Superintendent unveils strategic plan

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By Suzette Cook

Staff Writer

Levy County Superintendent Jeff Edison stood at the podium at the Feb. 12 School Board meeting and pointed to the district mission displayed on the wall behind him.

 “Our mission is to educate all students in a safe environment and to graduate them ready for college and career success,” the statement reads.

Every year, the school board approves a strategic plan. This year, Edison is changing how the board achieves that goal.

From the podium, Edison brought the attention of the board members, staff, community members, teachers and students at the meeting to an 8-foot board with five topics listed. He assigned a board member to each topic.

Student achievement: Ashley Clemenzi, human resources: Cameron Asbell, fiscal resources: Brad Etheridge, public relations: Chris Cowart and safe schools Paige Brookins. He also assigned district staff and school administrators to those topics.

“Every school district is required to have a strategic plan,” Edison said. “A lot of times, we redo something we’ve adopted, something we were working on.”

This year, Edison said he wanted the process to be inclusive, so he added a District instructional team (DIT), a teacher, a parent and a student to each topic as well.

“One part comes in from the school level,” Edison said about the teacher, parent, student, DIT component. “Principals will take the plans back to their schools to get feedback and bring that back to the board level,” he said about the administrator, staff and board component.

“We meet monthly with administrators, and everybody will be updated at one time,” he said. “They (principals) take that information back to their team. Your principal is acting as a liaison.”

Board member Brad Etheridge commended the superintendent on his plan. “It’s a paradigm shift of a grassroots approach to managing the district,” he said. “It’s bringing everyone to the table, I appreciate it.”

According to Edison the plan “is essentially making a work group and bringing in the board members who will have to financially and by policy support what we do.

“It should hopefully flow back and forth,” he added. “We’ll talk about where we are at as a team, everybody will be updated at one time and bring that back to their team.

Edison said he matched staff with expertise in each category and avoided placing board members with principals of schools in their territory.

“We’re trying to avoid communities in each silo,” he said. “Don’t put a representative of Bronson on a team with Bronson school administrators.

“This will be the guiding document and process that we follow in what we do,” Edison said about the document he was presenting. “This is how we make decisions about what we value as a district.

“Hopefully, in a couple, three months, we will adopt a strategic plan for the district,” he added. “We’re trying to bring the school-based management into the district-based decision making process.

Edison said he expects the board to adopt the new plan in about two months.

“We will evaluate our mission statement. Is this what we truly believe? And we go from there?” he said, and reminded the board that there are new priorities before them such as advancing career technical education and AVID programs.

“At our board meetings, we’ll come together and discuss what’s going on. You can all have input,” he said. “And next year, we’re going to do it again.”