Leadership Lite
School Administrator, October 2018

Reach ’em Through Their Bellies

The son of a Midwestern superintendent who often faced the stresses of calling snow days every winter, Chris Knutsen has tried to find ways to reduce the pressures during his own superintendency.

So when the superintendent in Florence, Ariz., learned the state legislature was about to pass a state budget that would end the teacher walk-out that had closed his schools for six days, Knutsen wanted to show his appreciation.

He fired up the smoker at his home and spent the night cooking 560 lbs. of beef and pork shoulders for 600 members of the district staff. They were served the hefty lunch a day after resuming operations.
SOURCE: Arizona Republic

The Brownies Had To Wait
The school board in Haines Borough, Alaska, had just completed an interview with Roy Getchell, a candidate for its superintendency, at the conclusion of its six-month search process. Board members took a closed-door vote and settled unanimously on Getchell, who previously worked as a school director in the United Arab Emirates.

When the board president went out of the school library to let him know the good news, Getchell was nowhere to be found. Turned out he had asked a district staff member to take him on a quick ride to the post office. Twenty minutes later, he returned to a roomful of congratulatory hugs and a tray of brownies, according to KHNS Radio.

“I was getting another tour!” Getchell reported.

An Out-of-the-Ordinary Contender
When the school board in Seattle, Wash., advertised last spring for superintendent candidates, it encouraged “nontraditional candidates” from atypical backgrounds to apply and did not list any formal requirements.

The description caught the eye of India Unwin, who submitted an official application for the job, one of 63 candidates to do so. Unwin differed dramatically from the other 62. She was a 15-year-old freshman at Seattle’s Franklin High School at the time.

Unwin didn’t expect to get serious consideration, but she sure wasn’t lacking in confidence. “I would be a top candidate … if I were twice my age,” she said. According to the Seattle Times, her signature carried the title “Future Superintendent.”

A Call for Coffee?

Terry Bouck had spent several years as a teacher and principal, but it had been quite a while since he led a classroom lesson. So when the now-retired superintendent of the Billings School District in Montana was invited to be a guest presenter to the sociology class at Skyview High School, he opened with this question to students: “Do you bring apples to teachers anymore? Or is it lattes?”
SOURCE: Billings Gazette

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.