It raises the need for both written and verbal communication skills to reach an optimum level that can persuade and cajole.
It is believed by many experts that this economic role will become more important in future years and that in order to achieve the status of superintendent, a candidate will have to display some experience or education in that field to ensure board members that he or she is capable of representing the district well (Thomas, 2002).
With Administrators, Staff and Teachers
School superintendents face a new level of issues when dealing with these three groups of employees, and it is very important how the man or woman in that position communicates layoffs, curriculum changes, school closures, firings, or an order to re-apply for their jobs, as has been done now in a significant number of districts around the country.
One of the superintendent's first priorities is to get out of the office and meet with his or her school principals on an individual basis based on a regular schedule of seeing them. Just like board members, he wants their support, and he needs to give them his. It is also the ideal way to know first-hand what is going on in his district and to keep a regular finger on the pulse of issues and problems. As well, he needs to keep them up to speed on current issues before they read it in the newspaper. he/she needs to ask for their input and opinions to make them feel a part of the decision-making process that will ultimately affect them (Hopper, 2005).
In this modern age, a superintendent needs to be computer literate and utilize the tools he has to keep in touch with his principals and other administrators through email, blackberry, twitter, cell phone, and any other media she can find. Whatever it takes can be helpful, particularly if he runs a large district and has trouble getting around for a face-to-face with everyone on a regular basis. These days, there's no excuse.
Besides his school board, principals, and administrators, he also needs to keep in touch with his own staff. They are the ones who make things happen on a day-to-day basis at district headquarters. Without them, he is lost.
A presence at their staff and departmental meetings and just being visible to them instead of behind a closed door in his office, is priceless to them, and to him. An often forgotten art is praising them in public. Talk about an effective form of communication. It will make a middle level or support level employee feel like a million bucks and you win her support for a long time.
Unfortunately, in many districts (and everywhere else in the world) that has become less frequently done than telling employees what they have done wrong (Hopper, 2005).
Finally, he or she needs to be easy to get along with and positive with his people. They look to him for inspiration and leadership. But he needs to be careful not to become their pal.
Board perceptions. (2007, December). Retrieved May 28, 2009, from School Administrator Journal - GALE database (A172251160): .
Glass, T.E., Bjork, L., & Brunner, C. (2000). A study of the American school superintendency. Retrieved May 28, 2009, from eric.ed.gov (ED440475): http://eric.ed.gov/ERICDocs/data/ericdocs2sql/content_storage_01/0000019b/80/16/2d/e9.pdf
Hopper, J. (2005, December). Communication essentials: What superintendents need to know and want to share about communicating. Retrieved May 28, 2009, from Michigan edusource: http://126.96.36.199/search?q=cache:PvTiyj6oFJsJ:www.michiganedusource.org/PublicRelations/Supt_Communication_Essentials.doc+school+superintendents+communication+methods&cd=11&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us
McAdams, D.R. (2009, February). Top 10 'guarantees' for a great relationship. Retrieved May 28, 2009, from EBSCO data base (AN 36326105): http://ezproxy.ppld.org:2054/ehost/detail?vid=2&hid=9&sid=99164b10-d3d2-43 AD-b5be-a37ac1448272%40sessionmgr7&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ%3d%3d#db=tfh&AN=36326105
Thomas, C. (2002, April 10). The role of the public school superintendent in local economic development. Retrieved May 28, 2009, from Virginia Polytechnic Institute: http://scholar.lib.vt.edu/theses/available/etd-04222002-211842/unrestricted/ThomasCheryl.PDF