How I Learned What Not to Do

Early in his career as superintendent of schools, Charles Irish tried to follow in the footsteps of his mentors who taught him that success in the community would mostly be about selling your solutions to a “yet-to-be-informed” public.  More than once he was told that people don’t know what they want or need and that you, as superintendent, have to patiently educate them.  After frustrating experiences and a lot of soul searching, he concluded that this model of leadership was insincere and unsustainable.  In “How I Learned What Not to Do as a School Superintendent,” (beginning on page 72) he shares a fascinating story about his journey on the road to a new way of thinking.

Note:  My friend and colleague, Charlie Irish served for 13 years as superintendent of the Medina City Schools in Medina, Ohio.  His “How I Learned What Not to Do as a School Superintendent” article appears in the current edition of Connections, a publication of the Kettering Foundation.  An internationally renowned think-tank, Kettering’s primary research question is, what does it take to make democracy work as it should?

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