Leadership Lite

School Administrator, May 2015

 Leadership Lite

Biblical Proportions

In what may have to rank as one of the more unusual doctoral dissertation topics ever pursued in educational administration, two veteran superintendents landed in the company of major figures in the Old Testament and New Testament as targets worthy of study.
    The dissertation, completed in 2014 at Loyola University, was titled: “Biblical Lessons for Educational Leaders: The Servant Leadership of King David, Apostle Paul, Dr. Joe Hairston and Dr. Tim Markley.”
    Hairston has since retired as superintendent in Baltimore County, Md. Markley is superintendent of the New Hanover County Schools in Wilmington, N.C.

Pictures of Longevity

In Mumford, Texas, school governance knows nothing about short tenures.
    Pete Bienski Jr. has been superintendent of the 600-student district for 37 years in Mumford, which is northwest of Houston. The average tenure of superintendents in Texas is four to five years.
    Anthony Scamardo, a Mumford native, has been on the board of education for 45 years and running. His sons Edward and Luke also serve on the school board, but they are relative newbies at 17 and six years of service, respectively.

Native Talent

In Jourdanton, Texas, which is located south of San Antonio, all seven members of the board of education are graduates of Jourdanton High School. How rare is that?

Off By Only a Letter

Patrick Murphy, superintendent of the Arlington County, Va., schools, tries to model behavior he’d like to see in his administrative force. So he took a proactive stance on the use of Twitter, which he’d been using for a year, after noticing some hesitation by others.
    Some quickly rose to the boss’s challenge. Others adopted a wait-and-see mindset, fearing a stumble in public. One administrator illustrated just that, rather memorably.
    Her first Tweet to the superintendent (and dozens of others) read: “Dr. Murphy, I am not Tweeting!” (Emphasis added)
    “People stopped by my office throughout the day and asked if I had looked at my Twitter account,” says Murphy, presumably wondering how he would react to the defiant stance. He wrote it off as a joke and figured there would be a follow-up.
    Sure enough, a second Tweet came through from the same administrator later in the day, saying: “Dr. Murphy, I am now Tweeting!”
    Just another case of slippery fingers on a small mobile device. “We all know the embarrassing difference that a single typo or minor error can make,” says Murphy.

 Illustration by Tim Haggerty

Short, humorous anecdotes, quips, quotations and malapropisms for this column relating to school district administration should be addressed to: Editor, School Administrator, 1615 Duke St., Alexandria, VA 22314. Fax: 703-841-1543. E-mail: magazine@aasa.org. Upon request, names may be withheld in print.