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Letters Page 4
Magic Expected So much of what Annette Giaquinto wrote about her first year as a superintendent (“Where Do I Find the ‘Pixie Dust’?” November 2011) resonated with me as someone selected internally as the successor and then promptly told it could be a curse because of big, impending budget cuts.
It was indeed tough. I, too, know what it is like to have your integrity questioned through circumstances not of your own doing, and I know how emotions run high in the face of personnel reductions. It can be a lonely position.
The trust Giaquinto earned will continue to carry her a long way. I feel stronger as a result of enduring what we did in regard to our school district budget a year ago and am more self-assured than ever.
JOHN SKRETTASuperintendent,Norris School District,Firth, Neb.
I want to thank Annette Giaquinto for sharing her experiences as a rookie superintendent. It resonates strongly with the situation I am in after a few months as a new superintendent.
I was hired as an internal candidate from my role as an assistant superintendent in the district. Similar to the author, I did not replace my assistant position, as well. People expect a magic wand, but instead I have worked to set high expectations and help people meet those standards.
I have been working to be highly visible in each classroom and throughout the school district. It is great to hear about another new superintendent’s situations that are so similar.
RON VELDMANSuperintendent,Coopersville Area Public Schools,Coopersville, Mich.
A Leadership TaleI stumbled across Patricia Neudecker’s “The Mouse and the Camel: A Leadership Tale” (President’s Corner, September 2011) while looking at the AASA website for school districts I could contact about using PD 360 on-demand professional development. Neudecker’s message and story are inspiring and profound.
I admire the determination and passion that the author demonstrates to her staff as well as the community. I can see myself reflecting on this story as I go through my career but also using it in my own personal achievements.
MINDI HERZOGClient Implementation Specialist,School Improvement Network,Midvale, Utah.
House GroupingsI appreciated Henry Russell’s Focus article, “Creating Connections Through a House Formation” (November 2011), containing details about the house system’s positive effects on school climate.
While serving as principal of Chaminade College Preparatory School in St. Louis for 14 years, we brought in the house concept following an exchange with a school in Brisbane, Australia. It has now been in place for almost 10 years and has transformed the fabric of the school. Since that time, I’ve shared the model with several other private schools, including ones in Cincinnati and Hollywood, Fla., which implemented house systems.
Three years ago, I left private education to work at Parkway South High School. With almost 2,000 students, I can see how a house system could benefit our school. Unfortunately, it is a concept so daunting in terms of organizational change that it has not received any serious discussion.
JIM GERKERAssistant Principal,Parkway South High School,Manchester, Mo.
Letters should be addressed to:Editor, School Administrator,1615 Duke St., Alexandria, VA 22314Fax: 703-841-1543E-mail: email@example.com
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