Community Relations: A Key to Superintendent Success


One of the greatest methods to assist a new or veteran school superintendent is to foster great community relationships from the beginning of your time in the school district. Knowing that your briefcase is packed with “to
do” lists, one of the most important goals should be getting to know local government officials as you move around the community.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with you going to city or town hall and introducing yourself if you are new to the community or just to say hello if you are a veteran superintendent and want to wish them well. Obviously pick your
times in terms of stopping, such as around the December holiday season or Thanksgiving. Your visit to the seat of government sends a real strong message to the folks there that you feel like one of them. This assists to gain their
support when needed and is usually there, as opposed to the school leader who spends their time totally in the office or schools.

City and town hall are locations where you will be bringing your budget for approval by a mayor, city council, board of selectmen or other officials. They should not feel this is the only time they see you.

The same should be true with the police, fire and public works officials, as you should go to them before you need them. The relationships you have with these folks at the management level of these three departments, all the way to the ambulance driver, is critical to your success. You may be surprised to know how impressed they are that you care about them and make the contact We all know who you will be calling on the first district emergency and isn’t it wise that you not only know the folks you are calling but have a relationship you have built over your visits and meetings.

Some thoughts to avoid the JETTY,
Paul, M.A.S.S.

JETTY defined as a pier or structure of stones, piles or the like, projecting into the sea or other body of water to protect a harbor and deflect the current

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