According to reports confirmed by members of the Board of Education Coventry Superintendent of Schools has announced she will be leaving Coventry this summer. There is always a little angst when the Superintendent of School informs the Board of Education that indeed it is time for a change. In this land of steady habits making a fundamental change in educational leadership is a time for careful consideration. Since we are now at that time the conversation should be about the future.
There are basic qualifications for any School Superintendent and then there are the intangibles, the raw human qualities of the inner being that drive each of us to perform the way we do. It is the personal qualities that rise above the expected strong educational background and experience of any individual interviewed for School Superintendent that becomes so important.
A superintendent must not only possess impeccable individual qualities they must also be an astute listener with exceptional communication skills. It is not enough for a School Superintendent to be a good administrator they must be a visionary with flair of creativity. Understanding the culture, diversity and needs of a community is only part of the equation for a Superintendent of Schools they must have the ability and willingness to work within the norm of the community.
Every human being has limitations and so too will our new Superintendent. However it is the responsibility of those interviewing and hiring the Superintendent to recognize those limitations and to understand how it will relate to the job. It is the Superintendent’s responsibility to recognize the limitations of the community and to be able to work within those limitations. Every school district has financial limitations, every parent has expectations and every student has potential they must be melded together to provide the best school district possible.
In recent conversations among parents in Coventry there is a high concern about youth activity both positive and negative. Parents have started a grassroots effort to establish a youth program in town and perhaps a youth center. Many of those same parents have expressed anguish about drug activity and the expression of negative energy by some of our youth in violent or bullying behavior. Some of that activity is happening in our schools and the next Superintendent will be expected to express a strong position and philosophy on these matters. The subject of personal responsibility, discipline and behavior modification within our schools should be a topic of conversation at this time, it can not wait.
This is a time that offers Coventry a change and a new opportunity. Each new Superintendent brings new bricks to build on the foundation left behind by those that went before them. While Coventry is changing superintendents it should also be considering the long term impact of management style, financial understanding, staff supervision and most importantly the students of Coventry.
Dr. Bernard has been an able leader moving the Coventry School District forward and all the best is hoped for her as she leaves the district. Dr. Bernard’s commitment to Coventry was only matched by her commitment to family and they are all wished well as they move forward. No doubt there will be moments of reflection and times to thank her before she leaves but it can be said that Coventry is a better place because of her service and contribution.
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