To the Editor:
In Education Week’s August 26 issue, a brief discusses a report by the American Enterprise Institute that summarizes a series of conversations with school district or Catholic diocese superintendents (“In Coronavirus Era, Worst-Job Honors Go to District Heads”). The article’s title mischaracterizes the leadership of superintendents in America’s public schools.
While I cannot comment on the role of a private school superintendent, the public school superintendents who were among the 12 interviewed for the report were undoubtedly frank and truly characterized the “unwinnable situations” presented to them throughout the pandemic. However, the small sample size does not represent the American public school superintendency.
I am a public school superintendent and I am not in the worst job in America. I am one among hundreds who are the chief advocates for public school children, prioritizing and championing efforts to serve students in healthy, safe, and academically engaging environments.
Being a superintendent means resisting political pressure and railing against inequities perpetuated by state governments. And, yes, sometimes there are impossible choices to be made in the midst of competing priorities. But the job of public school educators and school leaders is one of the best on the planet. My colleagues and I have the opportunity to wake up every day to wonder, strategize, and deliberate in creative educational environs.
In the midst of unprecedented times where politics has created confusion, I offer congratulations to my superintendent colleagues for a job well done! Navigating challenges to better the lives of children, and facing inevitable criticism, is what we do best.
New York State Council of School Superintendents
A version of this article appeared in the October 07, 2020 edition of Education Week as District Heads Have the Best Job