Connecting 'Heros' on Leadership Excellence

By David R. Schuler/School Administrator, September 2015

My hope is you are all having a great start to your school year. It is always so exciting and re-energizing to begin a new year. Thanks to your leadership, there is much to be proud of in our public schools.

SchulerOur nation’s high school graduation rate has reached an all-time high, which is absolutely outstanding. At the same time, AASA members continue to look for ways to enhance the educational experience for every child who walks through our schoolhouse doors each day.

As an organization, AASA is assisting in that process by creating and curating programs, collaboratives and conferences designed to connect innovative leaders because it is you, our public school children’s everyday heroes, who are truly transforming lives and dreams and creating hope for our nation’s youth and their families.

Many of our AASA colleagues, who are among our nation’s everyday heroes, are taking steps to do just that. Here are a few examples:

  • Michael Fulton, superintendent of the Pattonville School District in St. Ann, Mo., is doing great work to eliminate the achievement gap in his district.
  • Dallas Dance, superintendent in Baltimore County, Md., spearheaded the development of an initiative to fundamentally shift how teachers teach and to improve academics, safety, communication and organizational effectiveness in his district.
  • Michelle Price, superintendent in Moses Lake, Wash., is visiting various locations in her community to listen to feedback from all stakeholders and to answer any questions they may have.
  • Jim Rollins, superintendent in Springdale, Ark., is bringing together community and business leaders to ensure all students receive relevant, career-focused opportunities.
  • Mary Jo Hainstock, superintendent of Vinton-Shellsburg Community School District in St. Vinton, Iowa, is working with her community to provide support to homeless students.
  • Terry Grier, superintendent in Houston, has implemented a 1:1 initiative designed to develop capacity among staff and transform teaching and learning in his district.
  • Janet Mason, superintendent in Rutherford County, N.C., has done outstanding work in the area of early college opportunities for students.
  • Richard Carranza, superintendent in San Francisco, is doing phenomenal work in the area of restorative justice. His district has adopted programs that require students to acknowledge wrongdoing and make amends rather than simply face suspension.

Our association is building and connecting innovative leaders like these and many others.From East Coast to West Coast, north to south, AASA members are everyday heroes who are changing lives and changing the world.

Like all those I’ve mentioned, AASA members must move beyond the minutiae that can control our day and truly transcend and lead for excellence. Our nation’s superintendents have a moral obligation to be the voice for the voiceless, and I know you do that every day. We need to continue to celebrate the many successes of our public schools and be honest about our ongoing challenges.

A world that we cannot yet imagine lies before us, but I am confident that AASA and its members will provide the innovative leadership necessary to prepare our nation’s students to be incredibly successful in our ever-changing global economy.

I wish you all an awesome school year and I look forward to seeing you in Phoenix, Ariz., in February for our National Conference on Education. It is going to be a phenomenal opportunity for professional growth and networking, and I hope you are able to join us.

David Schuler
is AASA president for 2015-16. E-mail: Twitter: @DSchuler1970