Letters                                                                 Page 4


Reader Reply


Superintendent Complexity
Thanks to James Lytle and Harris Sokoloff for sharing their research and insights on the complexity of a superintendent’s world (“A Complex Web: The New Normal for Superintendents”) in the September 2013 issue. It was outstanding.

In Minnesota, a group of superintendents have been meeting four times a year to wrestle with the same challenges. Over the years, we have developed a framework to guide our discussions, which provides us tools to address the very challenges identified in their research.

We framed our tools into eight skills and capacities. For those interested, the framework from our Superintendency Institute, which I chair, can be found at www.thesi.org.

Our agendas represent a blend of reviewing the framework’s research, sharing real-life situations and applying the framework and creating learning sessions to advance the group’s skills and capacities. At our November session, we used the article by Lytle and Sokoloff to guide one of the discussion sessions with great success. The group was most impressed with their complexity web.

Edina Public Schools,
Edina, Minn.

Domenech’s ‘Reinvention’
Daniel Domenech’s Executive Perspective column (“Reinvention Rooted in the Modern Era,” November 2013) is excellent.

It repeatedly amazes me when innovators in other walks of life believe that 20th-century approaches in schools will invigorate education. Domenech is correct in stating we need to structure schools and classrooms to foster higher levels on Bloom's Taxonomy and that the Common Core has the potential to move us in that direction.


Executive Director,
School Administrators of Iowa,
Clive, Iowa


I enjoyed Daniel Domenech’s Executive Perspective column on reinvention, which was shared by a colleague.

I agree that blurring the lines between grade levels and allowing kids to pace themselves sounds like an excellent way to improve educational outcomes.

Baton Rouge, La.


Inviting and Gritty
I read Paul D. Knowles’ My View commentary, “Superintendents Who Are Inviting, Entrepreneurial and Gritty” (November 2013) with interest.

I work hard to be inviting, to listen and to have courage. I'll be thinking more about the entrepreneurial piece, analyzing my own leadership and making sure I'm encouraging everyone to pursue and consider all points of view and all new ideas.

Knowles’ piece confirmed some things and made me think. Well done.


Randolph Central Schools,
Randolph, N.Y.


Leadership Transition
Re Steven Webb’s “Leadership Transition by Design” (November 2013):

As an engaged community member whose two adult children were educated in Vancouver Public Schools, I believe Webb effectively describes the conditions of alignment and commitment to education present in the organization he leads and mirrored in its community partnerships.

Clear expectations collectively formulated across the stakeholder landscape and implemented with a transparent agenda have affirmed education of our youth as a community priority -- and certainly facilitate effective education administration from the top while facilitating grassroots involvement from the community as a whole.

Our leadership development organization often benchmarks how the district puts these principles into practice, which lead to transformative high-performance results. It’s a clear demonstration of what it takes to deliver the goods, regardless of the administrative purposes.

Our school board deserves thanks for staying the course for the long run.

Transformation Systems International,
Vancouver, Wash.


Steven Webb’s article reflects the great work he’s doing in Vancouver. One of the things I have come to learn first-hand in this job is the value of a good superintendent. I really liked the intentional nature of the transition that is used in Vancouver, and I hope other school districts learn from the article.

Executive Director,
Association of Washington School Principals,
Olympia, Wash.


I certainly think there are many pluses to developing a good succession plan such as what Steven Webb advocates. I've long encouraged school districts to think in this direction, and I am amazed at how few do.

Northwest Leadership Associates,
Liberty Lake, Wash.

I completely support the purpose and intent of leadership transition as described by Steven Webb and have seen it work over and over. His experience is another great example of success.

Executive Director,
Washington Student Achievement Council,
Olympia, Wash.





Letters should be addressed to:
School Administrator
1615 Duke St.
Alexandria, VA 22314
Fax: 703-841-1543



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