The 2016-2017 school year has 2 ½ months left before we bid students farewell for the summer. This ending also marks the closing of my first year as superintendent. This ending is special for me because it will allow me to check off the accomplishment of a childhood dream. It is hard for me to pinpoint what year in school I was when this dream entered my thoughts; however, I remember well dreaming about growing up and being like my father. My father was a school superintendent that inspired me to go into education with the hope of following in his footsteps as an educational leader. I believe it was his passion for doing what he felt was best for the students and his staff that caught my attention and caused me to want to be like him.
Last year around this time I called my dad and asked him one question. My question was this: dad, if you had your career to do over again would you follow the same path even though your superintendent career ended on a sour note? He responded, “in a heartbeat son”. His response was the final push I needed to pursue the opening that the Oakes School had for a superintendent.
I tease my father by calling him superintendent Steinhoff generation 1 and that I’m having to settle for being number 2. Ironically, we both started our first superintendent positions at the age of 34. It is great to be able to talk to my father about the successes and challenges of being the leader of a school district. The interesting part is that when we talk about his experiences, he has never said anything such as:
- Do you know that in 1992 the enrollment of the Northwestern School was 375 students?
- Did you know that the foundation aid payment went up 5% in 1988?
- Our bus fleet didn’t include any buses with more than 200,000 miles.
- We built a new elementary school in 1992.
Here are some of the comments that I do hear from my dad as we discuss education.
- “It warms the heart when former students see me and say that I made a difference in their life.”
- “You will never go wrong if your decisions are based on what is best for the students even if it isn’t the most popular decision.”
- “Some day you’ll look back on your career and wonder why you allowed yourself to get worked up over the small stuff.”
- “Have an auspicious day!”…….yep I stole that line from superintendent Steinhoff generation 1.
Yes my dream has come true; however, I have a long way to go to live up to being the same kind of superintendent I aspired to be long ago. I know that our students at OPS have role models that they look up to and dream about becoming just like them when they grow up. You never know, that someone they are aspiring to be could be you!
“To the world you may be one person but to one person you may be the world” Bill Wilson