These past four years have been the hardest years of my career thus far. While they have taken me places I would never have thought I would go, both academically and physically, I do admit they’ve taken a toll on me. Yes, I’m admitting it; being a superintendent is draining.
I knew it going in, but like all jobs, you don’t really know until you live it.
Has it been rewarding? The best job in the world.
Has it been challenging? LOL, yes.
Is it everything I thought it would be? Oh, yea. And then some!
Would I have gone down this path knowing what has and could happen? Absolutely.
Would I have done it all the same exact way, step by step? Of course not! I’m human; I make mistakes like everyone else.
Would I have taken the same jobs in the same places knowing what I know now? No doubt. I’ve learned so much about communities, family, and life!
I came from a blue-collar family. My dad was a CNC Machinist; my mom was a secretary. I was the first in my family (on both sides) to graduate college. While I went to a very expensive university, I never forgot my roots. It’s what made me. That being said, I spent most of my educational and administrative career in very affluent school districts where money was never a problem (but don’t be fooled, as the rapper B.I.G. said, mo’ money, mo’ problems – and different kinds of problems).
When I became a superintendent, I went to South Jersey. The 856. The land of hoagies, Eagle nation, “pork roll,” and scrapple. Why do I say all of these things? Ladies and gentlemen, if you don’t know, there is a very, very big difference between North & South Jersey. And while I can scapegoat to the map below and blame it on this:
It’s nothing to do with that.
It’s really this:
I’m the guy who willingly came into no-man’s-land, and I say that because people down there like it that way. When I became a superintendent, I was hired (twice) in very small districts because they wanted someone from the outside and they wanted change. Change they got. Do people really want change? I have found in my career that people love to throw the word change around, but wanting to change…
The higher you move up the totem pole, the bigger your target gets. I knew that going in. So, why even do it?
Because I can. Because I was made to do this. Because my passion is infectious. Because I don’t care about the size, money, or what you have or don’t have. Because I’m hell bent on proving that a zip code will not determine an education of a student. Because I have no problem not being everyone’s friend and don’t believe in playing politics to keep a job. Because I don’t mind having the hard conversations. Because I expose; I expose the great things going on in a school and also expose the bad stuff because no district is perfect. Because I am relentless and will never bow down to the old boys club or special interests. Because I know those who know me know that I will show everyone, everything. Because I never have anything to hide.
Is it me? Yep. Im a Superintendent. Deal with it.