Hello Goochland Blog World!
I am so honored to have been selected as the new superintendent in Goochland and cannot wait to begin our work together on December 12. I have shared with many people that I consider this my dream job and have literally wanted to be in Goochland since I came to Virginia in 2006. I cannot thank the school board enough for this opportunity and I also want to thank everyone for making this transition so welcoming.
The school board and I have worked out an aggressive plan for my transition that includes nearly 50 activities between the time I was announced and the time I begin. Details of the transition plan can be found here. We plan to add many other events in the meantime, including site visits to each school and hopefully faculty meetings with each staff so that I can introduce myself personally. I have just sent an email to principals requesting dates and I hope to visit each staff before I begin in December. If nothing else, I promise to visit as soon as possible! Additionally, we are already working to schedule other community engagement sessions as we hope to build strong partnerships with parents, businesses, and citizens.
What Changes Are You Planning?
I have really enjoyed my meetings thus far with the leadership team and with the community in the Town Hall series. I have learned so much about the school division and am eager to get our work started. One of the questions that I have gotten at every meeting is: what are you going to change when you come on board? You will not ever hear me talk about changes or a need for change. I think great leadership starts with listening and learning. My transition and entry plan is focused on getting to know this school division community first. I am calling my plan a “listening tour.” Ultimately, I want to learn what the great processes are in Goochland that make this school system so special. My first goal is to preserve those workings to ensure our continued greatness, but through our collaborative discussions and planning efforts, I want to work together to find ways that we can enhance our school experience for all children. At the end of the day, I want world-class schools for every child in Goochland!!!
What Are Some Specific Areas of Focus Immediately Upon Arrival?
The school board has asked me to focus on three major projects as soon as I begin:
First and foremost, as suggested above is to take significant time to get to know every stakeholder group in the school community. In addition to a schedule that is to be packed with meetings with our local civic leaders, community agencies, county government, parents, teachers, students, and central office leadership, I will continue to maintain a true open door policy. If I am not already meeting with another stakeholder, you can rest assured that I will be available to meet to discuss concerns (and commendations) at any time. My cell phone and email are always open lines of communication and I will respond to all inquiries as soon as possible.
Second, the superintendent’s proposed budget is planned in the budget calendar for proposal 6 days after I begin. For this reason, many of my planning sessions prior to my start date will be focused on budget. We will have a transparent, efficient, and focused budget process based on the school board’s priorities. Along with the budget process, we will discuss facilities and capital improvements to be certain that our plan reflects our needs moving forward. We are already in the process of implementing a new software package for generating our budget that will give the school board and school division leadership an even greater opportunity to analyze revenues, expenditures, and projections.
Third, the school division’s strategic plan is due for revision. As soon as we complete the budget process, we will launch an extensive effort to garner feedback to ensure that we have a plan for the next five years that is a shared vision throughout our faculty, staff, and community.
Who Are You?
I wanted to take a few moments in this post to introduce myself and share some of the smart work I think we have been doing to prepare for my transition in December. Many of the details about my background in education were shared in a press release from the school board here.
Beyond those details, I have a wonderful family and we have lived in the Richmond area since 2006. My wife (Sarah) and I have a three-year old son (Charlie), a little girl on the way, and a rambunctious Boxer-Lab named Marley. We will be moving to Goochland County within the next few months and cannot wait to meet everyone.
Sarah and Charlie
Please don’t hesitate to contact me at any time with any questions and I look forward to making our schools the best in the world!