Reader Reply


I appreciated Bolgen Vargas’ My View commentary (“Learning Customer Service From the Best,” October 2014) that places the idea of customer service in schools as a priority.

Applying a customer service model to education places the focus on students, parents and our community. Schools and systems that embrace customer service standards place a high value on the relationships and the experiences with students and their families. We have developed service standards in specific areas of operation in our school system and aim to apply them districtwide in the future.

Vargas did a great job showing how this focus can change the culture of a school and school district. Well done and thanks!

Michael Daria
Assistant Superintendent,
Tuscaloosa City Schools,
Tuscaloosa, Ala.


Digital Edition

AASA’s new digital edition is, in a word, wonderful! I receive numerous digital editions from other organizations, and the layout, technology and relevant stories all make your digital edition of School Administrator so readable, easy to use and simply enjoyable to read online.

In this digital age, I am able to access links and forward them to my colleagues with whom I am working on a project or issue. Thank you for your efforts to continually improve and enhance this important journal. Well done!

Henry G. Brzycki
President, The Brzycki Group,
Center for the Self in Schools,
State College, Pa.


I truly appreciate the electronic features and functionality of School Administrator’s new digital format. I completely agree with your decision to maintain the tangible print edition, while giving us, as readers, the opportunity to share and grow ourselves and our staffs through the ease and accessibility made available by the electronic edition. Many thanks!

Tara Villalobos
District Administrator,
Richfield Joint School District 1,
Richfield, Wis.


Showing Off Value

Barbara Hickman wrote a great article, “Stating Our Fiscal Impact,” in your September issue. It made me want to move to the Flagstaff area!

Specifically, I believe her efforts in showing the value of education — in addition to the economic conditions her school district organization creates — is of great value. I look forward to exploring something similar for my community as facilities age, budgets become tighter and accountability increases.

Andrew Sarnow
Director of Business Services,
Hartford Union High School District,
Hartford, Wis.


Mission Statements

I have three reactions to the excellent Our View column, “The Sameness of Mission Statements” (October 2014), by Catharine Biddle and Kai Schafft.

First, rarely does anything good result from a compulsory program. As the authors found in their study, when school districts are compelled to create mission statements, the statements turn out to be rather uninspired and tend to default to the ordinary.

Secondly, our school district recently completed this process voluntarily. We focused on our behavior, not on uncontrollable outcomes such as the hope our graduates will become “lifelong learners” or “great global citizens.” The focus on behavior led to this as our school district mission: “To Serve with Passion to Ignite Creativity, Innovation and Excellence.”

Lastly, the inclusion of the words creativity and innovation are a purposeful pushback against the rising tide of standardized testing. They provide the needed direction and permission to achieve the correct balance between the sameness of standardization and the freedom necessary for creativity and innovation.

Troy M. Gunderson
West Salem School District,
West Salem, Wis.


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