that we are currently using in our district and hopefully they will be useful for you. The month of September will focus on Organizing and motivating the leadership team.
The first question you need to ask yourself is do you currently have the right administrative team and structure in place in your district? We have changed our structure a few times over the past few years. We went away from having a shared principal for three elementary schools to a principal in each of the buildings regardless of the enrollment. Don’t be afraid to change your structure and/or your team if needed.
The rationale for our change in the structure of the team had to do with three main reasons:
* We added 30 minutes per day before school to our teacher day and pushed our student start time back 15 minutes; the student day now begins at 8:25 in all of our buildings. This allows us to have staff collaboration time from 7:30 to 8:15 every day to work on our district/building initiatives without losing instructional minutes. We added those 15 minutes back to the student day at the end of the day; dismissal is at 3:25 in all buildings.
* The principal needs to be the educational leader with all of the new educational reforms, data assessment, new testing requirements, adoption of common core standards and it is extremely important to be in the building to lead and participate in these new initiatives.
* Our teacher evaluation and performance will be tied to our new pay structure in 2013. As we prepare to implement this new model it is imperative that the principals assist the staff to become highly effective in the classroom; therefore they need to be in the classrooms on a daily basis whether it is for a walk through, observation or just a friendly visit with the students. The principals also need to give teachers feedback every day.
Over the summer months our administrative team spent all day each Wednesday meeting together as a team. This served a number of purposes; if you have a new team member this is a great way to train and mentor the new administrator. We have had new administrators joining our administrative team for the past two years. Our Wednesday would begin at 8:30 a.m. with technology training for about 2 hours. We would then spend the next hour and a half covering agenda items. Any administrator could add to the agenda throughout the summer as we kept our agenda in a shared file in Dropbox (what a great tool). We would then break for lunch and either go out as a team to one of our local restaurants or we would brown bag it and continue to have conversation over lunch; usually those conversations were more on a personal level and was a great way for the team members to get to know each other better. After lunch we would continue with our agenda and would wrap up by 3:30 p.m.
Our leadership team consists of two teams:
1. Administrative Team includes Principals, Director of Instruction, Business Manager and the Director of Pupil Services.
2. Supervisor Team includes two Directors of Building and Grounds, Activities Director, Public Relations Coordinator, Food Service Director and Dean of Students.
Once the school year begins, I meet with both teams together in the afternoon the day immediately following our School Board Meeting. This usually takes about 45 minutes to an hour. I then dismiss the Supervisors and I meet with the Administrators for the rest of that afternoon. We cover many topics throughout the afternoon.
As the superintendent it is my job to lead the administrative team. I have high expectations and it is important that we all work together as a team. Any issues with the team must be dealt with immediately. We can all learn and grow from each other. Being well organized and there to support your administrative team is the best way to start any school year in a positive manner. I can honestly say we had one of the best first day’s this year and have set the tone for the 2012-13 school year. Wishing all of you a great new school year!
If you have any specific questions for me or need additional information please feel free to email me at
or call me at 715.479.6487 opt. 1 ext. 1.