The following is an excerpt from my upcoming book “Superintendent 3.0” to be published in Spring of 2016.
From the early days of college, we’ve all been indoctrinated that an effective educator needs to have great parent relationships. What we’ve all been trying to figure out is how do we get all parents to like us? I’ll let you in on a secret… It’s never going to happen… and that’s ok! However, if you’re not trying to create working, positive relationships with parents, we have a problem.
Piggybacking on my previous piece on being thankful for so much, I’ve been very fortunate to have cultivated and maintain fantastic parental relationships in every district I have worked in. It’s not every parent, but those that I’ve stayed in touch with not only have a wealth of information and insight, they geninuely are thankful for doing what you do and advancing their children.
Parents that I have kept in touch with range from Board Members to farmers. I recently caught up with a parent who is a photographer and took pictures of my twins for their first Christmas. While business was business, she completed great work, and we had the chance to catch up in between “costume changes”. We spoke of all of the great progress her children were making, my time in the district, and even spoke of who will be replacing me. Why does any of that matter? Simple: the fact that we even still talk, let alone be friendly, echoes waves of what these relationships should be in every school district. Working with parents is paramount for success; to those leaders who believe that there’s no need for such partnership, you’re clearly not seeing the big picture. To those that have nothing but a reputation of being negative and ostrichsizing parents, you have work to do.