Educational leadership is changing

The face of education has changed in Essex County and in the country at large. I do not recall a school superintendent that was female in the 70s, now women are an important feature of the Essex County school landscape. In my day, many superintendents were middle-aged or older. Today, we are beginning to see a number of younger school superintendents in Essex County. Bill Larrow, Moriah Central School Superintendent, is part of the changing face of education. Bill is 36 years old and has a welcoming gentleness about him. At a recent meeting with Bill, he shared some of his educational philosophy with me. Bill feels he has found his dream job. He is in a community that he loves and has received tremendous support in his role as school superintendent. Bill is always prospecting to find better ways to help students achieve their personal best. Part of the underpinning philosophy is to enable students to take chances and not to be afraid to fail sometimes. Creating that safe environment where students will reach for their best is part of what Larrow is pursuing. The experience of youth today is very different from forty years ago both at school and at home. Students from yesteryear relied more on rote memory. Students today utilize the internet to compile a body of information in a day that would have taken previous generations a week to acquire. Computers and the internet are as much a part of learning today as the Dewey Decimal System was years ago. It is not necessarily better or worse, but rather an expression of a larger cultural shift. Larrow is reaching out to parents in a variety of ways to create an educational partnership. His school utilizes a computer-based program called en-grade. This is an online opportunity for parents to see how their son or daughter is performing at school. It also affords parents an opportunity to communicate with school staff. I was most impressed by Larrows positive regard for the students. Words are important; they tell us about the value or attitude that prevails about a person, place or thing. Larrows words tell me that he is a powerful advocate for students at his school and in the community. That is definitely a good thing. Remember, all kids count. Scot Hurlburt can be reached by e-mail at hurlburt@wildblue.net

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