Morgan County’s new Assistant Superintendent for Teaching and Learning
Compiled by Kathryn Schiliro
Q: Tell me about your education background and how it relates to your new position of Assistant Superintendent for Teaching and Learning.
A: I am a 25-year veteran educator. All of those years have been in one school system, a very large school system not that far from here – DeKalb County. I've held just about every position that an educator can hold, from the school level to the district level. I started out as a classroom teacher and worked my way up through the administrative ranks. Along the way I was an elementary school counselor, an elementary instructional coordinator for the area of Language Arts, a director of leadership development as well as my most recent position, that of area assistant superintendent, where I supervised about 30 schools. They were all vertically aligned, a mixture of elementary, middle and high schools. As area assistant superintendent, I was responsible for all the operations and the instructional programs of those schools.
Q: What kinds of lessons did you glean from your previous experience in DeKalb County? What are some things you learned?
A: Some things I learned from my journey before coming to Morgan County: First of all, I've learned a lot, just through my 25 years in education, about building capacity for learning. Now, with so many things changing in education, the accountability levels have been raised at every level – for teachers, administrators, superintendents, school board members, parents. We all have a higher level of responsibility now. I've learned how to work with all stakeholder groups because no one can do it alone. I continue to be a student in that area because there's always many things to learn in that area – learning how to build capacity and work with all stakeholders; not being an island and not always looking at one side of the picture but trying to encompass everybody's point of view and looking at all factors when we're trying to reach goals and build consensus and just take students to the next level.
Q: What about this new position in Morgan County are you most excited about?
A: I'm most excited about the students that I've met in Morgan County. I see bright-eyed students who are ready to learn; I see students who are willing to learn. I'm just surrounded by stakeholders including teachers, parents, administrators who just want to teach, who just want to get down to the grassroots of how students learn. I see lots of innovation and creativity. I see lots of rigor in the classrooms and I see lots of people just working together for a common goal. And I'm excited about that.
Q: Are there any changes that you plan on affecting from your position of Assistant Superintendent for Teaching and Learning?
A: At this time it's way too early to suggest any changes. I've told Dr. Bennett and the principals, at this period I'm in a fact-finding mode. I'm trying to learn as much as I can so right now. I'm here to look and to listen. In fact, I caution everybody that it might be "20 Questions" because of my desire to learn as much as I can about Morgan County, about the school system. Everybody that I meet has something to share with me. I'm asking a lot of questions; I am looking everywhere I can – and by "looking" I mean reviewing data and reviewing reports, trying to learn about the systems in place and the procedures that are working in the school district and trying to get to know as many community people as I can and learn from what they want in Morgan County, how I can be a part of it and help.
I'm a worker. I'm ready to roll up my sleeves and go to work. I don't have a bag of tricks; i certainly don't have all the answers, but I'm a willing worker and I'm excited about sharing my experience with the good work that has already taken place here.
Printed in the November 3, 2011 edition