Starting Point                                                 Page 6


The Dynamics of Family   


I’d be hard-pressed to think of another issue of this magazine in my 23 years here that generated as much prepublication interest as this one. The editorial planning began nearly a year ago when we scouted around for superintendents interested in weighing in on how the dynamics of their own family have an impact on their leadership roles and vice versa.

The enthusiastic response in the handful of states where we focused our legwork was quite remarkable as we explored the intersections of public and private life. Many dozens of superintendents of all ages eagerly stepped forward to concurrently share their take on personal and professional responsibilities.

One superintendent in a rural Illinois school system with two young children told me, “I am sure I could talk all day about it,” a comment echoed by a veteran female superintendent in Texas with a teenage daughter, who offered “to write volumes on this topic.” A first-year superintendent with a working wife and two young daughters said the stories we proposed “are near and dear to my heart as this new position has been such a personal learning experience for me and my family.”

Unfortunately, we were not able to incorporate the stories of everyone who wanted to share them publicly. Still, many of their poignant tales and personal experiences have been captured in this month’s array of feature articles, which address “family first” considerations in career decisions; the deliberation over residing inside or outside the school district; the discomfort of school-age children with a superintendent parent; research findings on the lives of female superintendents’ spouses; and the struggle to keep family members outside of the public eye.

In the end, one pithy comment from a superintendent in New Hampshire cut through all the verbiage. “Life is very short,” he told me, “and family should be the first thing on anyone’s agenda.”

Jay P. Goldman, Editor
Voice: 703-875-0745
E-mail: jgoldman@aasa.org


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