Are there any benefits to being an active member of the Indiana Association of Public School Superintendents? I can remember when I was a new superintendent starting out in 2003, I joined IAPSS because I did not have the experience or the answers that would make me successful in fulfilling my duties as a new superintendent. I needed a way to connect with other superintendents to find out what they were doing in their districts with: developing their budgets, creating effective curriculum that is rigorous and relevant, developing assessments with quality rubrics, dealing with bus drivers and bus routing, being fiscally responsible with cost saving measures, finding good people to hire and the procedures to go with the process, dealing with difficult personnel, negotiating a teacher contract, negotiating my own contract, writing board policy, purchasing custodial supplies, understanding new federal laws, understanding state laws, understanding new health guidelines and a few hundred other topics that come up every day.
Now there may be a few books available that one could purchase that could help a superintendent, but those books may not always be applicable to the need or issue at the time. Furthermore, the information in books can become dated very quickly. So where does a superintendent in Indiana stay up to date and informed on issues impacting his/her job and the school corporation? It is simple. Become an active member in IAPSS! It is extremely important to become involved by attending District meetings, State meetings, and the many professional development conferences that are available throughout the school year. After serving as a superintendent for over sixteen years, I am amazed by the information that I receive and the new opportunities to learn something new in all the areas I mentioned above by attending study council meetings, district meetings and state conferences.
Admitting to my age (I still feel 25!), and my sixteen years as a superintendent, I think that most of my colleagues would consider me to be a veteran superintendent. Having made that statement, I made a decision and a commitment several years ago to look for opportunities to provide leadership in IAPSS. I have been fortunate to have had so many role models who I watched and learned over the years who have stepped up to lead our great organization. They were unselfish, servant leaders who were willing to help all of us become better as superintendents and our organization. Many of these leaders have retired, but we are fortunate because others have filled these voids left by these great superintendents. I am so impressed by our current superintendent leaders who are filling numerous leadership positions in IAPSS. I am very fortunate to work closely with many of them on the executive committee along with our director, JT Coopman, as we continue the tradition of serving our membership so that our organization stays strong.
Before I end this column, I want to recognize an exceptional Indiana superintendent. Dr. Chris Himsel, Superintendent of Northwest Allen County Schools, was named the IAPSS Superintendent of the Year. Dr. Himsel has proven his leadership many times over by providing a successful educational program for the students of Northwest Allen County Schools. Dr. Himsel is very active in IAPSS participating in numerous IAPSS programs from the Prospective Superintendent Conference, the IAPSS ESSA Recommendations and the new Superintendent Workshops. Dr. Himsel leads by doing. He is the example of a great servant leader. We are all very proud that he will represent Indiana superintendents at the national level.
In closing, we have many opportunities for you to grow as a superintendent whether you are just starting out as a new superintendent, or a seasoned veteran with over 40 years of experience. We ask that you and your administrative team find ways to get involved in IAPSS either through leadership opportunities or attending our many conferences and meetings. We look forward to seeing you at one of the state district meetings in October, and please plan to attend our IAPSS Annual Meeting on December 4-6, 2016 at the Hyatt Regency in Indianapolis, Indiana.