Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Five Years Later...

Today is a milestone for me! When the calendar rolled over this morning I began my 6th year at Hudson! Yep, July 1, 2010 was my first day as Superintendent of the Hudson Community School District. In addition to that, I was starting from scratch because I had never been a superintendent before. I am also not quite sure you all remember this, but all of my experience prior to arriving at Hudson was in the parochial system.

I can hardly believe so much time has passed. It began with very little ceremony and not quite as I had anticipated. Although it was safe to say I didn't know what to expect, after all I had never been a superintendent before! Admittedly I was pretty naive about my new role and all the responsibility that would come along with it. For starters, the only people who work July in most school districts are the central office staff and custodians. All the principals, teachers, and students were gone. The beginning of this month tends to be pretty quiet, and with the Independence holiday on July 4th, if it works out right the staff can enjoy a long weekend. 

So as I began that July day in 2010 it was peacefully silent around the office. I had a lot of time alone and took the opportunity to try out the new set keys that had been left on my desk with the departure of my predecessor. Indeed I knew that I had big shoes to fill but felt up to the challenge. The only question was, where do I begin and what should I tackle first? Well, it was apparent that the first thing that had to be tackled was figuring out where everything was. While I was treated to a tour of the district and facilities during the interview, there were other thing on my mind that day than remembering where the restrooms were!

Those early days were filled with experiences that at the time seemed like major decisions. Today many of those same decisions are no longer considered major, but rather the routine variety of tasks a superintendent performs. I remember a couple brief moments of panic those first weeks: like receiving a bill for over $100,000 to renew our property and casualty insurance; or the second moment of fear: needing to borrow money to meet payroll in September. 

That large bill for property insurance still comes in early July, but fortunately we are no longer borrowing money to meet payroll obligations. It seems like an eternity ago! I sometimes marvel at all the changes that have occurred in the intervening years. I like to think that we have gotten better in our time together.

So today as the calendar turns over, I want to take a moment to welcome all the new superintendents in Iowa that are starting their tenure today. The next several weeks may at times seem overwhelming, but be patient with yourselves and take a deep breath. We were all there once.

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