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Achieving Success for New and Aspiring Superintendents


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Table of Contents

Foreword Preface Acknowledgements About the Authors 1. Becoming a Superintendent Getting Ready The Application Process Interviews Site Visits The Final Step: Your Contract Summary 2. Transitioning to Your New District Managing Your Transition Addressing Personal Issues Summary 3. Getting Started: Organizing to Lead Scheduling for Success Other Responsibilities Summary 4. Moving the District Forward Decision Making Mastering the Budget Improving Teaching and Learning Goal Setting and Evaluation Summary 5. Completing Year One, Planning Year Two: A Continuous Cycle Determining Your Legacy Goals Planning the Final Six Months of the School Year Summary 6. Working With a School Board The Basics Communicating With the Board Board Meetings Summary 7. Working With Employee Groups Establish Relationships An Overview of Collective Bargaining Issues Influencing Collective Bargaining Summary 8. Negotiating Agreements Getting Started Organizing Negotiations At the Table Settling Compensation Ratification and Next Steps Summary 9. Communicating: Enhanced Decisions Communicating With Parents and the Public Working With the Media Communicating With Staff and Students Final Considerations Summary 10. Looking Ahead The Challenges Summary Final Thoughts Resources Index

About the Author

Mary Frances Callan recently retired after serving the last fourteen years of her career as superintendent of schools in Milpitas, Pleasanton and Palo Alto, California. She now coaches aspiring and new superintendents, assists with superintendent searches, and is co-developing a curriculum to train aspiring and new superintendents. Earlier in her career she was a teacher, counselor, and administrator in a number of states as well as overseas. Callan also serves on boards including the school board of ICA Cristo Rey, the Board of Regents of Santa Clara University, and the Keenan Health Advisory Board. Among other writings, she has co-authored publications including two handbooks for Phi Delta Kappa's Exemplary Practices Series, Staff Development and Organization Development, and a book published by McGraw Hill, Containing the Health Care Cost Spiral. William Levinson recently retired after serving twelve years as the superintendent of the Tamalpais Union High School District located in Marin County, California. Since retiring Levinson works with a national search firm and has conducted numerous superintendent searches. He provides coaching support to principals, aspiring and new superintendents, and nonprofit executive directors. He previously served eleven years as superintendent in three other California districts: Reed Union, Sonoma Valley and Lafayette. His earlier career included elementary teaching and principal positions in New York, New Jersey, and California. Levinson served as a Vista Volunteer in Florida where he founded an after-school language development program for migrant laborer children using college students as tutors. Throughout his long career Bill has presented workshops assisting teachers and administrators to further their careers.


"'Achieving Success' is a vital resource to ensure success as a superintendent. My copy has become a workbook filled with highlights, notes and worn pages as I frequently refer to it for planning, board relations, goal setting, and negotiations. It is the one resource I refer to for practical guidance." -- Bruce Burns, Superintendent
"I read and used 'Achieving Success' before I became superintendent, during my first year as superintendent, and as I continue to serve as superintendent. It is the practical guide and resource for understanding the wide array of responsibilities and nuances of the job." -- Bruce Burns, Superintendent
"As an experienced superintendent for more than 20 years, I am frequently asked for advice. I am thrilled that this book is available, as it is the perfect gift for aspiring superintendents! It is written in an engaging style, which provides clear guidelines on how to apply for the position and how to succeed once selected. -- Gail Anderson Uilkema, Retired Superintendent
"Mary Frances Callan and Bill Levinson have provided a great service to educators who aspire to become superintendents. Their book includes insightful information on how to become a superintendent and how to succeed in your first three years. This book is a must-read for superintendents interested in improving their leadership skills." -- Jeff Harding, Superintendent
"This book provides valuable information for aspiring and new superintendents. I wish this resource had been available when I was considering the superintendency." -- Marie Blum, Superintendent
"As a second-year superintendent, I found this book to be extremely helpful. It validated and reinforced the work of my first year, offering clear signposts to keep me moving toward desired outcomes while avoiding the myraid landmines. The chapters on getting organized, planning, and working with school boards were especially poignant and useful." -- Fred Brill, Superintendent and Instructor
"This is a great resource for aspiring and experienced superintendents. There are many practical ideas educational leaders can use immediately to become more effective." -- Fred Mahary, Superintendent
"Achieving Success reminds new and aspiring superintendents about the complexities of the job and affords concrete strategies to proactively address them-a nice overview to start with and reference to check in on over time." -- Peter Dillon, Superintendent
"This is a practical guide for those at the beginning of superintendency, written by veteran superintendents who are, astute, introspective and reflective. I applaud these authors for sharing experiences, wisdom and special insights with anyone contemplating one of the toughest jobs in America." -- Perry Berkowitz, Coordinator of Educational Leadership Programs
"The authors have created an excellent resource, providing an overview of the most critical aspects one will encounter during the first three years in the job. The book is a collection of practical ideas written in an engaging style." -- George Manthey, Assistant Executive Director
"Throughout the book, the authors illustrate the complexities of the job and offer strategies in areas such as budgeting and conducting negotiations; communicating effectively with staff, the board, unions and the media; and honing leadership and organizational skills." -- Courtney Williams

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