By Karen Hatter
The last couple of weeks, I have thought quite a bit about Leadership—what it is and is not and the attributes and traits of those who lead successful organizations. As a school district, leadership at all levels is vital for the success of our students. The superintendent casts forth her/his vision, and district leaders, principals, faculty and staff work diligently to fulfill the charge.
A leadership assessment is based upon the premise that an organization’s leadership either encourages improvement or facilitates failure. For example, we know that the captain of a ship does not operate in isolation, but relies on his chief engineer and crew to chart the course. He, however, ultimately bears the responsibility of safely delivering his passengers to their destination. I’ve been asked, “Aren’t we all in this boat together?” And, to that question, I answer an emphatic, “Yes!” I fervently believe that every employee either takes from or adds value to, the quality of education that the Lincoln County School District provides its students. Nonetheless, it is the leaders that guide the ship. As we have witnessed with the recent cruise line tragedy off Italian shores, leadership decisions directly affect the final outcome.
The same principle applies in a local school system. While both the school and district leadership depend upon every employee, they assume the responsibility of skillfully guiding our children to the ultimate destination of college and career readiness.
However, there is another, equally important leader in every school district in Kentucky— the school board member. Representing the voice of the community, their vision and leadership set the county’s educational course. It is a position of both great authority and enormous responsibility; one requiring equal doses of both wisdom and courage— wisdom to insightfully evaluate complex issues and courage to do the right thing, even though at times it may not be popular or personally advantageous to do so. Currently, due to the resignation of Eddie Whittemore, the Lincoln County Board of Education has a vacancy. It is a vacancy requiring a conscientious and dedicated public servant. Who will answer the call?
It is the school board members who craft the organizational policies and procedures that guide superintendents, principals, and teachers every single day. Educators do not function in a vacuum. We depend upon community support and involvement to assist us each step of the way. It’s imperative that parents and community leaders serve on our governing bodies. Within the school, that body is the Site-Based Decision Making Council and in the district, it is the Local Board of Education.
In the upcoming weeks, The Interior Journal will run an advertisement announcing the vacant school board seat due to the resignation of Mr. Whittemore. I ask that a public servant step forward and selflessly serve the families and students in this unrepresented district.
Review the qualifications listed in the newspaper notice and pick up an application at the Lincoln County Board of Education. Consider joining the governing body that comprises our district’s leadership. If we are going to support and guide those manning the helm of each school, we need strong leadership from the governing crew. I encourage any qualifying citizen to consider this an opportunity to make a difference for the children of Lincoln County. We need one good man or woman to join the other four members and “come on board” to help guide the ship.
Think about it…the condition of our school district is a reflection of our community. As citizens, we cannot afford to turn a blind eye nor a deaf ear. These are difficult times, analogous to a captain’s treacherous waters, but as superintendent of Lincoln County Schools, I am confident that the state’s assessment will support our leadership capacity. I believe that and I fervently desire that for our high school. In a rural community like ours, our public schools must provide a quality education. Hand in hand, we must strive diligently to make the decisions that will accomplish this goal. We owe it to all of the children and to their future. What does that take? It takes leaders who are willing to persevere until it happens. I pledge this commitment to you. Now, we need someone to pledge their commitment to our community and serve on our local school board. Yes, Leadership has certainly been on my mind and I ask yet again, “Who will answer the call?”