AASA New Superintendents E-Journal

April 2011

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“Some Advice for My Friends”
Dr. Barry Newbold, Superintendent (Ret.)
Jordan School District (Utah)

Writing of a early meeting Dr. Newbold attended soon after being appointed superintendent in the spring of 1996, he recalls, “One of the items in my file from that meeting, is a picture of John Wayne; rugged looking, unshaven, wearing an old, well-worn cowboy hat. He has sun-parched skin and a look of determination and resolve on his face. The caption below the picture reads, “There were a helluva lot of things they didn’t tell me when I hired on with this outfit.” Wow! I didn’t realize how true those words would become! What began as something that made me chuckle out loud at first, soon became prophetic.”

Based on his 14 years as a superintendent, Dr. Newbold offers an engagingly written essay filled with sound advice and tidbits of information for new superintendents about the truths that will lead to their success.

We each hope to learn something of value from those who have “walked the road” ahead of us. One of my first meetings, as a newly appointed superintendent in the spring of 1996, was with the collective group of Utah superintendents - about 40 in number. Unfamiliar to me, it was a “farewell” meeting for those individuals who had chosen to retire at the end of the school year. There appeared to be a ritual of sorts that the retiring superintendents would share their wisdom and advice with the newcomers. I was one of several optimistic, energetic, inwardly frightened-to-death newcomers, so I paid very close attention.

A few of the retiring superintendents distributed handouts. Most made light-hearted comments, made jokes, and ultimately shared some real down-to-earth advice. I kept a file on what was said and referred to it more frequently over the years than I had anticipated.