Columnists

Our Schools Need Leadership

Dear Editor,

Now that Noblesville schools are on the hunt for both a superintendent and an associate superintendent, we find our community in a unique place to make giant strides to advance the education of our students. There are a number of qualities and values I’d like to see in an incoming superintendent and associate superintendent. Some I’m sure are universally agreed on and others might be of less importance to others. However, I do not believe it is a stretch to say that we all want both our students to succeed and our community to prosper. The first can and will undoubtedly lead to the latter.

It is almost cliché to state that we need leadership in the school administration that puts students first, but it cannot be overlooked either. I do not believe it is in the best interest to place someone in these positions who is only looking to further a career. However, it is important to find a duo who truly loves teaching and the community where they are working. Finding someone who wants the job out of a passion for it is more important than any resume item I can think of. In addition to that, I would like to see the school board, which selects the next superintendent and associate superintendent, not put much weight on the level of degree that those individuals have, but emphasizes the experience they bring to the table. With that, I mean that whether they have a master’s in education or a doctorate is not something that concerns me. I would rather see someone with experience at a successful school district where the students, parents, and teachers loved that person.

That experience should have developed both these individuals not only into leaders, but also as teammates working with each other. I’d also like to see leadership that not only works with the parents but wants to do so. I want to see them walk the halls so frequently, to see what is going on, that the kids all recognize them. This should not be a chore to them but a joy. After all, it is all about the kids, right? We don’t need someone who wishes to waste money on surveys and emphasis on theories and methodologies that do not place academics first. In recent months the school board has voted to have pipe fitting and firefighting classes at the high school. We need leadership brought into the schools to keep emphasizing that trades are a good skill to have and a plausible career for many. Culture has influenced the lives of our students, regardless of where their ancestry hails from. That point is important, however, education should be seen first through the eyes of academics, not ethnicity. With falling test scores over the past several years, beginning before the lockdowns, we need a child-centered and academic-inspired superintendent and associate superintendent.

A superintendent and associate superintendent who implements the policies the board makes while being completely transparent with the parents is what is best for our kids. Parents play a vital role and should be a part of the education of their kids. So actual transparency and not just the words proclaiming openness is vital in our new leadership. The role of parents is so important to a child that I do not want any politics coming out of the superintendent’s office. No emphasis on statehouse happenings, medical advice, or referendums. Anything outside the realm of academic centered education does not belong in that office.

We can bring our test scores up, advance our academic excellence, and provide classes that teach students “future-ready skills” like trades with the proper leadership. I would ask our school board to think deeply about the experience, qualifications, and love of the job that each candidate the selection agency brings before them. I would hope we would also take input from a committee of school employees and parents to also help select the best candidates for our schools. Much like the survey sent out to determine the values the community wants in a superintendent. With great education in our community, we can bring the best people to the area and the whole community can prosper. It all begins with the schools. I implore the school board to set them up for greater success than we have seen before.

Tim Cortrecht, Noblesville