Dear New Superintendents,

As you are now just over a month on the job, I’m sure you’re feeling stressed, overwhelmed and there are days you are questioning why you decided to become a superintendent this’re not alone.  Our most seasoned, successful veteran superintendents are feeling the same way.  You’ve heard it before, and you’ll hear it again- you’re not alone in this work.  You must be intentional about reaching out to others for help- no one can do this job solo in a “normal” year.  Asking for help or asking for someone to listen to what you’re going through is a STRENGTH, not a weakness.

Here are some questions for reflection:
  • Who is your network of other superintendents?
  • Have you reached out personally to your IASA Field Services Director to check in?
  • Are you taking care of yourself physically, mentally and emotionally?
  • What are you doing to manage the stress of the job?

As you think about that, here is one tip that I think you need to know sooner rather than later.  Communication is everything.  EVERYTHING.

“In the absence of communication, negativity will take over.”

It’s that simple.  Think about it in your personal and professional life.  I’ve watched many leaders THINK that they were effectively communicating...and at the end of the day, they were the only person in the room who actually thought that.  

Here are some quick tips for reflection:
  • How often are you communicating with your Board?  
Have you flat out asked the Board, “Are you satisfied with my communication so far, or do I need to make any adjustments?”  
ASK THIS.  Never assume.
  • How often are you communicating with your staff?  
Ask the Union leadership, “How is my communication so far to the staff?  Do you have any feedback for me so far?”  
Making great relationships with your Union leadership early in your superintendency is a MUST.  
  • How are you communicating with parents?  
There is NO such thing as overcommunicating - especially right now.  
Are you reaching out regularly to your families?  What is the satisfaction level in your district as you are reopening schools? 

Building a solid relationship is grounded in the skilled art of communication.  You can have the best motto, the best strategic plan, the best resources, the best instructional plans, the best everything- but if you don’t communicate clearly, effectively and often, none of that will matter.

I’m thinking of each of you as you manage these hectic times. Know that you are in the right place at the right time for your communities- they need you more than ever!  Reach out to me, your respective Field Services Directors, or any IASA staff if you need anything!  

You’ve got this.

Stay safe, and stay strong!