Guest Column

Frenetic Life Times Two: The Two-Superintendent Household

by Darrell G. Floyd

While I was working my way up the administrative ladder in Texas public schools, I continually encouraged my wife Cheryl, a secondary science teacher and coach, to obtain her principal certification and later her superintendent certification.

What was I thinking? Ever heard the saying, “Be careful what you wish for?”

My wife and I have now been married 15 years. I’ve been a superintendent for eights years, but for the past 4½ years, both Cheryl and I have served as superintendents. I often wonder how our marriage has survived some of the more trying moments.

In 2000 we moved across Texas so I could begin my second superintendency in Stephenville, a larger school district. Cheryl landed her first superintendency at the same time, while she finished her superintendent certification at Tarleton State University. Her school district, Bluff Dale, was smaller than mine and, since it was just 15 miles from my district, her school board fortunately did not require her to live within the district boundaries.

In 2002 Cheryl changed school districts. She moved 12 miles across the county in the opposite direction from Stephenville for her second superintendency, this one in Huckabay.

Three years later we remain in the same positions. Our son Tyler and our daughter Brittany are now in the 5 th and 4 th grades, respectively. Their own schedules are growing increasingly full, but we try our best to stay involved with them--as we know we should. But it isn’t easy.

Scheduling Nightmare

As a superintendent, one always struggles with juggling personal and family life with school responsibilities. But when both spouses are superintendents, the time constraints are not simply doubled--they increase exponentially. Here’s what a typical week looks like for a two-superintendent family.

Monday : Cheryl leaves the house around 7:15 a.m. each morning to drive the 12 miles to work. I leave with the kids at 7:30 a.m. and drop them off at their respective campuses in my district. After school Brittany rides the bus from her campus to her brother’s campus; then they walk together to my office.

Tyler has flag football practice this afternoon. I am the assistant coach of his team but will be unable to make the practice today due to my school board meeting tonight at 6:30 p.m. I will drop him off at practice at 5:30 p.m. Cheryl will pick him up at 7 p.m. Thank goodness she doesn’t have any school activities to supervise at her school tonight.

Tuesday : Cheryl has basketball games at her school tonight that she must supervise. I have a high school playoff volleyball game to attend tonight. The site of the volleyball game is a three-hour drive from home. So I drive the kids out to Cheryl’s school and drop them off on my way to the volleyball game. Cheryl has them do their homework in her office. She then feeds them pizza, and they watch the basketball games. They all arrive home around 10 p.m. I arrive home after the out-of-town volleyball game around 1 a.m.

Wednesday : This afternoon Brittany has gymnastics practice. I will take her to practice because Cheryl has a site-based decision-making committee meeting after school.

Thursday : I have a 7 a.m. United Way board meeting this morning so Cheryl drops the kids off at a friend’s house on her way to work. Brittany has cheerleading practice right after school. One of the other mothers picks her up from school and takes her to practice. Tyler and I pick up Brittany at 4:45 p.m. We then drop her off at her gymnastics practice at 5:30 p.m. I transport Tyler to his football practice, but I must leave early to pick up Brittany. Cheryl has a school board meeting tonight and doesn’t make it home until 9:45 p.m.

Friday : Friday Night Lights in Stephenville! The whole town turns out for our varsity football game at home tonight. Our whole family attends. And by the time we arrive home around 10:30 p.m., we are all exhausted from the hectic week’s activities.

Weekend : On Saturday, Tyler has a flag football game that I help coach. Cheryl and Brittany attend. On Sunday, we attend church. And on Monday it starts all over again.

This is a typical week in the lives of two superintendents who are married to each other. It gets even more complicated when you throw in those minor issues such as the 6 a.m. or 11:30 p.m. “school problem” phone calls to the house.

School Talk

Because we both hold hectic, all-encompassing and stressful superintendencies, one would think that we would never even broach school topics at home. To the contrary, we talk school all the time to one another. It is one of the greatest benefits of being married to another superintendent. We have built-in sounding boards.

Granted, our school districts have major differences. Mine, with 3,400 students, is 17 times larger than Cheryl’s. Yet there are plenty of commonalities that serve as daily discussion topics. Of course, these types of discussions are not limited to our residence. Often we pack the family into the Chevy Suburban and head out on a trip with me in the driver’s seat, the kids in the back with their headphones on watching a video or DVD and Cheryl in the passenger seat with her laptop and a box full of school paperwork, firing questions at me.

A superintendent’s job is never done (times 2)!

Darrell Floyd is superintendent of the Stephenville Independent School District, 2655 W. Overhill Drive, Stephenville, TX 76401. E-mail: dfloyd@stephenville.k12.tx.us