You never get a second chance to make a first impression. The Decorah Community School District, and the Decorah and greater Winneshiek County community, have made an impressive and lasting impression on me and my family.
In my first two weeks serving as Superintendent of Schools, I have been able to experience a wonderful balance of professional and personal activities. I have engaged in a full spectrum of dialogue from visioning about hopes and dreams for the future of our district and community, to standing on the corner of Broadway and Winnebago examining the capacity of our buses to make the turn at the newly planned intersection bump-out.
Personally, I have biked the Trout Run Trail with my wife and brother; visited Seed Savers Exchange with my parents and in-laws; climbed to the top of Dunning Springs Waterfall with my children; fed the trout at the Hatchery with my niece; enjoyed pizza while sitting on a blanket on a beautiful Friday evening at Luna Valley Farm; and judged a cooking contest at the Winneshiek County Fair.
In my interactions with people, I am asking four key questions intended to build the knowledge necessary to serve our students, families, staff, and community well.
- What might be our district’s and/or community’s greatest strengths?
- What might be our district’s and/or community’s most urgent opportunities for improvement?
- What challenges or weaknesses might prevent us from overcoming these opportunities for improvement?
- What do you hope to see from me as superintendent?
In a future blog, I will share key themes from what I learned by asking these questions of students, staff, parents, board members, and community members and leaders.
In closing, I want to extend a heartfelt thank you from my family for making us feel so welcome in our new home. Carla, Savannah, Will, Calhoun, and I lived in Waukee, Iowa for 15 years, and we left behind great friends and community connections. The past two weeks have lessened the stress of this life change, and we look forward to helping make Decorah the absolute best place possible to live, work, rest, play, and go to school!