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The new superintendents guide to community engagement

The Association of California School Administrators is the largest umbrella organization for school leaders in the United States, serving more than 17,000 California educators.

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"The central idea behind public engagement is not public rela ons but ge ng the public to own its own schools. You may be tempted to think of the schools as yours. They're not. In the final analysis, they belong to the public. If local ci zens don't feel that deep in their bones, you will not be able to count on public support when you need it. It's important, therefore, that you get your local community thoroughly engaged, connected, and deeply commi ed to its schools." — The Superintendent's Fieldbook 1 Introduc on Whether you're brand new to being a superintendent or are just star ng out at a new district, your challenge is unique. You are expected to listen to stakeholders to discover priori es and build trust, while at the same me provide a plan and vision for the district—all of which need to be informed by stakeholder priori es and again require their trust for support. Doing all of this at the same me is no easy task. "You're not supposed to have a strategic plan going in, because the community wants you to listen and understand them first," explains Dr. David Vannasdall, Superintendent of California's Arcadia Unified School District. "But the first thing a er you're hired, everyone says: 'What's your plan? What are your goals for the district?' It's a very vulnerable situa on to be in." Over the past four years, Thoughtexchange has helped incoming district superintendents across the na on build trust and discover stakeholder priori es. Rich data from their exchanges can be used to drive strategic plans and other decisions that are well-received by stakeholders because they clearly reflect their stated priori es—o en in their own words. In the following pages, we'll explore some of the challenges many superintendents face when they're new to the job or at a new district—and how Thoughtexchange helps educa on leaders succeed. WHITE PAPER The new superintendent's guide to community engagement 1 1 The Superintendent's Fieldbook - h ps://

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