So Now You're the Superintendent!

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Addressing common issues such as transitions, culture changes, finances, staff supervision, and team building, this guide offers strategies for the crucial first years of the superintendency.

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Editorial Reviews

Belinda G. Gimbert
"Gives clear objectives and identifies points essential to achieving success. It will be a valuable resource for novice superintendents, as well as a refresher for experienced or struggling superintendents."
Judith A. Rogers
"I recommend this work to anyone considering applying for this top leadership position. It would be intriguing to work through leaders' thought processes with them as they consider the questions posed at the end of each chapter and use the tools included throughout the work."
Marian K. Hermie
"This book will appeal to superintendents at all levels of experience. Having just retired after 35 years in public education, I can only say I wish Ihad a book as practical as this one, with such valuable, realistic information to use as a guide."
Theodore Creighton
“Finally! A much-needed assistance for aspiring and practicing school superintendents. Eller and Carlson offer realistic and practical suggestions for new superintendents to hit the ground running.”
John Gordon
"The leadership transition process is the most difficult path to traverse, but this book helps leaders find a smoother way. The guidance is practical and usable. It feels like you are sitting at a table and listening to ten successful superintendents."
James Rickabaugh
"Offering a rich combination of research findings, expert advice, and practical experience, Eller and Carlson have captured the 'must knows' of the superintendency. This book is filled with keen insights and useful strategies to help the new superintendent navigate early mine fields and establish credibility for long-term leadership success."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781412941716
  • Publisher: SAGE Publications
  • Publication date: 11/19/2008
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 7.20 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

John Eller has had a variety of experiences in working with adults over the years he has been in education. His experiences include work educational leaders at Virginia Tech University, developing teacher leaders in a Maters program, serving as the Executive Director of Minnesota ASCD, work as a principal’s training center director, a position as an assistant superintendent for curriculum, learning, and staff development, and several principal positions in a variety of settings. In addition to the work he does in training and supporting facilitators, John also does work in the areas of dealing with difficult people, building professional learning communities, employee evaluation, conferencing skills, coaching skills, strategic planning strategies, school improvement planning and implementation, differentiated instruction, leadership for differentiation, employee recruitment, selection, and induction, supervisory skills, and effective teaching strategies.

He has his Ph D. in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies from Loyola University-Chicago and his MS in Educational Leadership from the University of Nebraska-Omaha. John has authored books on substitute teaching, wrote The Training Video Series for the Professional School Bus Driver, The principals’ Guide to Custodial Supervision contributes articles for the publication Superintendents Only. He wrote Effective Group Facilitation in Education: How to Energize Meetings and Manage Difficult Groups, and co-authored So Now You’re the Superintendent, the best selling, Energizing Staff Meetings and Creative Strategies to Improve School Culture all through Corwin Press.

Howard Carlson is superintendent of the Wickenburg Unified School District located in Wickenburg, Arizona. Carlson has previously served at the assistant superintendent and superintendent levels in the states of Washington, Minnesota and Arizona. He has worked as President & CEO of a company which started schools in the states of Minnesota and Colorado and has consulted with school districts and private sector companies on a variety of educational issues. In addition to his current full-time position, he serves as a part-time faculty member at Walden University, where he works with students who are pursuing their doctorate in administrator leadership for teaching & learning. In 1990, he was recognized as the Washington State Young Agriculture Teacher of the Year and later as the Western Region of the United States Young Agriculture Teacher of the Year. In 1994, he was named the Washington Association of Agriculture Teachers’ Association, District #4, Administrator of the Year and in 2002 was selected as a candidate for the Outstanding Young Minnesotan Award. In 2004, he was chosen, along with a select group of Minnesota superintendents, to meet with the Commissioner of the U.S. Department of Education to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) law.

Carlson received his BS and doctorate from Washington State University and his master’s degree from Heritage University. His doctoral study major was educational leadership and his minor was curriculum & instruction.

