Friday, October 31, 2014

Superintendent replacement

5/10/2013

I’ve recently moved back home after serving my country in the military. I was surprised to see how the West Franklin school district (that I was so proud to be a graduate of), has become that very place I dreaded going ... the combat zone!

Power, disagreement, lack of respect, poor communication, poor management, no clear goals, no discussions of any progress, zero loyalty, verbal threats and ghastly body language ... these are signs of confrontation that I’ve seen or heard during the past months. I’m saddened and upset that such a distinguished school district that has been nationally recognized is idly sitting off to the side and not addressing this very erratic situation. This kind of conflict is destructive when it takes attention away from other important operations. It undermines morale and self-concept. It increases difference and leads to irresponsible and harmful behavior.

I’ve recently moved back home after serving my country in the military. I was surprised to see how the West Franklin school district (that I was so proud to be a graduate of), has become that very place I dreaded going ... the combat zone!

Power, disagreement, lack of respect, poor communication, poor management, no clear goals, no discussions of any progress, zero loyalty, verbal threats and ghastly body language ... these are signs of confrontation that I’ve seen or heard during the past months. I’m saddened and upset that such a distinguished school district that has been nationally recognized is idly sitting off to the side and not addressing this very erratic situation. This kind of conflict is destructive when it takes attention away from other important operations. It undermines morale and self-concept. It increases difference and leads to irresponsible and harmful behavior.

I was trained to work corroboratively to reach some consensus or agreement with other groups. This capability requires the acknowledgment of and respect of everyone’s ideas, opinions and suggestions. So, it’s the duty of the West Franklin superintendent and school board to develop resolving techniques that will meet these conflicts head on. Set goals, plan for and communicate frequently with all stakeholders, be honest, agree to disagree, get individual egos out of the meetings, follow policy, provide accurate information that is needed, don’t have hidden agendas, don’t make decisions based on feelings, and do your homework.

Why can’t our superintendent build understanding among the educational community to include teachers, parents, board members, patrons and business leaders? Why can’t he be open to considering change when circumstances require it? Knowing which political battles to fight and which to abandon will play a key role in the length of a superintendent’s tenure. In addition to integrity and high moral character, I would have expected this superintendent to be willing to succumb to hiring individuals at lower levels of administration who excel in areas where he has somewhat less experience, such as financial management, planning or budgeting.

Let’s try having a clear vision for the district. Try being an instructional leader for a change. If you don’t have it ... try learning effective communication. Why don’t you evaluate yourself to see if you can be a good manager or a good listener? If an incident occurs that affects the district, follow through with measures of security. If you hold one accountable for his actions, then you hold all accountable. Why don’t you step up, do your job, stay focused, move forward and be fair. You never know, someone that you might have argued with or even ignored ... she just might be your next replacement.

— Carrie Lira,

Pomona

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