The School Administrator


May 2009 Number 5 Vol. 66Transition TalesSuperintendent entry, dismissals, spousal impact


  • The Context of Superintendent Entry

    by James H. Lytle

    Use the transition period to your advantage to learn what the real issues are in your new school district. It’s also a time for signaling how leadership will be exercised in your administration. The author, former superintendent in Trenton, N.J., is a professor at University of Pennsylvania.

    Similar Reading: When New, Get a Coach and Considering Relocation? Points To Ponder and Contract Negotiation as a Transition Process and Managing Your Arrival as the New Superintendent

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  • The Unintended Consequences of Reorganization

    by Jie Zeng

    The churning of a school system — restructured departments and offices, staffing changes, new initiatives — over several years takes a personal toll on the professional staff in the central office. The author formerly worked for the New York City Board of Education.

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  • Survival as the Superintendent’s Spouse

    by Mary Riley

    Through her own experiences, the author fingers an understated culprit for the turnstile movement of superintendents: the respect factor. It far outweighs other issues when superintendents and their families decide to stay or to leave a community.

    Similar Reading: The Place You Call Home and Muldoon and the Snow Day Call

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  • Lose Your Job, Then Sue The Board?

    by Betty Cox and Perry A. Zirkel

    The authors’ recent study of all published decisions in state and federal courts concerning superintendent termination led to a surprising finding: The decisions overwhelmingly favored school districts. They shed light on several superintendents’ intriguing cases.

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  • A Leadership Walk Across Gettyburg

    by Robert E. Millward

    School administrators find the Civil War battlefield an appropriate venue for fully appreciating the role of vision, mentoring and the power of words. The author, a professor at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, has organized leadership walks across Gettysburg for superintendents and principals for a decade.

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Federal Dateline

    AASA’s Top 10 Stimulus Questions by Noelle Ellerson

    More than 300 questions poured into AASA during a series of webinars for members about the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Here are answers to the most commonly asked.

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    Tech Leadership

    Opening Up Options for School Software by Jim Hirsch

    School systems across the United States are starting to investigate open source software as alternatives to existing proprietary solutions. Users are free to modify and redistribute the software in any way they wish.

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    Guest Columns

    As Retirement Approaches by Barbra A. Zakrajsek

    The author and her family have moved many times over four decades to pursue the next goal, the next job, the next promotion. Now nearing the end of her 20th year in the superintendency, she finds herself facing that moment in time when she will leap into the next chapter of life.

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    Do Unto Others: A Roadmap for Communicating Well by Beth S. McCullough

    Success in communication at the leadership level is as simple as abiding by the Golden Rule. The author directs communications for the Chatham County, N.C., district.

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    Complaints Can Improve Your Schools by Jan Borelli

    Inviting complaints from parents and public, acknowledging the problem, and then seeking answers in an expeditious manner not only improves practice but also builds loyalty and appreciation from the school systems we serve. And when parents are loyal and appreciative, says this veteran administrator, the things we can accomplish are simply awe-inspiring.

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    Comings and goings, along with a couple of recent deaths, in the ranks of school system leaders.

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    Board-Savvy Superintendent

    Using Meeting Agendas To Push Achievement by Nicholas D. Caruso Jr.

    Time spent on field trips, school busses or snow blowers is time off task for a board of education. The meeting agenda is the first place you can make a difference in improving student outcomes.

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    Limiting Liability for Lawyers’ Fees by Ryan L. Everhart

    In many situations, a quick settlement with the parents of students with disabilities is the right course of action, but there are times when a school district can apply strategies to limit its potential exposure to legal fees. The author represents school districts in Western New York.

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    President’s Corner

    The American Public School by Randall H. Collins

    No other institution in the United States so universally and profoundly affects its citizenry as the American public school. What other sector in our country accepts all children without exception?

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    Executive Perspective

    Retirement May Be Short-Lived Before the Bell Sounds by Daniel A. Domenech

    AASA’s chief has had some variation of the same conversation multiple times over the years with superintendent colleagues who’ve retired: How wonderful to be able to pack it in. Soon thereafter, they’re back looking for something to do. Restlessness has set in.

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    Her Jamaican Seeds Sprout Gloriously in Atlanta by Jay P. Goldman

    A Jamaican immigrant who courts her city’s corporate elite while retaining her passion for student connections has led to 2009 National Superintendent of the Year honors for Atlanta’s superintendent.

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