A New Era Begins ...posted Jul 14, 2014
It is with a great deal of anticipation that I approach my assignment as the Superintendent of Box Elder School District. That anticipation is predominantly positive excitement in being associated with what I consider to be a great organization known as Box Elder School District. I also have a bit of trepidation as I make this transition as any new assignment brings new challenges. I want to be able to contribute in a positive and helpful way to the stakeholders in this district as I start this assignment. I thought it may be helpful to you if I briefly introduce myself, describe some of the work I think we have in front of us as a school district, and share some thoughts on ways we can continue to build on the great things happening in Box Elder School District.
A bit about me
I have had some wonderful experiences during my career in education. I have taught almost every elementary grade, worked extensively with secondary curriculum development and instruction, served as a principal, curriculum director, assistant superintendent, and for the last 10 years served as the Superintendent of Schools in Jefferson School District 251 located in Rigby, Idaho. Most of my career was in my home town of Star Valley, Wyoming. I have a wonderful spouse, Sue, who has been at my side during this entire adventure. We have four children (three daughters, and one son) located in Utah, Idaho, and Nevada. I spent two years working as a teacher at the Edith Bowen Laboratory School at USU in my early career. I am a double graduate of USU and received my doctoral degree from the University of Wyoming, but my allegiance has remained with the Aggies.
We need to remember that our primary central mission is learning. There are many other voices that may seek to distract us in the name of accountability, political pressures, or other competing themes but we must keep student learning as the priority in all that we do and resist efforts to distract us. There are some important initiatives to which we will have to pay attention as we continue our work, but they should be complementary rather than compete with our central mission of student learning. Some of the things we need to prepare for this year include:
· Finding ways to maximize the use of our resources so that we can recruit and retain the best and brightest educators for the students of Box Elder School District while maintaining a balanced budget,
· Implementation of the revised teacher/administrator evaluation policy of which Student Learning Objectives (SLO) will be a large part,
· Staying the course with the revised higher student learning standards, and
· Continuing to show improvement on student performance measures including state and local assessment.
Building on Success in BESD
I am so favorably impressed with the emphasis on continued progress and improvement in student learning that is embodied in the work this district is doing with the implementation of Professional Learning Communities. In my experience thus far I have heard strong commitments for this approach from informed Board members, teachers, support staff, and parents. From my perspective it is rare to have that kind of commitment from all stakeholders, and I see the potential for increased success if we refine that process and hold ourselves to the standard set by the developers of this methodology. As I have worked with the Board, teachers, administrators, and support staff I have been impressed with their positive “can do” attitude and professional commitment to doing what it takes to help students be successful.
I have also been impressed with the team atmosphere I have discovered so far. It appears that almost everyone I have met associated with this school district understands that what we do with passion and expertise is making sure that students learn. It appears to me that in this district everyone understands that what happens between students and teachers is the reason for our existence. I, along with all others who are not in the classrooms, am part of the support staff to help what happens in that sacred arena as effective as possible. That must continue to be our focus!
As I begin this assignment I would appreciate input from all stakeholders in the district. Anyone who would like to give input can do so during the next few weeks by going to the District website at www.besd.net and accessing the survey shown there
I am so blessed to be able to work with you and I hope that we have many great celebrations of the success you create each day in your role with the school district. I feel honored to be a part of this district. I look forward to a great experience working with all of the stakeholders of the District.