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Administrator Profile

Pledge of Performance

Sensing where the power lies, this superintendent has joined with politicians to help create workable education policies

Hillsborough County Superintendent Earl Lennard always said he would put his money where his mouth is. This year, he had to pay up.

Cleveland's leader, one of the highest paid superintendents, earns her keep by setting the foundation for students learning

She misses the pizza. She misses her family, and her hairstylist. There is much to miss about any home, but Barbara Byrd-Bennett's home happens to be New York City.

Superintendent needed. Must transform urban school district plagued by bureaucracy, administrative turnover and low-test scores into unified, focused organization. Top-notch reading skills in everything from high school graduation standards to children's classics needed. Arctic explorers encouraged to apply.

When Jesse Gonzales was only 6, his father was fatally shot by his godfather over a poker game. Then his mother was taken to a sanitarium with tuberculosis, and he and his 12 siblings were separated into foster homes.

In his teens, when he and his family were reunited, Gonzales says he wanted to drop out of high school. But the support of one high school teacher in particular nurtured his natural talent for leadership and peacemaking.

SOUTHERN PASSIONS

This Atlanta superintendent doesn't need research to tell her all students can achieve-she's living proof

It was when Beverly Hall was growing up in her native Jamaica with an optimistic and hard-working mother that she learned she could achieve.

FULFILLING HER MOTHER'S DREAM

The progress in this Hamilton City, Ohio, district led to kudos from President Bush

When Janet Baker was growing up in Hamilton, Ohio, her mother told her the president had sent her a letter stating he wanted little Janet to work hard and do her homework because he might need her help in Washington, D.C., someday. Well, it took about 45 years, but her mother's white lie has come true.

FULFILLING HER MOTHER'S DREAM

The progress in this Hamilton City, Ohio, district led to kudos from President Bush

When Janet Baker was growing up in Hamilton, Ohio, her mother told her the president had sent her a letter stating he wanted little Janet to work hard and do her homework because he might need her help in Washington, D.C., someday. Well, it took about 45 years, but her mother's white lie has come true.

You wouldn't think growing up on a dairy farm is particularly great training for a superintendent. But think about it. You're an advocate/caregiver; the hours are grueling, the demands are 24/7; the bottom line-test scores/milk production-is all that counts to outsiders; and you don't get a lot of thanks because cows can't talk and fourth-graders don't know who you are, let alone what you do.

Take a troubled urban school district with almost two dozen non-performing schools, impoverished students and racial imbalance and what do you get? A recipe for educational disaster?

Gail Anderson Uilkema knew when she took her job as superintendent of the 2,600-student Piedmont (Calif.) School District in 1987 that this job would different from those she held previously.

For one, her son began in kindergarten that same year, giving her a wonderful perspective of how children, and parents, how well the district does its job.

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