Starting Point
Strength in Crisis Moments

School Administrator, August 2017

Being the head of an organization responsible for the well-being of hundreds or many thousands of children means superintendents often deal with heartbreaking situations. That puts their leadership on full display in the most vulnerable moments of crisis.

Two outstanding examples appear in these pages this month. Ember Conley and Mark Adler never hesitated when I invited them to address their personal handlings of human tragedies during the previous year.

Conley is superintendent of Park City schools in Utah, where two 8th-grade boys fatally overdosed last September on synthetic opioids purchased over the internet. As she details in her article “An Opioid Crisis Hits Home,” Conley used her public platform to engage unnerved parents, students and educators.

Adler, too, has been eager to turn the depths of his family’s tragedy — the suicide of his 15-year-old son, a victim of cyberbullying — into a positive force. The superintendent in Ralston, Neb., describes in “Channeling Grief Into Kindness” how he and his wife Joni have been waging a public campaign to promote acts of personal kindness.

I fully believe their stories demonstrate the strength of character that resides so prevalently in the ranks of superintendents. Our communities should be grateful for that.

Jay P. Goldman
Editor, School Administrator
Voice: 703-875-0745
Twitter: @JPGoldman