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Almost every week I get on a plane and travel to be with superintendents and district and school leaders working in our partner school districts.  My role is to be a “coach” to the district leaders along with the superintendent.  Two to three times a year I engage in conversations with board members serving our partner districts to gain insight about the “key drivers” for success in a partner district.

So, what does it mean to be a “coach”?

It means I have to be a good listener of others, processor of messages and data, and analyzer of information to collectively determine core strategies that help school districts engage in a quality improvement process and achieve measurable results.

It means I enter my work by engaging in a dialogue with superintendents and their executive teams to review areas working well, areas needing improvements, and one to two strategies to initiate in a continuous improvement process.

It means I model good leadership practices that executive leaders cascade to their direct reports.

It means I am accountable to partners and look at accountability as “You can count on me.”  So much so, my personnel evaluation depends on the extent to which partner district leaders achieve their goals and measures.

This past week I worked alongside two model superintendents, Dr. Pat Greco (School District of Menomonee Falls, WI) and Dr. Marcelo Cavazos (Arlington Independent School District, TX). Also, I had the pleasure of engaging in conversations with the districts’ Boards of Education about setting 2013- 14 annual goals and measures while reviewing baseline results in student achievement, employee engagement, parent and student satisfaction, and service and financial excellence. As I travel home, my experiences reinforce that school districts can achieve excellence when superintendents lead by example to develop mature school districts (helping leaders face the brutal facts and developing long-term goals and measures accompanied by short cycle planning). I am proud to be their coach.

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PilcherDr. Janet Pilcher authored this post. Janet is Senior Leader of Studer Education. She works with school boards, superintendents, and district and school leaders across the country to help them lead their districts to achieve excellence. Contact Janet directly at Janet.Pilcher@StuderGroup.com.

Our mission at Studer Education is to provide students with a great place to learn, teachers with a great place to teach, and parents with confidence that their children are getting a great education. Visit us online at http://studereducation.com. Studer Education is a division of Studer Group, ranked for the fifth straight year on the Best Small and Medium Workplaces by Great Place to Work® and a recipient of the 2010 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award.