Under the No Child Left Behind Act, many districts were not able to reach expected student test score goals. The State Department of Education (DOE) sponsored teams comprised of representatives from the DOE, State School Boards’ Association and the State Association of School Administrators (SASA) to assist district boards and leaders to improve governance and leadership functions in order to improve school and student performance. LeadershipEnergies (LE) was selected by State ASA for team membership.
Industry: Education PK-12 Districts and Schools
Project Type: Coaching School Boards and Interim Superintendents
Many urban school boards by the end of first decade of the 21st century experienced major political, social, economic, and education conflicts from the convergence of several negative performance trends. State funding reductions, low student test scores, elimination of programs and services, lack of district superintendent and central office leadership stability, public dissatisfaction, and board meeting turmoil were symptoms of the lack of purpose and direction needed to establish good practice and to improve results. Apple Park and Queen City schools were impacted by these and other forces.
LeadershipEnergies (LE) joined a state department of education initiative to provide business office support services, governance training and support, and leadership coaching to the school boards, interim superintendents, and central office employees in both school districts. LE met frequently with one interim superintendent (IS) with no district level experience, and with one school board to establish the interview process with community participation and to develop criteria to select a permanent superintendent. LE helped the Interims prepare for board meetings, develop budgets, and use financial and personnel reports to support recommendations to the board.
LE provided instruction and direction to the board and interim superintendent efforts to integrate governance, leadership, personnel, and business office functions and responsibilities to help the boards and leaders make appropriate decisions.
In one district, the inexperienced Interim Superintendent completed the school year and oversaw the district until the board made a permanent appointment. This interim supt., a former principal, earned the certificate for the position of Superintendent of Schools and after serving in central office administrative positions, became the superintendent in a different district. Board behaviors and board meetings remained contentious for a couple of years and the DOE continued appointment of the Business Administrator.
In the other school district, one interim superintendent resigned and another was appointed. During this time period, the board reduced internal strife and collectively and effectively selected a permanent superintendent who was well accepted by employees and members of the community. At one point, representatives of the DOE and LE were invited to a board/community reception honoring the superintendent for early accomplishments.
“We thank LeadershipEnergies for coordinating the services received by these districts. Both districts have more stable leadership and board and leaders are working in more effective ways.”
—Mr. Jerry Weldon, former Director of Professional Development, State Association of School Administrators (SASA)
*The case study is real and positions of personnel are accurate. Names of districts, schools, and personnel have been changed.