March 29, 2021

CEO Message: The Qualities of Leadership for RRISD Superintendent

Last week you may have seen Round Rock ISD launched a brief survey soliciting input from the community about the characteristics that people may want in the next superintendent of the district. You can see the announcement, and participate in the survey, HERE.

The survey itself is a list of 33 characteristics or qualities that you may find important in a superintendent. Participants are asked to choose 10 options from the list of 33. As a parent in the district, I participated last week and found this to be a task easier said than done. In looking at the 33 choices, there were none that struck me as qualities I did not want for the new superintendent. Put another way, all of these leadership qualities appeared to be essential for success. I had a difficult time deciding on which 23 characteristics NOT to include in my selection of 10.

It was a great reminder of how difficult the task of finding a new superintendent will be for the RRISD Board of Trustees. On top of navigating policy about how to return to in-person school after coronavirus, funding policy at the state level, and defining the strategic approach to close student achievement outcome gaps – they now have the single most important choice they are likely to make as elected officials before them: to identify and hire the executive responsible for implementing that strategy.

The importance of this choice cannot be understated. RRISD has a strong foundation of success and is not without its challenges – as any large, and still growing school district will have. The new superintendent will need to bring both vision and ability to execute to the role.

The RRISD Board of Trustees has a difficult task ahead, and a very difficult set of decisions to make during the search process. They deserve our support, because the students and families they serve deserve excellent leadership from their school district.

They best way we can demonstrate support right now is to engage in the process through the survey, HERE. Please take a moment to participate. Many of you reading this are parents of students in the district or have grown children who were students in the district. That makes you important stakeholders in the process. If you are a business leader or business owner in the district you are also an important stakeholder in the process.

Some may think we are searching for a “one in a million” kind of candidate to lead the district. That sentiment is certainly true. We need a unique leader to navigate the challenges ahead.

Yet, the survey suggests “one in a million” is a wild under­-estimation of that effort. Choosing a set of 10 characteristics from a list of 33, suggests there are more than 3.36×1014 different combinations of leadership choices. Each survey participant is describing a list of leadership traits that is “one in 336 trillion” different potential lists of leadership traits. It will be interesting to see the results if and when they are released, but more importantly how the new leader embodies the qualities we are looking for.



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