A LYS Superintendent asks the following:

SC,

As I reflect on the 2011/2012 school year, it is clear that I spent too much time focusing on the budget crisis facing our district and campus leadership practices. Central office leadership practices completely slid off my radar.  At Cabinet this morning, I listened as the list of tasks that Principals are deficient in was delineated.  To check to make sure that my directors were walking the talk, I asked if they were modeling the deficient practices.

Crickets…. 

Though this may seem rhetorical, but do I have to track everything, all the time?  At what point does senior leadership hold itself to a higher standard? Given my limited statewide experience, is this a significant problem in other districts?

SC Response What you describe is commonplace, but it is only a problem if the Superintendent makes it a problem.  Most do not and for the life of me I do not understand why.  So I asked a tenured, big district superintendent his opinion.  The short answer was he focused on those who affected the most change, Principals.  On a daily basis, one Principal can (and will) directly impact Assistant Principals, Teachers, Counselors, Para-professionals, Students and Parents.  But on a given day, a single central office staff will selectively influence a handful of others, maybe. And of those influenced, how many will make an immediate impact on students? Not many.

This leaves most central office administrators to issue edicts, attend meetings and put out fires. Getting the whole machine to focus on coaching, implementation and learning is not a quick fix. So you will need to objectively track your expectations if you really want central office behavior and practice to change.  And don’t expect this to be welcomed and embraced.

You are now asking your people to do what they have never really done before and has not been expected in your district for the last 20 years, if ever.  I believe you will get there, but not overnight (tough, since patience has never been your defining quality).

You need your #2’s to think like #1’s. That is an exceedingly rare commodity even in good districts. You and your staff can get there, but it will require that you measure and track the things that matter to you. 

Think. Work. Achieve. Your turn…

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