My (former) school district recently hired a new superintendent, and I was able to sit down and chat with him. I think he is just what the district needs and I am really excited for what he will bring to the table. We talked about the following:
- Where Dr. Briscoe got his start in education and in administration
- His diverse experience as a leader of schools that were from incredibly high-achieving to greatly struggling.
- Engaging in the community by being involved in community issues (building new police station, hospital, etc.)
- The political struggles that lead Dr. Briscoe to retirement from his school district.
- Why he felt like Canyons School District was a good match for him.
- Why it is so important to be out and about and seen.
- How to build trust. Time.
- What happened in the past, is in the past. Let’s not worry about it.
- The culture he wants to create: Trust & Collaboration.
- Honoring the past.
- How he measures the success of his superintendency, not to be confused with his job description.
- Why that measure of success is so important.
- The strengths of Canyons school district.
- The importance of the involvement of families.
- We should try to do what we are doing even better. Teacher and principal input needs to be truly valued.
- Making sure everyone in the organization feels valued.
- Honoring the past before you build for the future.
- Principal qualities Dr. Briscoe is looking for: having a vision compared to implementing a vision. Humility. Accessible and visible. Patience. Admit mistakes. Regardless of the other person’s opinion, you need to respect the person and take their opinion or concern seriously.
- Focus on the vision and goal of your school, just take the time to meet with people and explain your rationale.
- Most of the time, if you explain what you’re thinking, the people who disagree are OK with your decision, even if they don’t agree with it.
- Don’t ask people for their input if you have already made your decision.
- How to deal with taking the hits: exercise, without your health, you can’t do anything.
- The importance of being recognizable. Walk up and introduce yourself to people out and about, and ask them if they have school-age kids.
- A school leader is a leader in the community. You must get out and meet with local clubs and groups.
- The benefit of being from a small district and being involved in every department in the district.
- How to be a transformative principal: Take a risk!
- What is in his office to keep him motivated? A poster that says, “If you don’t climb the mountain, you can’t enjoy the view.”