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Table of Contents

About the Authors
1. My Office Key Works, What's Next?
About This Chapter
The Superintendency: Understanding the Historical Context
Potential Pitfalls for New Superintendents
Challenges of Leading a School District
The Importance of Focusing on the "Big Picture "
Jockeying for Position
The Windowpane Model: A Tool for Analyzing and Understaning Constituent Perspectives
The Superintendent as Community Liaison
Develop a Key Communicators Listing
The Changing Role of the Superintendency
Navigating the Changing Landscape
Successful School Change
Hills to "Die On "
Successful Communicator
2. The Superintendent-School Board Relationship: A Cornerstone of Your Success
About This Chapter
Managing the Superintendent-Board Relationship
The Importance of Equal Treatment
The "Inner Circle "
Addressing Individual Board Member Requests
When Is Equal Treatment Unequal?
Superintendent-Board Chair/President Interaction
Establishing Superintendent-Board Chair/President Interaction Norms
Keeping the Chair/President Relationship Productive
The Basics of Board Communication
Successful Communication: Form and Frequency
Forms of Communication
A Special Note About E-Mail Communication
Frequency of Communication
Establishing Effective Superintendent-Board Chair/President Communication
Emergency Communication Standards
Maintenance of Your Communication Plan With the Board
Board Standards and Operating Protocols
Who Has Authority for What: The Board and Superintendent as a Team
3. Organizational Trust and Culture: What Every Superintendent Should Know
About This Chapter
Organizational Culture
Rapport, Trust, Climate, and Their Relation to Culture
The Importance of Trust
Building and Sustaining Organizational Trust
Organizational Culture: The Gatekeeper of Excellence
Properties of School Districts as Organizations
The Complexity of Organizations
Organizations Are Surprising
Organizations Are Deceptive
Organizations Are Like Organisms
Trust and Excellence in Employee Group/Union Relationships
4. School Finance 101: What Should the Superintendent Know?
About This Chapter
Staying Afloat: Four Key Financial Reports
Enrollment Reports
Monthly Enrollment Reports
Annual Enrollment Projections
Expenditure Reports
Key Components and Their Location in the Budget Report
Current Budget
Current Month's Expenditures
Previous Year's Budget Data
Amount of Money Left in the Current Budget
Revenue Reports
Staffing Plans/Position Control Systems
Long-Range Financial Projection: Your Own Crystal Ball
The Importance of Long-Range Projection
Understanding the School District's Financial Audit
5. How to Implement New Ideas in Your Initial Years as Superintendent
About This Chapter
The Change Process
The Honeymoon Period
Transitions and the Change Process
Levers of Change
Frames of Reference Related to the Change Process
Strategies to Consider When Dealing With Resistance
Facilitating/Guiding Groups Through Change
Putting It Behind Us
Learning Walk
Implementation Blocking
6. Supervising Principals and Directors: Strategies for Success
About This Chapter
Supervision of Executive-Level Administrators and Principals
Getting the Most From Your Staff Members
Supervision Strategies for Directors and Department/Divisional Administrators
Evaluating Department Heads, Assistant Superintendents, and Directors
Goal Setting
7. What About the Students? Instructional Leadership and Dealing With Federal Programs
About This Chapter
Instructional Leadership
No Child Left Behind Act
Special Education
8. Dealing With Difficult People and Situations
About This Chapter
What's Behind All of This Negative Behavior?
Frames of Reference
Negative Reinforcement
Understanding the Perspectives of Others
Types of Conflict
Substantive (Cognitive) Conflict
Affective (Personality-Based) Conflict
Skills for Dealing With Difficult People
Temporary Suspension of Opinion
Reflecting Skills
Implementation Blocking
Shifting Energy Focus
Design and Implement Positive Problem-Solving Processes
Mediating Conflict
Working Positively With the Press
9. Getting the Word Out: Effective Communication Strategies
About This Chapter
The Power of Effective Communication
Sticky Note Ripple Effects
Managing Information Flow in Your Office and in the District
Establishing a Board Communication Process
Superintendent to Board
Board to Community
Community to Board
Board to Superintendent
Handling Private and Public Data
10. It's July, Now What?
About This Chapter
The Importance of an Entry Plan: Successfully Navigating Your First Ninety Days on the Job
Opening Day With Staff
Selecting a Mentor
Key Components for Successful Mentor-Mentee Relationships
Sample Calendar of Monthly Events/Activities
Key Points From Each Chapter

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