Feature                                                      Page 39-40

When Mom or Dad is

the Superintendent    

EDITOR’S NOTE: Superintendents whose young children attend public schools in their school district face a special challenge. How do you go about ensuring your children are treated like other students, neither advantaged nor disadvantaged by their unique connection to the chief executive of the school system?

To gain insight, we invited several college-age sons and daughters who attended K-12 schools where their parents worked as the superintendent to share something about their experience. We also solicited comments from a superintendent who was mother to a pair of high schoolers and from two superintendents who grew up with fathers who were superintendents during their school days.

‘Pointless to Try to Hide’


Eric Chrostoski (right) and his brother Phil were students in three districts where their mother was superintendent.

Throughout my years in primary and secondary school, my mother, Jean Chrostoski, served as the superintendent of the schools I attended in the small Illinois communities of Germantown, Lawrenceville and Nokomis.

Of course, with an educator parent, there were plenty of benefits — early reading experiences, exploration of creative activities at summer camps and regular attendance as a toddler at high school band rehearsals and perform-ances (something that had a major impact on my current interests).

With a parent as the principal or superintendent, I always felt extra motivation to do well in school, behaviorally and scholastically. Also, I found it pointless to try to hide a misdemeanor or less-than-stellar grade from my mother. She often knew I was in trouble before I did.

Yet there were some immense difficulties growing up. The constant moves from one school community to another as my mother advanced in her career made it hard to establish meaningful friendships with other students. In secondary school, I often endured threats and snide remarks from individuals, fellow students, teachers and staff members who felt they had been disenfranchised by an administrative decision.

Despite the challenges, I could not envision a different upbringing. I am who I am because of these experiences.

Eric Chrostoski is a graduate teaching assistant in the School of Music at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. E-mail: ericchrostoski@gmail.com


Always an Upside



 Sandy Doebert

Tom Schneider

Shannon Lockwood

Brian Talbott

Having my mother serve as superintendent of the junior and senior high schools I attended in Illinois affected how people treated me.

During the basketball season in 8th grade, I had earned a starting spot for the team. Some of the other players believed I received my position only because of my mom’s status. All I did to get over this was to continue to try hard and shrug it off.

I realize today that people, at times, like to put blame on others when something else is really what’s at fault. That makes the children of the school district’s top decision maker an easy target.

I prefer to remember the bright side: I always knew when there would be a snow day before anyone else.

Phil Chrostoski is a sophomore physics major at Southern Illinois University in Edwardsville, Ill. E-mail: pchrostoski92@gmail.com


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