Monday, June 28, 2010

Holliday Reflects on Year 1

This from Terry Holliday - the Commish:

As June comes to a close, the first school year on the job is also coming to a close. During May and June of 2009, I was engaged in the interview process for the Commissioner of Education post.

During the interview process, I talked to a number of superintendents and other stakeholders in Kentucky. I heard a lot of pride in the accomplishments of schools and school districts. I also heard about the exciting challenges ahead with the implementation of Senate Bill 1 (SB 1).

As I asked questions about priorities for the commissioner, there were two things that surfaced – improve communication and help build district capacity of school districts to implement SB 1 and improve student learning.

Early in my tenure, KDE worked to implement specific customer satisfaction requirements for communication. These requirements include a response time of 24 hours or less, an accurate response and a professional attitude...

I also met with each regional education cooperative at least twice this year. (KDE liaisons attend every cooperative meeting.) I have visited more than 60 school districts and more than 90 schools to hear firsthand about the challenges facing educators. I average at least three speeches or meetings with stakeholder groups every week to focus on collaboration and improvement. Advisory councils for school boards, parents, superintendents, principals, teachers, closing achievement gaps, special education, gifted and talented, and accountability are meeting on a regular basis to communicate with and inform decisions of KDE and the Kentucky Board of Education. Of course, we have also implemented Monday and Friday consolidated e-mails, this weekly blog, Twitter blasts and Facebook accounts to help improve communication.

The other area for KDE was to implement policies and procedures to build district capacity. In our work with deployment of SB 1 around the Common Core Standards in language arts and mathematics, that is exactly the approach we are using. We are building capacity of higher education institutions, school board members, school superintendents, building administrators, central office instructional leaders and teacher leaders. We also are working closely with the Prichard Committee to create a comprehensive communication plan for parents and the business community. We have had a number of other states and national organizations looking at our deployment model for the Common Core Standards for possible replication. This speaks well to the great KDE team and education partners we have in Kentucky...

While these are difficult economic times, we must continue to improve all levels of education through improved communication and collaboration. I am honored to be working with great people all across Kentucky who are focused on helping all children succeed.


Anonymous said...

Oh, my. We could have done so better in the selection of our commissioner of education....

Richard Day said...

Perhaps, but why do you say that?

I've been failry impressed with Holliday's ability to walk the tightrope that is Kentucky politics.

He may not have been successful in getting the legislature to go along with his very moderate charter plan, (thus failing to gain lots of money for the state) but almost all of the energy behind that movement came from folks who are typically seen as enemies of public education, so I'm not sure how shocking that really was. Plus, his own administrators were not so hot on the idea either, but he was able to gein enough buy-in that they didn't torpedo his efforts - at least not publicly.

Despite this, Holiday has kept going. He is now looking to private foundations for financial support to implement SB 1, and these days, he might just get it.

If he can find the money to do a good job replacing CATS with a system that is fairer to teachers (and no, it won't be perfect either) and keeps us all focused on student achievement he will have done a great thing.

But tell me....what bugs you about him?

Anonymous said...

Well, Dr. Holliday does not strike me as an intellectual. How about Mr. Sexton? He'd be perfect....

But, in all fairness, it was Dr. Holliday's office that found Peggy Petrelli not guilty. And you have to love him for that fact alone. I'm only surprised Dr. Silberman didn't try to eliminate the state superintendent of education's office, too!

When is the article coming on the dismissal of the board attorney from FCPS? I'm hoping it will be soon. The Herald-Leader is awfully silent these days....

Richard Day said...

An intellectual? Holliday strikes me as a practitioner but he's plenty smart enough. I'm not sure he's quoting the ancient philosophers on a regular basis but Kentuckians sure seem to understand him. My students did, and responded very well. My sense is that he's a striaght-shooter and a planner - and I like that.

Bob Sexton is what I think of as a public intellectual - as was his mentor, Ed Prichard. I believe it is his highest and best use.

There was talk of trying to get Sexton to take the Commissioner's job after Tom Boysen left but I'm not sure he was interested.

As for the H-L story, I'm officially concerned that it may have been spiked.

By now, they have had time for their open records requests to have been returned and time to touch base with Brenda Allen. I expected something earlier this week.

But I have not had time to talk to Jim Warren or follow up with Brenda Allen I don't really know. What I do know is that H-L editors are aware of the story and Jim was directed to do some work on it. Since then....dunno.