Earlier this week, I attended a “Meet the Candidates” forum at the Loudoun County Public Schools administration building in Northern Virginia to help me determine who to endorse as my school board representative in the upcoming elections. The theme repeated by the majority of the candidates was Transparency, Transparency, and Transparency! One candidate went so far as to announce loudly that the community is “clamoring for two-way dialogue.”
All this talk about transparency and dialogue reminded me of Spring-Ford Area School District in Royersford, PA, where the new Superintendent, Dave Goodin, believes in greater transparency for district operations. Dr. Goodin believes so much in two-way dialogue that he encouraged the district to bring K12 Insight on board as part of his contract!
The first initiative that Dr. Goodin has examined with K12 Insight is a community engagement plan to discuss the financial challenges currently facing the Spring-Ford area. This district is projecting a budget shortfall and must make difficult decisions about where to make cuts. Dr. Goodin considers it his responsibility to inform the community of these issues, and he is asking for everyone’s input to help him make the right decisions. Last week, we partnered with Spring-Ford to launch a survey to parents, district staff and the community asking for feedback on budgetary, operational and communication issues
Not only is Dr. Goodin a model of two-way dialogue, he is equally committed to building transparency. Every month he speaks to the community in his “Supe’s On” TV broadcast, which is available to district residents on a local access station. He is also a blogger. Dr. Goodin’s innovative approach to leadership doesn’t just allow him to relay important issues to the community; it also effectively promotes trust and civic capacity within the district.
Dr. Goodin’s leadership style encourages numerous community stakeholders to help him solve the most difficult problems facing the district. He is both a transparent and a collaborative decision-maker. I know that I am going to endorse a candidate in the upcoming school board elections who shares a similar philosophy, because I want a leader who keeps my community informed of district decisions, while encouraging us to voice our opinions in a two-way dialogue.