School Administrator, September 2017
Karen Sullivan’s My View commentary, “Our School Librarians on the Instructional Frontier
,” was right on and SHOULD INSPIRE SUPERINTENDENTS AND PRINCIPALS
to ensure these invaluable staff assets are being fully utilized as instructional leaders.
Too often, school librarians are asked to perform utility duties when there are staff shortages — bus and lunch duty, for instance — when they should be working with students, staff and administration to improve instructional practices.
Much like Indian Prairie, Ill., where Sullivan is the superintendent, in Lincoln, Neb., we have unleashed incredible professional energy that is centered on our 41,000 students learning in a way that will prepare them for their future and not our past.
LINCOLN PUBLIC SCHOOLS,
Changes in Hiring
I was interested to read the My View commentary, “The Function and Dysfunction of Hiring
,” about hiring practices in my former school district in Burlington, Vt., by my colleague Yaw Obeng.
The principal hiring process that I collaboratively developed with Mary Jane Dieter of Trifocal Consulting in 2009 during my time there as superintendent, preceded the current hiring system used in Burlington.
The four hallmarks of our unique hiring process were:
» The shared decision-making design brings more voices to the superintendent’s final hiring decision;
» The explicit and intentional use of a criteria grid for posting and then screening applications, which identifies the critical and value-added qualifications and experiences sought in ideal candidates;
» The inclusivity of all stakeholders throughout all
stages of the hiring process to ensure authentic and equal input;
» The development of a candidate feedback form for each stakeholder group to complete following their interviews, which provides measurable quantitative and qualitative information about the candidates to the search committee.
The result of this transparent and inclusive hiring process is the overwhelming buy-in and support from the whole community for the successful principal candidate, as well as strong retention of principals. Dieter continues to facilitate this process throughout New England, and I continue to implement this process in my current district.
RUTLAND NORTHEAST SUPERVISORY UNION,
I came across Roark Horn’s commentary on The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
in the “Books That Resonate Over Careers
” feature in the magazine’s June 2017
issue, and his comments com-pletely resonated with me in two particular ways.
First, it always has been a goal of mine to seek first to understand, as I believe that is the foundation of strong communication, and we are in desperate need of that in our fast-paced and social media driven society.
Second, Horn’s comments on how the habits can make a positive impact on the lack of civility our society is currently experiencing is extremely important to me. I, too, believe the seven habits expressed by author Peter Senge are applicable today — and very much needed!
Thank you for including his timely and important commentary.
RETIRED EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF K-12 CURRICULUM,
WATERLOO COMMUNITY SCHOOLS,
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