A Few Thoughts from Dr. Brian E. McCraw, Ed.D. on Educational Philosophy and Design.
Every school leader has essential components that make up his or her philosophy on how they perform their job and why they do the things they do. The following excerpts from a larger narrative I wrote several years ago detail a few things that I feel are important and are only some of the essential ideologies of what I believe makes a great superintendent and leader.
Each school district in the State of Texas has Board policies and expectations that everyone must follow. The superintendent is the “CEO” of the district and is charged with carrying out the policies of the Board. This is done with transparency, communication, and recommendations made by the superintendent as policies and procedures are managed on a daily basis. Part of this leadership responsibility also involves having a vision of growth and development in all areas of the school district. This includes the fiscal management of the budget, physical plant management, the recruitment and retention of highly qualified personnel, and understanding the desires and expectations of the local community. The key ingredient for the success of any superintendent lies within the scope and sequence of the success of the local school. This is measured in many areas, with the most important part being the success of students. If your students are meeting and exceeding expectations, then success will always follow that school and the school leader everywhere they go.
The superintendent should remain 100% transparent when making a financial decision for the district. As the superintendent reports on the various expenditures and money-based decisions being made month to month during formal board meetings, he/she should always understand what the budget is and what it is not: money that belongs to the taxpayers and ultimately the students and not a personal account to do what he/she pleases. I would communicate and speak to the board president on a daily basis when discussing financial matters that will impact the district as a whole. The little things are not needed to be discussed all the time, but the superintendent must be very vocal with the board when financial matters come into play. I would be certain to involve the board members in all financial decisions as required by board policy and board expectations. Managing a budget, even one that is as complicated as a school budget is simple if done correctly. Do not overspend, manage your money like a teacher would manage their own limited resources, and always consult with the board when in doubt about a significant purchase.
The superintendent is the CEO of the district and manages the relationship with the community by building trust with the elected school officials. The community establishes very clear expectations of their school and the person who is in charge of it. As the superintendent, matters that affect children should always be made known to the community through various forms of communication including the district website, social media pages, and even through local newspapers. Stakeholders should never be left in the dark when it comes to their child’s education. Being open, honest, and available to all community members is one of the most important jobs a superintendent has in front of them. I may not make everyone happy, but I will always make the best decision I can based on what is best for kids. Chances are if you don’t make some people angry or upset, you are probably not doing your job very well.