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How K12 roles are changing

Across K12 education, the roles of educators are shifting as instructional practices advance, schools more actively support the social-emotional development of students, and new technology is integrated into the classroom.

In a survey, readers described how their roles in education are changing and how their responsibilities will evolve in the coming years.

Justin Bradford, superintendent/principal, Harrington School District (Washington)

As the only administrator on our small, rural campus of 150 students, P-12, I have a wide range of responsibilities. I have seen more compliance issues directed at schools, many of which do little to enhance the quality of the education our students are receiving.  

Public schools will continue to have more responsibilities, but continually less resources.     

Joe Langowski, Superintendent, Lumberton Township Schools

We have been able to leverage technology to make lessons more engaging and rigorous, thereby raising science achievement. One of the current trends I see continuing in the future is that schools need to respond to choices our students make on social media, such as cyberbullying.

Victor Hayek, Assistant superintendent, Conejo Valley USD (California)

I don’t know a time when public education was not in a “reform” state. Roles and responsibilities are always shaped around uncertainty, politics and economics; therefore they have changed very little.

Scott Monson, Superintendent, Marshall Public Schools, (Minnesota)

More emphasis on legal issues, strategic planning, personnel and communications—I think those challenges will continue to expand in the future.    

Lonnie Lunt, Principal, Fort Thomas USD (Arizona)

I find myself spending much more time working with troubled kids whose lives are full of trauma. Outbursts, refusal to go to class, “hiding” in their clothes, all take time to resolve. 

David Crum, principal, San Diego USD

I’m learning more about software and hardware to be a more effective coordinator of resources for advancing student work, for teacher coordination of data, for parent communication, and for differentiating instruction most effectively for both high and low performers.

Leighangela Brady, Superintendent, National School District, National City, California  

In an age of charter schools and school choice, district superintendents must be the cheerleaders of neighborhood schools. Beyond ensuring academic results, superintendents now need to implement and promote innovative and forward-thinking programs.

In 2018, superintendents will compete for students by celebrating district successes through engagement marketing, social media and district branding. Let’s go superintendents–be ready to rally! 

Tami Staloch-Schultz, Principal, Rosemount-Apple Valley-Eagan Public Schools (Minnesota)

In our district, there has been an increased focus on being an instructional leader, which means attending professional development with teachers and implementing a new evaluation and development cycle. Students need mental health support in elementary school.

We offer services in our school one day a week so students can meet with a licensed psychologist.

Tammie Workman, Assistant superintendent for student services Atlanta Public Schools

As we have adopted the charter operating model and as schools move more toward autonomy, flexibility and innovation, the roles are shifting dramatically toward less mandating (except for federal law and safety) and toward more consulting and helping schools with innovative ideas. 

Bonnie Cazer, principal, Marcus Whitman Central School District (New York)

I am in my fourth year as principal of a UPK-2nd grade building. There is no vice principal or dean of students assigned. The students last year and even more this year are entering the school with more trauma. A great deal of my time is spent with students in crisis. 

Christopher Chew, Principal, Stony Brook Middle School, Westford Public Schools (Massachusetts)

I spend more time getting obstacles out of the way of our teachers’ and students’ innovation. Our goals have shifted from worrying about targets on state assessments to developing skills that are transferable and to embedding the 4C’s across all content areas.

Mike Sweeder, Technology director, Egg Harbor Township Schools (New Jersey)

The internet of things seems to be an expansion of responsibilities for our IT staff as every new facilities-related system now needs IoT setup and support on our network. This is especially true for updated security systems across our campuses, such as emergency notification and real-time surveillance technologies.

Kevin Caress, Retired superintendent, now director of Central Indiana Educational Service Center

There’s significant need for a holistic view of technology platforms and applications. There is a dramatic need for being prepared for the next phase of instruction delivery that goes beyond the traditional model of the past.    

Mike Brophy, Superintendent, West Valley School District (Washington)

My role has grown to include chief information officer as we now promote everything we do on social media as well as through digital newsletters. Communication is now more than ever a critical part my work as a superintendent. This emphasis will only increase as the avenues to social media increase.

Mandy Plog, Special education director, Hemingford Public Schools (Nebraska)

Many more students with more complex needs lead to more job responsibilities.

I am also responsible for the High Ability Learner program, the Title I program, transportation for students with special needs, supervision and evaluation of all certified staff and all paraprofessionals, as well as the state and federal mandated reports.

Thomas Troisi, Assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction, Valley Stream Central High School District (New York)

I find that, as curriculum continues to evolve in a digital fashion, the amount of time I spend in technology-related pursuits has increased significantly (e.g., software, online content support, online learning programs, 1-to-1 computing initiatives).

Additionally, the percentage of time spent on noninstructional matters such as student discipline, special education and other legal issues has also continued to expand. 

Todd Osborn, Superintendent, Liberty Union-Thurston Local Schools (Ohio)

My time in dealing with student and family-related issues outside of the school day has increased dramatically. We have hired additional personnel to be family liaisons to support families and students.