Starting Point

Stick-to-Itiveness to Admire

School Administrator, May 2015 

You’ve gotta love a public school leader who, even after years of reputation-building attention and a national honor marking the apex of his chosen profession, remains fully committed to managing a medium-sized, out-of-the-way community’s education system. And maybe that’s why I’ve long admired Mark Edwards, superintendent for eight years of the 6,000-student system in Mooresville, about 30 miles outside of Charlotte, N.C.
    After constructing two of the country’s most successful one-to-one school district laptop initiatives and two years after being crowned National Superintendent of the Year, Edwards is firmly fixed in his Mooresville berth, spurning a steady stream of opportunities to move up and on in public life or into lofty executive positions in the corporate world. And while Mooresville may be a little out of the way, it’s become one of the best-traveled destinations for any school system that wants to see up-close how to ply the tools of technology to spark great gains in student learning. Edwards has opened the doors of his district to more than 4,500 visiting educators from 220 school districts over the years.
    Now, he’s sharing more valuable insights in a newly published second book, Thank You for Your Leadership: The Power of Distributed Leadership in a Digital Conversion Model, in which he describes the building of a culture that integrates leadership into every aspect of district life, from hiring procedures to student and parent leadership. His distinctive message appears in this issue, an article beginning on page 16.
    For one, I hope Edwards’ willingness to commit to his school community, with its hugely supportive school board, over the long haul will model for other ambitious superintendents the merits of continuity of leadership. He deserves great thanks for his contributions to this space, to the profession and to school children in many places.

Jay P. Goldman
Editor, School Administrator
Voice: 703-875-0745
Twitter: @JPGoldman