The June 2012 School Administrator magazine includes a chart and article on school superintendents’ political leanings. According to the chart, 55.3 percent of the nation’s superintendents describe their politics as moderate; 30 percent are conservative; and 14.6 are liberal, with the remaining 0.1 percent falling under the “other” category.
I did not ask Santa Fe Public Schools’ new superintendent, Joel Boyd, what his political ideology is, but over the course of a few days of discussions and interviews last week, I asked him a number of questions regarding his 100-day entry plan, social promotion/retention, the A-F grading system and so on. Here’s a selection of quotes from those talks:
On the work of educators: “This work is not about tests. … It is about making good teachers happen in every classroom every day.”
On A-F grades: “The idea is right on target. … The concern with the system is that people don’t understand what leads to those grades. The challenge before the state is helping people to easily understand what leads to an A or to an F. Right now, there is a lot of gray area there.”
Where he hopes to be at the end of his 100-day entry plan: “I intend to be up and running as if I have been here for a much longer time.”
On social promotion/retention: “Retention is a good move for some children, but you have to know the child. There are significant consequences for youngsters if you retain them without individual intervention — all we’ve done in some cases is retain them, and now they are a year older in the same grade.”
Of the demands of his job in relation to what he expects of his teachers, principals and staff: “If they do their job well, my job is easy.”
On the future of Santa Fe Public Schools: “I do believe we can be the best school district in the state.”
In response to a Santa Fe Public Schools’ staffer who asked Boyd how he intends to deal with the district’s teachers union and the sometimes contentious collective bargaining agreement between the district and union personnel: “It’s not just one party’s fault. We have to reflect on what we bring to the table and see the faults and challenges in ourselves first.” Teachers, Boyd said, “are not in it for the paycheck. They want what is right for kids.”
On his expectation of the school board: “The relationship between a superintendent and a school board is key to the superintendent’s success, and maintaining a positive relationship there is the key to sustaining positive results for the district.”
On whether he expects to still have enthusiasm and passion for the job in a year: “I am as I come. I only know one way to be. I speak with the passion that is me. It’s not fabricated. It’s not orchestrated. I would say it is a personal expectation that I will carry this passion with me throughout my entire career.”
Incidentally, at last week’s administrators’ retreat for district personnel, Boyd made a point of praising Wood Gormley Elementary School in Santa Fe for earning the highest ranking in the state (92.4 percent) in the recent A-F school grading system. So here’s a belated congratulations to Wood Gormley’s staff and students — great job, all.
Pecos Independent School District Superintendent Fred Trujillo informed me that he is inviting Gov. Susana Martinez and Secretary of Public Education-designate Hanna Skandera to a late August celebration of the district’s recently updated and upgraded grades. Pecos Elementary School and Pecos High School both earned B’s this time around. Pecos Middle School netted a C but was, as Trujillo points out, just a half-point away from garnering a B. Back in January, when the state released preliminary grades, Pecos Middle School got a D, and Pecos High School got a C. The elementary school received a B then, as well. Congrats, Pecos staffers, students and superintendent.