So Now You're the Superintendent!

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The opportunities and responsibilities in the crucial first years of a superintendency can be challenging as well as exciting. This practical resource provides ready-to-use techniques that help superintendents build the relationships and teamwork needed to face these challenges with success.
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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: 9781412941723
  • Publisher: SAGE Publications
  • Publication date: 11/19/2008
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 240
  • Sales rank: 804,872
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 9.90 (h) x 0.70 (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

Preface ix

Acknowledgments xiii

About the Authors xv

1 My Office Key Works, What's Next? 1

About This Chapter 2

The Superintendency: Understanding the Historical Context 3

Potential Pitfalls for New Superintendents 7

Challenges of Leading a School District 9

The Importance of Focusing on the "Big Picture" 9

Jockeying for Position 13

The Windowpane Model: A Tool for Analyzing and Understanding Constituent Perspectives 14

The Superintendent as Community Liaison 18

Develop a Key Communicators List 19

The Changing Role of the Superintendency 21

Navigating the Changing Landscape 22

Successful School Change 23

Hills to "Die On" 23

Successful Communicator 26

Summary 29

2 The Superintendent-School Board Relationship: A Cornerstone of Your Success 31

About This Chapter 32

Managing the Superintendent-Board Relationship 32

The Importance of Equal Treatment 33

The "Inner Circle" 34

Addressing Individual Board Member Requests 34

When Is Equal Treatment Unequal? 36

Superintendent-Board Chair/President Interaction 37

Establishing Superintendent-Board Chair/President Interaction Norms 38

Keeping the Chair/President Relationship Productive 39

The Basics of Board Communication 40

Successful Communication: Form and Frequency 45

Forms of Communication 45

A Special Note About E-Mail Communication 45

Frequency of Communication 48

Establishing Effective Superintendent-Board Chair/President Communication 48

Emergency Communication Standards 50

Maintenance of Your Communication Plan With the Board 52

Board Standards and Operating Protocols 52

Who Has Authority for What: The Board and Superintendent as a Team56

Summary 57

3 Organizational Trust and Culture: What Every Superintendent Should Know 59

About This Chapter 60

Organizational Culture 60

Rapport, Trust, Climate, and Their Relation to Culture 63

The Importance of Trust 63

Building and Sustaining Organizational Trust 65

Organizational Culture: The Gatekeeper of Excellence 68

Properties of School Districts as Organizations 69

The Complexity of Organizations 69

Organizations Are Surprising 70

Organizations Are Deceptive 70

Organizations Are Like Organisms 71

Trust and Excellence in Employee Group/Union Relationships 72

Summary 74

4 School Finance 101: What Should the Superintendent Know? 75

About This Chapter 76

Staying Afloat: Four Key Financial Reports 76

Enrollment Reports 77

Monthly Enrollment Reports 77

Annual Enrollment Projections 80

Expenditure Reports 81

Key Components and Their Location in the Budget Report 82

Current Budget 82

Current Month's Expenditures 83

Previous Year's Budget Data 83

Amount of Money Left in the Current Budget 83

Revenue Reports 84

Staffing Plans/Position Control Systems 85

Long-Range Financial Projection: Your Own Crystal Ball 86

The Importance of Long-Range Projection 86

Understanding the School District's Financial Audit 87

Summary 91

5 How to Implement New Ideas in Your Initial Years as Superintendent 93

About This Chapter 94

The Change Process 96

The Honeymoon Period 97

Transitions and the Change Process 99

Levers of Change 99

Frames of Reference Related to the Change Process 105

Strategies to Consider When Dealing With Resistance 108

Facilitating/Guiding Groups Through Change 108

Putting It Behind Us 108

Learning Walk 109

Implementation Blocking 110

Summary 111

6 Supervising Principals and Directors: Strategies for Success 113

About This Chapter 113

Supervision of Executive-Level Administrators and Principals 114

Getting the Most From Your Staff Members 120

Supervision Strategies for Directors and Department/Divisional Administrators 121

Evaluating Department Heads, Assistant Superintendents, and Directors 125

Goal Setting 129

Summary 132

7 What About the Students? Instructional Leadership and Dealing With Federal Programs 133

About This Chapter 133

Instructional Leadership 134

No Child Left Behind Act 139

Special Education 141

Summary 143

8 Dealing With Difficult People and Situations 145

About This Chapter 145

What's Behind All of This Negative Behavior? 146

Frames of Reference 146

Negative Reinforcement 149

Understanding the Perspectives of Others 151

Types of Conflict 154

Substantive (Cognitive) Conflict 154

Affective (Personality-Based) Conflict 154

Skills for Dealing With Difficult People 155

Temporary Suspension of Opinion 155

Framing 158

Reflecting Skills 160

Implementation Blocking 161

Shifting Energy Focus 161

Design and Implement Positive Problem-Solving Processes 163

Mediating Conflict 164

Working Positively With the Press 164

Summary 166

9 Getting the Word Out: Effective Communication Strategies 169

About This Chapter 169

The Power of Effective Communication 170

Sticky Note Ripple Effects 174

Managing Information Flow in Your Office and in the District 181

Establishing a Board Communication Process 182

Superintendent to Board 183

Board to Community 187

Community to Board 187

Board to Superintendent 189

Handling Private and Public Data 190

Summary 191

10 It's July, Now What? 193

About This Chapter 193

The Importance of an Entry Plan: Successfully Navigating Your First Ninety Days on the Job 194

Opening Day With Staff 198

Selecting a Mentor 200

Key Components for Successful Mentor-Mentee Relationships 200

Sample Calendar of Monthly Events/Activities 203

Summary 207

Key Points From Each Chapter 209

References 215

Index 217

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