Superintendent Needed To Go, So Our Teachers Wouldn't Retire To Uruguay

By
Real Estate Agent with Montana Homestead Brokers, Broker, CRS, GRI, SFR, RN
https://activerain.com/droplet/l9V

This past summer during my gym exercise, I overheard many local teachers discussing their plans to pull up roots and move to Uruguay in South America.  Sounded like an interesting migration; cheaper cost of living, practically free health care (touted to be better than USA) and just a relief from the "nightmare in School District 2".teachers off to Uruguay

Like many school systems around the country, the largest one in Montana, School District 2 in Billings, is facing budget troubles.  The leader of any school district, legislative district, State or Country can have a hard time keeping their job in a tough economy. 

The local school board for District 2 experienced a huge increase in public comment and input during the last few months leading up to the forced departure of the superintendent.  People were gathered together, carrying signs and chanting their cause. 

The school board members, an all volunteer force, were discussing how upset people were and what they could do about it.  It would be fair to say that there was not overall agreement in the school board group about what the cause of the dissent was among the teachers, administration and the public.  In fact, many feathers were being ruffled from several sides.  SD2 Trustees voted to terminate the Superintendent's contract and buy him out.

This whole time, during the public school board meetings, we never heard from the superintendent.  He was there, sitting, with his lips zipped.  He did bring an attorney, which is perfectly reasonable, but still, why so quiet?  Could this be part of the problem?  Communication skills, zip? 

I hope the job search for the next superintendent includes the criteria of "great communicator".  Maybe you need a couple of people to serve in this job, or at least a "press secretary" who can communicate to the public.

A skilled administrator cannot lead without being a good communicator.  People are much more willing to forgive shortfalls if they "feel" like their leader is driving them down the right road.  Sometimes you have to take a couple of turns, but if the pack doesn't know why you're going down that different road, they'll think you're on the wrong one!

Uruguay is a long way from Billings Montana.  We need seasoned teachers in our district, after all, we have some of the highest testing students in the country right here.  They didn't get that way without good teachers, administrators, board and public.

This is just my humble opinion :)

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Wanda Thomas

Many Dream Of Living In Montana

I'm One of the Lucky One's That Already Do!

Wanda Thomas

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Call or Text 406-698-8640 for help with all things Montana.

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Rainmaker
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Chris Smith
Re/Max Chay Realty Inc., Brokerage - New Tecumseth, ON
South Simcoe, Caledon, King, Orangeville Real Esta

Wanda, communitcation is definitely a requisite of good leadership.  I hope your next superintendant has the skills required to keep up your high local standards.

Oct 12, 2011 03:06 AM #1
Anonymous
Ken Mueller

Thanks for bringing this business up for discussion, Wanda. It has been a little puzzling in that no one in the usual media outlets has written anything about what actually went on. The board hired Beeman a year or two ago, and then fired him. Same board I think. Maybe we ought to suggest a special election for a new school board too.

 

By the way, your comment on "highest testing students in the country" did not include the parents. And it would seem to be a no-brainer that we would develop methods for assessing how good or bad "teachers, administrators, board and public" really are.

I'm guessing but I think the teachers got him fired because he was beginning the process of getting better quality teachers for a reasonable salary.

Oct 12, 2011 05:20 AM #2
Rainmaker
184,178
Wanda Thomas
Montana Homestead Brokers, Broker, CRS, GRI, SFR, RN - Billings, MT
Billings Montana Real Estate

Thanks Chris, it's a tough market out there, for everyone, including finding and keeping good superintendents.

Hello Ken, I think the main media outlets in Billings have covered the story pretty well.  It's interesting that the last school board meeting, that voted on the compensation package, was attended by less than 25 people. 

It's tough for the board to get all of their work done on so many issues, so I'm very thankful that they sit up there and work.  Let's hope they can hire someone who is willing and able to help us through our tough times.

Oct 12, 2011 09:33 AM #3
Anonymous
August West

Uruguay is a nice country, if you are willng to take the rather rough ferry over the RIver Plata from Buenos Aires.  The problem is, if you tried to pull a stunt like the teachers did in this town in an effort to defy authority, the Uruguay authorities would not be so foregiving. 

Oct 12, 2011 04:17 PM #4
Anonymous
Ken Mueller

To Mr West: I suspect our teachers would have a rough time in Uruguay as so few speak the language. Maybe I haven't been paying attention: what "stunt" did the teachers pull off recently?

To Wanda: I have read articles in the papers and heard stuff on TV but no one actually answered the question Why did we hire this guy and then fire him so quickly? Of course it was because 5 of 9 suddenly became angry, but why? I too am glad that someone is willing to serve on the board but the board's actions suggest that it will be increasingly difficult to find someone "able to help us through our tough times."

Oct 13, 2011 03:41 AM #5
Anonymous
josh

@ Mr West

Actually Uruguayan authorities respect freedom MUCH more than USAmerican, and the police in Uruguay are more afraid of civilians than vice versa, it's like how USA is supposed to be in that respect. Uruguay is MANY times freer than USA is or ever was, and the authorities/police are incredibly respectful, polite, and calm.

The problem with Uruguay though, is poorer pay vs cost of living ratio, and less employment opportunity, along with of course the difference in languages.

Dec 25, 2011 01:25 PM #6
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Rainmaker
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Wanda Thomas

Billings Montana Real Estate
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