By Mike Leichliter
Mary Edith and I arrived at our new home in South Duxbury on June 29 and have now completed most of the unboxing of our belongings. This place now feels like home to us. As we drive in the six towns that make up this school district and continue to meet people, we are reminded on a daily basis that we made the right decision to be here. While the scenery is spectacular, the people who make up this community are even more impressive and have been so hospitable and welcoming to both of us. Thank you!
I am now in my second full week as superintendent of the Harwood Unified Union School District and feel that I am getting acclimated to new systems and processes. I had my first official community activity: the unforgettable experience of marching in the Warren Fourth of July parade along with some students and Warren's two school board members. I am now counting the days until the 2023 parade! The school board has three upcoming meet and greets to introduce me to the community, so I hope to see many of you at one of these events as well. For more details, please see https://www.waterburyroundabout.org/education/v8tz8fz9v3lfmk4vccl69qq9qmbyzw.
A number of people have asked about my initial goals as superintendent, so I wanted to take a moment to share with you my initial areas of focus. 1) Prioritize the start of school 2) Launch a formal entry plan process; and 3) Immerse myself in the life of the community.
- First, the important work to successfully launch the school year takes place in July and August. I am working with principals, district office staff, the teachers’ association, and the school board to be certain that we are ready for the start of school on day one.
- Next, a formal entry plan is absolutely critical. I believe I must know and understand the school district and the six towns before I begin to act. Accordingly, I have been meeting with individuals in the schools and community to understand the strengths and needs of HUUSD schools. This includes a community-wide survey I shared at the beginning of June and is still open through the end of August. While my entry plan will extend beyond the first 90 days, this process will enable me to continue to meet students, teachers, staff members, parents, and other community members through an intentional process. It will also enable me to ask questions, solicit thoughts and ideas of the schools’ strengths and needs, and then report out to the school board and community what I have learned. This process will lead to the development of clear short-term and long-term goals. The survey can be found at the following link:com/tvr84xuj.
- Finally, I am committed to becoming a part of the life of the six towns that comprise the district. My wife and I are now living in the school district and are excited to make this area our home. Being a local resident is a great way to get to know people. Activities like hiking, biking, kayaking, eating in local restaurants, and shopping in local stores and markets are some of the best ways to get to know people so that I can more effectively do my job as the new school superintendent.
Thank you again for all of your help, support, and input that helped me to be prepared for day one in this role. I am honored to be your school superintendent and look forward to continuing to meet the people of this community.
Leichliter is the new superintendent of schools for the Harwood Unified