Leadership Lite

School Administrator, April 2017

Just Another Hurdle to Clear
Jaime Alicea made quite an impression during his first day on the job as interim superintendent in Syracuse, N.Y. He spent time at Clary Middle School delivering high fives to students, but it was his skills in the gym that captured the public’s fascination.

A photo of Alicea, dressed in suit, tie and black shoes, jumping rope with a student was posted to Facebook, where it attracted hundreds of likes in no time. One commenter on the site asked, “Have we ever had a super that cool?”

To pull off that feat, Alicea perhaps drew on his earliest professional experiences, having begun his career in Syracuse 33 years prior as a kindergarten teaching aide.
SOURCE: Syracuse.com

Chasing Hot Cash
When Kriner Cash was a contender for the superintendency in Buffalo, N.Y., a post he ultimately landed, the news media’s interest in the school board’s final candidate interviews was intense.

Because board members asked Cash not to engage the media, the Buffalo News reported that one television correspondent chased Cash down seven flights of stairs with the rest of the pack clamoring for the elevators as they pursued the school leader out the doors of City Hall.

During the chase, a board clerk escorted Cash in a circuitous path to an unmarked side exit where a “getaway car” was parked. The roundabout route left him with a question.

“Young lady,” Cash asked in his smooth Southern drawl, “where ARE we going?”
SOURCE: Buffalo News

Gender Domination
When Bonnie Ward accepted a mid-term appointment to fill a vacancy recently on the school board of the Summit, Colo., schools, it completed an unusual gender sweep. All seven board members are now female, as are the superintendent and assistant superintendent.

Ward had retired as superintendent in Kent County, Md., after a 40-year education career. She has a granddaughter attending Summit’s middle school.

Rumbling and Wrasslin’
Michael Gauch has taken plenty of psychic bumps from his work as superintendent of Illinois’ Harrisburg Community Unit District 3. But the ones he took last fall, when he stepped into a professional wrestling ring to raise money for classroom supplies in his schools, led to actual body bruises.

Gauch willingly accepted the temporary discomfort after he completed his 20-minute tag team match partnering with The Honky Tonk Man against the tandem of Jimmy “Mouth of the South” Hart and The Disco Inferno. The superintendent pinned Hart for the victory.

His first wrestling competition raised $5,000 and the concessions stand brought in $2,000 to support athletics, but Gauch says he’s unlikely to step inside the squared circle again so he can claim to have retired undefeated. He added: “Took me about a week to get where I could walk normal again!”

Short, humorous anecdotes, quips, quotations and malapropisms for this column relating to school district administration should be addressed to: Editor, School Administrator, 1615 Duke St., Alexandria, VA 22314. Fax: 703-841-1543. E-mail: magazine@aasa.org. Upon request, names may be withheld in print.