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Success Stories from Past Attendees

Moreno Valley School Board Chooses New Superintendent

Photo Credit: Moreno Valley Unified

After attending our Fall 2015 National Superintendents Academy, Martinrex Kedziora of Moreno Valley School District used the fundamental skill set he gained to achieve success. Upon hearing of the recent news, Kedziora writes; “Thank you both for your support and leadership. My work with the academy deepened my leadership skills. I am forever grateful for your guidance and the lessons I learned with you. Thanks for all that you do.”

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Berwyn District 100 Board Appoints Mary Havis as Superintendent

Photo Credit: Mary Havis

The Berwyn South School District 100 Board of Education unanimously appointed Mary Havis as the district’s superintendent Dec. 21. Havis had been serving as interim superintendent since February 2016. “I am proud to serve the children of South Berwyn and to remain connected to the community where I grew up and attended school,” said Havis. As a past cohort member and longtime Berwyn resident, she is a great fit for the school district.

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“I just wanted to say, “THANKS” again.


Without the networking and conversations through the National Superintendents Academy, I would never have had the confidence and boldness to apply and accept a leadership position in Maine.”

“The courses broadened my thinking about my role as a central office administrator.”

“I attended the Superintendent’s Academy because I was interested in  expanding and deepening my leadership skills, as well as having the opportunity to network with other professionals with similar goals. As a department director,  I expected to gain new knowledge and understanding of leadership at a higher level, and the experience truly met my expectations.  However, the net effect has been more than that. (The course of study deconstructs the superintendency into logical and comprehensible components.  It demystifies the position and process of attaining a superintendent’s  position while never diluting the complexity or challenging nature of the work and journey.  Most important, the experience drove home the power of the superintendency to effect change for students.  The focus on making kids’ lives better and thus effecting our communities, cities, and states was clear and palpable.)  The courses broadened my thinking about my role as a central office administrator and allowed me to understand and look for the vital connections between my work and that of the superintendent. I found the strategies for strategic planning, systems thinking, communication, resource allocation, and  understanding political landscape were strongly applicable to my current work and immediately actionable.  I feel equipped and ready to pursue a cabinet-level position as a result of my learning experiences at the academy.” Susan M. Larson, Spring 2017 San Francisco Cohort, Director, English Learner Services

Sharon School Committee Picks Cambridge Administrator for Superintendent

After a months-long search, Sharon school committee members have voted to enter contract negotiations with Victoria Greer for the position of superintendent. Greer currently serves as the Assistant Superintendent for Cambridge Public Schools. In her present position she manages about 300 employees over a span of 17 buildings. She is also in charge of a $52 million budget, $10 million more than the Sharon school system.

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“The academy has been excellent for my professional growth as well as my own growth. You learn so much about the trends in leadership, and you learn about yourself. It prepares you for the Superintendency and to be a great leader for your district and for your students.”

Ian B. Saltzman, Ed.D

South Regional Superintendent, The School District of Palm Beach County

“The Superintendent is a Bridge Builder, you are building a bridge for those who don’t have so they can have.”

Tim Quinn

Fall 2016 Graduation Speaker, Atlantic Research Partners

“The knowledge I gained from the ANSA provided me with the information I needed to grow myself professionally and strategically plan for a future superintendency. I am pleased to report that after identifying my greatest opportunities for growth in Chicago, I have continuously advocated for an increase in responsibilities and budgeting experiences that recently lead to a promotion-see attached file.

Thank you and all the great leaders at Atlantic Research Partners!.”

Dr. Takeda Legranda

Fall 2015-16 Chicago Cohort, Superintendent for Accountability & Equity, Montgomery County Schools

Cohort Member Interviews

Candice Carter Oliver

Spring 2016 Cohort Graduate

How did your experience with ANSA prepare you for your superintendent experience?
My experience with the ANSA prepared me in a number of ways for the superintendency. Each session allowed the opportunity for participants to gain a deeper understanding of the role and expectations of a successful superintendent along with opportunities to perfect your personal leadership story. Additionally, the cohort experience allowed you to connect educational challenges and successes across the United States by building professional relationships.

How did your experience with ANSA prepare you for the actual interview and search process?
I think the mock interview and perfecting your leadership story exercises were essential to my interview and search process. My interview process as CEO of Confluence Charter Schools included panel interviews from an array of stakeholders–students, parents, staff, central office leadership, and a seven-member Board of Directors. Skills such as knowing when to pause, using terms that prevent absolutes or isolation to capitalizing upon your strengths were all used throughout the interview process. Each interview, I began with my leadership story and reminded myself mentally of the audience. I tailored each interview to the needs of the group and shared my personal and professional background as teacher, volunteer, learning coach, elementary principal, and assistant superintendent.

