THE QUESTION

Periodically in your career as superintendent you get THE QUESTION.

“So how long do you plan to stay with our district?”

Why is this so difficult to answer with authenticity? Well, because that question comes with a lot of baggage. The previous superintendent may have stayed a long time and many in the community did not want to see him leave. Or she may have stayed a short time and many in the community felt betrayed. In any case, this is a new opportunity or a new position for you and you would like to think that you will hold it for an extended period of time. You don’t want to act like an idiot by admitting you don’t know how long you will stay. But let’s face it, the averages are against you! For every superintendent that retires with decades of service to one district, there are multiple colleagues that either move on to a better position or are asked to leave either before or after their contract term is up.

For a more realistic answer try a variation of this. After a thoughtful pause…”I believe that stable and long-serving leadership is best for this district, but clearly it is not entirely my decision. The board and the community must be pleased with the work that the staff and I have done in order for me to continue as superintendent.  Although I know there will be some decisions that may be unpopular, I hope that the staff and I will continue to have the support of the board and the community for a long time.”

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