2004 Executive Educator Archive
A Sense Of Purpose
Professional development can give superintendents an opportunity for reflection and renewal. With a superintendent shortage looming in many states, higher education institutions and other agencies now are offering programs that are tailored to the long-term development of district executives.
Learning and Leading
School administrators must design and monitor professional development for teachers and other staff members in the district. But often it is difficult for administrators and building-level leaders to find meaningful activities that contribute to their own learning—and time to pursue them.Self-directed learning is the hallmark of this leadership program.
Educators talk a lot about continuing education for teachers these days, and rightly so. But what about superintendents? Where do the people who are most directly responsible for the district's success get the kind of ongoing professional development and renewal they need? Professional development, renewal, networking—call it what you will, but superintendents need it, too.
Supporting School Leaders
We hear a great deal these days about the high rate of teacher turnover. Less well publicized is the anticipated shortage of school administrators. Recruiting, hiring, and—most important—retaining the best leaders seem to be constant tasks for school boards. Providing mentoring for new administrators can make the difference. Mentor programs for novice administrators help school leaders do a better job—and stay in their positions longer.
The Human Touch
More schools are turning to new communications technology to reach parents and taxpayers—often replacing more personal and traditional communications techniques in the process. But schools need to begin asking, “When it comes to communications, is new always better?” What today’s new communications methods seem to offer in ease and efficiency, they often lack in the human touch essential to good relationship building.
Little Things Mean a Lot
All too often, communication between parents and schools is already difficult. It usually occurs on negative ground, and school officials frequently play an essential, but often thankless, role of being the dispensers of bad news. Schools should make every effort to contact parents with good news in as many contexts as possible. Parents will perceive that the school is fair and that administrators do recognize good things when they happen.