The district offices here at Springville are located in a separate building, one that I’ve affectionately referred to as “the shed” for the fourteen months of my time here. I’ve only once worked in a district with a separate district office and we saw those administrators as disconnected from the work that the rest of us were doing in the buildings with our students. They likely weren’t disconnected, instead were good, hard working people, but that was our perception of them.
Our central office staff are all here to serve the needs of the employees, students and families of SGI. Our BOE members and I have discussed the fact that central office is in a separate building and that we could better serve our families from within the school buildings. For this reason, the District Office will be moved to what is currently the wing in SES that we lease to BOCES. Both the superintendent’s and business administrator’s offices will be moved, likely in late 2017-18. This is an opportune time as within the capital project we are already abating and replacing all of the flooring. The reconfigured classrooms to office space will be relatively minimal and once we have finalized a plan with the architects, we will present the changes at a BOE meeting. This is within the scope of the project and I will not allow it to distract from other priorities; it will be bid as an alternate. We will construct a separate district office entrance at the north end of that hallway for the community and we will have doors installed to close off the rest of the building from the DO wing if needed (near the Kindergarten hallway).
We are an administrative TEAM. I hope everyone else is starting to feel that as much as I do. Every day when I come to school, I try to do the right thing. Sitting in a separate office building from our students, faculty, staff, and building administrators simply does NOT feel like the right thing to me. I want to help and support our elementary principal as his backup and I want Mrs. Townsend, our principal for special programs supporting our middle school principal as her backup. Our principals are amazing, but I’ve done that job and some days you just need an extra pair of hands to help with the work. We already have four administrators in our high school, so it is only logical that we move the district office staff to Springville Elementary.
This move is about teamwork and all of us pitching in to support one another as we serve this community. If we have an “all hands on deck” approach to problem solving and managing our buildings, that includes Maureen Lee, Kathy Townsend and me. In order for us to be more available and approachable, we need to support in the buildings. Bottom line, I do not believe that the best leadership model is one in which we have a separate, “ivory tower”, central office leadership team.
What will become of the district office building? The credit union will continue to operate here. We’ll move our Family Support Center here, once our space is ready at SES. In that way our families can meet with our talented social workers in a more private space—the space they’re in now is simply small and insufficient. Buildings and Grounds Supervisor Larry Strauss and Central Receiving will be here, as well as Campus Construction Management, already in place to manage our capital project through the next 3 years. Records Retention will be here too and we’re discussing the possibility of offering space for rent to the community.
I know that change is hard for lots of people. Sometimes change that’s hard is also well worth it and helps us to improve as a system.