I've spent my whole life in education.
It has been my honor to serve as superintendent in the following districts:
Cordova, Alaska | 2001 to 2007
Eastern Sierra Unified, California | 2007 - present
I have been a superintendent for the past 12 years in two of the most beautiful place in the world. In 2001 I was promoted from principal to superintendent by the Cordova, Alaska School Board. Then in 2007 I was hired by the Eastern Sierra Unified School District Board. Both of these locations have very highly qualified staff and supportive parents. As a result, we have been able to demonstrate outstanding student achievement in both locations.
While both of these assignments are unique in their locations, demographics, and challenges there are a lot of similarities to both of them too. They are both rural and small. However, I believe that the things that I have learned in my tenure as a superintendent apply equally well to all size schools no matter where they are located.
I believe in all school settings it is paramount to remember that everything is local and the school is the center of our communities. Therefore, communication is critical to the success of any school leader. Keeping our school communities well informed about what is happening at our sites is critical to our success.
Additionally, school communities require a collaborative approach to be effective schools. Everyone wants to be included in the decision making process. This is something that I’ve always tried to make sure we do as important decisions are being contemplated. Building this type of grassroots support before a decisions is reached makes the implementation of programs far more likely to be successful than they otherwise would be.
Finally, above all else, a school leader needs to be above reproach in all areas. I’ve faced many challenges in my career. It’s during these rough times that having demonstrated integrity pays huge dividends. A person’s true character is revealed in tough times. Like so many other school leaders, I have faced numerous challenges and personal attacks, but I have always been able to keep my focus on what is best for kids. It is this unwavering personal emphasis that I am most proud of in my career.
My wife, Erika, and I have been married for 25 years. We have been blessed to have three outstanding sons: Jay, Cody and Matthew. Having a close knit family has always been our highest priority. Now that the boys are all adults we are fortunate that they chose to do a lot of fun things with us. Erika and I are looking forward to this next chapter in our family life as all of the boys will be out in the world and we get to witness the fruits of our labor of raising wonderful kids.