Richmond has a new Superintendent. He brings strong
experience, unanimous support from the school board and enthusiasm for
confronting challenges. Each condition will be important to his success.
After 13 years as superintendent in Henrico and leaving the state for
Chesterfield, colleagues would observe, "well this will be like water rolling
off of a duck's back". My response was always, "not true". They would frequently
respond, "but you have done it for so long".
I would say, "But I've never done it in Chesterfield…I need to start
here like I have never done it before."
The success of the new superintendent
is critical to the city and the metropolitan area. It is most of all critical
to the young people who spend more waking hours in the city schools than they
do at home. In a system where the major issues are more the result of "big
people" failures than "little people" challenges, perhaps the new
administration should focus on limited areas of emphasis.
administrators need to know the things for which they will be accountable and
then realize the consequences when they fall short. Student discipline should
be clear and consistent with a focus on the need to protect everyone more than
someone. Families need to be engaged. Whether working three jobs or no job,
families should not be taught that schools will do things for them that they
should be doing for themselves.
superintendent comes with great promise, but he has never done it here before.
Accountability, discipline, and family engagement should be banners hung over
the airport when he arrives!!