Strategies to Build Community as a Leader

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Being a superintendent means you are accountable and need to build community with so many people: families, students, teachers and even your school board!  Having positive working relationships with all of these people is crucial to build community, above and beyond just supporting student learning.  Creating strong community engagement starts with transparency and trust.  

Cate Reed, seasoned administrator, current Senior Vice President of Teach For America, and Possip Reporter, shares tips for superintendents to foster community and support.

And while there are so many people who count on you, it can also be lonely. There is only one superintendent, and the buck stops with you – the good and the bad. The average tenure of many superintendents only lasts a few years. It can be a really hard, and at times, a very isolating job.

However, there are ways to keep the job engaging and even fun (sometimes!).  Superintendents can employ various strategies to stay in close touch with those people they are serving. That proximity can build up resiliency in an otherwise very hard 

Build Community Through Communication

  • Newsletters: Sending out newsletters via email or traditional mail can keep families informed about school events, updates, and important information.
  • Social Media: Utilizing platforms like Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram can help superintendents communicate with families in real-time.  Share updates, photos, and engage with questions or concerns. Here’s an example of a superintendent and principal announcing a snow day with a duet!
  • Virtual Town Halls: Hosting virtual town hall meetings allows superintendents to connect with families who can’t make it to school board meetings. A virtual setting invites people to express concerns, ask questions, and receive updates directly in an interactive format.
  • Personalized Communication: Tailoring communication to the specific needs and preferences of families can enhance engagement and connection. Our data shows families respond to text more frequently than email. Also consider phone calls or video messages.