TREND Winter 2017/2018 - Page 38

What Is a Superintendent of S It is often said that the most important role of a board of education is to hire its superintendent. I think that is a somewhat valid claim. Certainly if you value public education, you must have competent leadership managing the daily operations of the school district. A good superintendent leads the district’s educational, financial and administrative performance; facilitates the performance of all personnel; and responds to and informs stakeholders and policymakers about the performance and leadership of the district. Having met many, if not most, Superintendents of Schools here in Tennessee, I believe we do have some excellent leaders across our state. Probably one of the most important duties of the superintendent is to make sure district students are learning and achieving at the highest level possible. A superintendent must understand effective academic practices and be supportive of the teachers and administrators in the district. Leadership, vision, and strategic thinking are critical skills for every superintendent. A successful superintendent is should also be an effective and excellent communicator. If the only voice a superintendent listens to is his/her own, or a few members of the school board, public education will eventually lose community support. In the last few years, I have seen some horrifying treatment of Superintendents across the state. I have seen them maligned by anonymous message boards, attacked in the media, and belittled by their own school board members, often unfairly. I am reminded of Mark Twain’s quote: “Great minds talk about ideas; good minds talk about events; small minds talk about people.” 70+ Classes Searchable by Subject Track Credits & Print Certificates 41 TASL-Accredited Courses LEADER U On-Demand