IAPSS Presidents Letter – June

Posted on June 25, 2019

John Hunter

“I’m happier than a tornado in a trailer park!”  For those who follow Disney movies, you may recognize that phrase from Nader in Cars.  I am humbled and honored to serve as president of IAPSS for the 2019-2020 school year.  I look forward to continued collaboration with those of you that I know and eager to become acquainted with those whom I have yet to meet.  In my installation remarks, I used quotes from Walt Disney and some of his works to illustrate some leadership thoughts.

You may have heard it said that Disney parks are the happiest place on earth. Disney magic is spectacular! I often wonder what it would be like if we transformed our schools. If our schools were the happiest place on earth. What if our schools were the happiest place on earth for kids, for everybody.

Hallmark published a book in 2012 titled, Wit and Wisdom of Disney. In the introduction of the book, Walt Disney is described, “As one of the most legendary icons and innovators in history”.  As superintendents we must be innovative and creative in our quest to lead and provide encouraging environments for learning.  Walt Disney once quipped, “The greatest moments in life are not concerned with selfish achievements but rather with the things we do for the people we love and esteem”.  It is imperative that we collaborate in order to accomplish, not our own agendas, but those which better serve our students in order to further their education. While we will not always agree with our legislators, we must consider them partners for the benefit of all children in Indiana public schools.  

Disney reminds us, “When you believe in a thing, believe in it all the way implicitly and unquestionably”. As we develop our vision, as we develop our dreams, we must see them to completion.  Building a dream can be tough. Dream building requires buy-in from others. 

Sometimes as a superintendent, we feel that we are in the loneliest place in the world. We need to know that we have each other. As veterans we need to encourage those who are new in the superintendency. Look around you. Help area superintendents.  Whether it’s a veteran superintendent going through a rough time, or a new superintendent starting out. Isn’t that what our Association is for? Isn’t that why we exist? Make a difference. Keep moving forward. Open new doors. “We do new things because we are curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths”. It is our very being that is the reason why we do what we do and sometimes it may seem that we’re trying to fight an uphill battle. We don’t think we’re going to be able to resolve an issue or solve the problem. 

Disney evokes, “Life is not a spectator sport, if watching is all you’re going to do, then you’re going to watch your whole life go by without you”.

Colleagues, I encourage you to get involved. If you’re not yet involved in your Association, or you know of neighboring superintendents who are not involved, encourage their participation. Invite them to accompany you to events. Tramp, from Lady and the Tramp, once exclaimed, “There’s a great big hunk of world out there, with no fences around it, and beyond those distant hills, who knows what wonderful experiences. And it’s all ours for the taking.”  Friends and colleagues, let’s get busy.

I look forward to working with you this year as we work together to improve our schools and the education of all students in public schools.