Personal Leadership Philosophy
I believe passionately that public schools should be focused primarily on instruction and student achievement. Everything that we do, and every system that we have, must be aligned to support the work of teachers and principals in the delivery of instruction. It’s about instruction and only instruction. Student learning and achievement is our whole reason for existing.
In my view, the job of school leaders is to develop and foster a school climate that supports and enables teachers to do the core work of the organization. Real student learning can occur only when teachers are allowed to establish productive relationships with children. Therefore, school leaders must vigorously guard instructional time and seek to eliminate unnecessary distractions. Principals must lead in this effort and establish a building culture that fosters open dialogue and professional inquiry within the context of improving student achievement. Instructional materials and curriculum must be aligned to state standards. And the collaborative involvement of all staff members and community stakeholders is necessary if these efforts are to be successful.
I believe that professional development is the key vehicle by which principals and teachers can improve the delivery of instruction. A culture of training and continual dialogue about best instructional practices must be established if the district is to make substantive, long lasting change in student achievement. Teacher leaders and instructional coaches must be paired with new and veteran teachers, alike, to align pedagogy with proven instructional techniques. Principals must move out of the role of building manager to that of instructional leader. Coaching for principals and central office staff is also required if they are to lead in these instructional efforts.
A culture focused on student achievement can only be built upon a foundation of accountability and data driven results. We must have diagnostic and formative assessments that provide real time feedback to principals and teachers about individual student progress. Summative data is not enough if our instructional practices are to be tailored to the needs of individual students and if parents are to be meaningfully engaged in the education of their children. Supervision of teachers and administrators is an integral piece of this process and must be accomplished in a collegial manner, allowing for mutual exploration of strategies to enhance learning and student achievement.
All of our resources and systems must be aligned to support the district’s focus on instruction and student achievement. Our budget must be made to enable us to deliver world-class instruction within the classroom. However, the environment in which teachers teach and students learn cannot be neglected. Every dollar that is spent in transportation, maintenance, security or grounds must be used wisely and viewed as important, value-adding components to the district’s mission of serving children. To this end, school buses must deliver children on time, work orders must be completed promptly, buildings must be safe and secure, and the care and appearance of school sites must be exemplary. Students should be encouraged to take pride in their school and its physical appearance and the community must be made to feel welcome in their facilities.
We must judge the school district and its performance on broad measures of student achievement and community satisfaction. No single benchmark can do this. Rather, we must use multiple measures to determine the success of our efforts. In addition to student test scores, we must gauge community involvement in our schools, graduation rates, and the quality of our business partnerships to name only a few. This can be especially challenging in light of the cultural and socioeconomic changes taking place in our community, but I am excited about the opportunity to lead in such an environment. Diversity is a strength of the community that should be encouraged and embraced.
To accomplish this vision, I will be actively engaged in school and community activities throughout the district. I will visit each school in the district several times each year. I expect to observe and participate in many of our extracurricular activities and student events. And I will be a part of a limited number of service clubs and/or community groups.
Leadership and Governance
A clearly articulated set of board goals and expectations that focus on student achievement is necessary to drive this performance throughout the organization. I will work closely with the board of education to align administrative procedures with the long-term goals and direction of the district. And at least annually, we will review our progress toward these goals.
You can expect the very highest standards of ethical and moral behavior from me and from my executive team. Moreover, I will encourage very candid discussions about the direction of the district and carefully consider any reservations expressed by our leadership team. I fully expect us to grow into a high performance organization with a culture that values excellence and student-centered decision-making.
Staff members throughout the district will find that I am very approachable and informal in many respects, but that I hold high expectations for the work that we do. In my view, serving the children of our community is a sacred trust that demands our highest and best efforts.