Which topics addressed in the sessions, helped you in your role? How/why?
The topics that aided me tremendously were governance, the community and superintendent along with communications, political mapping, and project sharing. The relationship between a superintendent and his/her Board is critical to the success of the superintendency and the organization. It is necessary to develop clear goals within a strategic plan, so that the organization has clear and focused strategies for improvement. Additionally, learning the key players and influencers allow the superintendent to keep his/her pulse on the organization which can, in turn, prevent distractors to forward movement.

Lindsay Sanders

Spring 2016 Cohort Graduate

How did your experience with ANSA prepare you for your superintendent experience?
Although I have not applied for a superintendent experience, the Academy helped me as an employee to better understand the complexity of the work. The Academy provided a big picture of multiple facets of the superintendent role that includes understanding the context of the community you serve, reflecting and defining a clear vision of your leadership voice and style, and importance of understanding the political and budget portions of the work. The Academy has helped me better manage up to my supervisors as well as refine my own leadership skills in the current role that I have.

How did your experience with ANSA prepare you for the actual interview and search process?
The Academy used a variety of strategies to help people learn and prepare for interview and search process. Superintendent panels provided opportunities for participants to ask questions about the experiences of the panel members. The panels were diverse to include Superintendents from a variety of communities with varying complex audiences that they serve. In addition, Academy members had opportunities to collaborate and share their leadership vision and stories. All participants experienced a mock interview and were provided constructive and helpful feedback. The teachers provided personal examples that included video, resumes, and prep binders. The combination of strategies, provided me an opportunity to refine and understand my areas of strength and weakness.

Gin Hooks

Spring 2016 Cohort Graduate

“I was fortunate enough to be part the ANSA 2016 San Francisco cohort. In my role as an Executive Director for Acceleration Academies, I work closely with Superintendents, their deputies, cabinet members and board members to create customized partnerships that service the re-engagement efforts for their students most at risk of dropping out. While I did not enter the program looking to pursue a Superintendency in the near future, I was interested in learning more about the responsibilities and foci peculiar to that role. I wanted to know how to guide my day-to-day operations to be of greater interest and service to our target school districts. To do that, I needed to be able to speak the language and grasp the context of the Superintendents’ perspective on the work. Atlantic’s National Superintendents Academy exposed me to exactly that. There were added benefits of amazing networking with other administrators and innumerable opportunities for coaching. Each month, I left the sessions, with more tools for training staff, new ideas for community outreach and a greater appreciation for the diversity of skills and talents represented by my colleagues in neighboring districts, states and regions.

I found the Governance, Community & Superintendent session especially helpful. Similarly, the Communications, Political Mapping & Project Sharing session was immediately helpful in avoiding some pitfalls I otherwise would not have seen coming and making some strides toward new goals I thought would be farther off. The Accountability & Transformational Leadership session was, perhaps, my favorite. It really touched on what the ANSA experience did for me overall which was to enhance my understanding of how to approach the relationships connected to the superintendency in such a way that I could help position our academy to be seen not only as a valued partner to the district but as an esteemed community asset.”

Ward AndrusWard Andrus

Fall 2016 Cohort Graduate

Here are a few things that come to mind that resonate with me and continue to help shape my work as I prepare for this hiring season:

The Leadership Story: Developing and sharing my leadership story contextualizes my values and allows me to leverage the relationship I have into a call to action. Recently I shared my story with my district’s business office leaders. I know nearly all of them and they know me from our years of interactions, but now they really know me. As I concluded my story, I called them to think about their role in our district differently than just delivering services, but that they indirectly impact learning in very meaningful ways.

Entry Plan: I carefully listened to the NSA session on the Entry Plan, made my notes and flied it away. It wasn’t until my new Superintendent came on and I witnessed his entry plan unfold did I realize how truly important it is. Those first 30 days, 90 days and school year are so very critical to the success of that superintendent to clearly communicate through word and deed the intent and vision of the leader.

Communication Plan: Prior to attending the National Superintendents Academy, I had applied for an executive position. I had a screening phone call and was asked about my Communication Plan. My poor answer to the screener limited me in the process and I did not move forward. Now I feel much more prepared for that interview question and in my ability to execute my Communication Strategy. Though, always a work in progress, I am confident that the preparation from the NSA will carry me forward.