Looking for a good school superintendent
Published 12:25 pm Friday, June 3, 2022
Within the next few days the Carter County School Board will choose a new school superintendent. Of the three candidates chosen as finalists, one is local and two are from out-of-town.
When possible, we like to see local people considered for these jobs since they know our county, our students, and our schools. But, that does not mean that out-of-county and out-of-state applicants cannot be good candidates.
Superintendents of school have the power to influence all of the teachers in their district and the educational experience of each student. Effective superintendents leave their mark on every aspect of a school district, from finance to safety to extracurricular organizations. The superintendent influences what happens in the classroom much more than people outside the field of education would guess.
A superintendent must juggle various professional relationships, such as working with the school board, principals, teachers, and dealing with concerned parents. While balancing their responsibilities, productive superintendents don’t lose sight of their focused vision — the common good of the students.
Like all strong leaders, good superintendents make themselves available to the public and are receptive listeners. The turnover rate of superintendents proves that the job can be difficult. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach for different districts.
Some of the qualities we’d like to see in a school superintendent include being a good communicator, having a vision, being transparent not only with the board, but with the community, being observant, and number one, putting the interest of the kids first.
To be a good superintendent one must make decisions based on what is in the best interests of the students. And, if others don’t like it, ask them if they are in education to help kids or help themselves.
A good superintendent must always be transparent. When it comes to running a school district, sometimes it feels like anything can go wrong, and it always happens at the worst possible moment. When it comes to scandals, budget shortfalls, or radical reforms, keeping things secret will only make your constituents question your trustworthiness. That’s why school superintendents and school boards must always be transparent. Let the public and those you represent know about problems and issues as soon as possible and allow them to be part of the solution.
Listen to the people in your school district. You don’t have to be a clairvoyant to figure out the needs of your community and school district. However, you must be willing to listen to your constituents and put their needs in front of your own. They will tell you exactly what’s broken and give you some insight into what can be done to fix it. Superintendents should not get seduced by the sound of their own ideas and silence the voices of those in the trenches.
Also, a good superintendent needs to be a good communicator. This ensures that all the board members, teachers, and parents they represent have the information that they need to help them make our schools a success. When communicating with an individual, small group, a school, or the entire district, the superintendent must know his audience. This will help them craft a message that is clear and concise, and if need be, springs their audience into action.
Also, we would like to see a superintendent who can work with the board and each principal in creating a vision for their school. Know what direction they want to take schools in.
We ask the school board to take the selection of a new school superintendent very seriously. Know who the candidates are. Are they good school leaders? Do they have a vision, and are they ready to get involved in the community?
Their success will depend a lot on the support of the board.