Recently, I attended a great conference hosted by the RTM Education Congress. During the conference, we had two phenomenal keynote speakers. Each speaker was an exceptional speaker and leader; however, what I enjoyed about each keynote was their inspirational messages.

Each speaker challenged us to find joy every day in our work. Kim Bearden, Co-founder and Executive Director of the Ron Clark Academy, challenged us to lead with consideration to connect with our students, faculties, staff, and parents.

Superintendent Joe Sanfelippo, Fall Creek School District in Fall Creek, Wisconsin, reminded us “success is in the mess.” School district superintendents face numerous challenges, from budget constraints, to preparing students for future jobs, diversity of students, and ensuring school safety. However, despite these challenges, there is a reason for optimism. Joe also encouraged us not to let the job get in the way of the work.

The increasing diversity of student populations can be seen as a strength rather than a challenge, as it allows for a broader range of perspectives and experiences. Superintendents can foster inclusivity by providing teachers with the resources and training to effectively reach all students, regardless of their backgrounds or learning styles. They can also create a culture of respect within their schools, encouraging students to embrace diversity and learn from one another.

Superintendents can overcome budget constraints by seeking innovative ways to reduce costs and increase community involvement in the budget process. They can also work to secure grants and partnerships with local businesses to fund essential programs and initiatives.

Preparing students for future jobs may seem daunting. Still, superintendents can take a proactive approach by working with local businesses and industries to identify the skills that will be in demand. They can also provide students with hands-on experience in emerging fields like robotics and virtual reality.

Ensuring school safety is crucial, and superintendents can protect their students and staff by implementing security measures and providing training for staff and students. By doing so, they can create a safe and secure learning environment.

As leaders, we must change the conversation about schools. Superintendents can provide the best possible education by focusing on the strengths of diversity, preparing students for the future, and ensuring a safe learning environment.

“Let’s help people stop thinking of school as something we pay for and start thinking of school as something we invest in.”

-Superintendent Joe Sanfelippo

While school district superintendents face many challenges, they can overcome them with optimism, innovation, and collaboration.

How are you overcoming challenges?


Are you a classroom teacher, school administrator, or central office staff member looking for more guidance? Then join me for the Moore Leadership Moment on YouTube.

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Dr. Kim Moore

About the author

I'm Kim, your Educational Leadership Guide. I equip educational leaders with research-based and experientially learned educational leadership principles and best practices to promote student success.