On August 17, two days before the start of the new school year, I held a meeting to introduce myself, share my vision and goals, and start a process of engagement with District families that will continue throughout the year. I want to thank all who attended on August 17, and I look forward to meeting many more of you in the weeks ahead.
During the August 17th meeting, I shared many personal stories — about my childhood growing up and performing in my father’s circus, which gave me confidence and a love for performing; about my experience as a young adult responsible for horses and other circus animals, which taught me patience and empathy; about my experience being bullied in middle school, and my understanding that students cannot learn if they are in any kind of distress; about playing soccer, meeting my wife, and discovering my love of education, teamwork, and public service at St. Mary’s College; and about my experience as a parent of two sons who are on the autism spectrum, which has taught me over and over again that a simple activity for one person may present an enormous challenge, and be a remarkable achievement, for someone else.
I am deeply honored to serve as Superintendent of the Piedmont schools. I have worked in this District in other roles for over 12 years, and I am very proud of the wonderful educational programs, the dedicated and innovative staff, and the numerous and varied opportunities for students. There are many challenges ahead — to keep our curriculum and instruction relevant, to adapt to new technologies, to continually enhance opportunities for students, and to better support the social and emotional needs of students, just to name a few — and I look forward to meeting these challenges through collaboration, teamwork and a spirit of service.
As I discussed on August 17, I have already asked the staff to address, during the first half of this school year, some important issues concerning social and emotional health of students. These issues include modifying the instructional calendar for the 2016-17 school year so that the first semester ends before Winter break, developing a testing calendar so no student has too many test or projects due on the same day, and changing the middle school bell schedule to allow students to sleep late at least one day each week. These are important and achievable ways to reduce student stress, and I’m eager to put these ideas into practice. I will report progress on these and other important initiatives each month in the Spotlight.
I welcome your questions and comments at any time, so please don’t hesitate to contact me at email@example.com.