District Administration July 2018 - 22

PDMatters
Why superintendents should blog
Powerful social media platform lets leaders connect with colleagues and communities
By Michael Niehoff

M

any of us know that the explosion of digital publishing
allows educators to share
our respective stories. One option that
education leaders are using is blogging. The number of education blogs is
quickly expanding. Many superintendents know that publishing a regular
blog is a great way to accomplish a
variety of communication goals-these
include sharing the story, modeling, reflective practices, expanding one's professional learning network and more.
Here, a few superintendents elaborate
on the advantages of blogging.
Sharing a transparent story
School districts have a story. Sure they
all have mission and vision statements,
but to make those come to life, one
can tell stories through blogs.
"Blogging has provided another
option to share my experiences with
internal and external community
members," says Michael McCormick,
superintendent of Val Verde USD in
California (www.k12sharing.org/blog).
"They get a window into my experiences of all aspects of our district and
community," he says.
There is a demand for transparency
from our stakeholders, says Superintendent Joe Sanfelippo, of the Fall Creek
School District in Wisconsin (www.
jsanfelippo.com/fcsuperintendent).
"Because blogging pushes my thinking,"
he says, "the community gets to see the
real-world complexities of decisions we
make and initiatives we prioritize."

DAmag.me/blogging

22 July 2018

Blogging has provided
another option to share
my experiences with
internal and external
community members.
They get a window into
my experiences of all
aspects of our district
and community.
Modeling as the lead lifelong learner
Many superintendents embrace blogging as a means to not only talk the
talk, but to walk the walk when it
comes to being a lifelong learner.
"Modeling self-reflection and sharing stories of success-and failures-in
the age of social media are big motivators for me to blog," says Andrew
Schwab, associate superintendent for
learning and innovation at Union
School District in New Jersey (http://
anotherschwab.com). Many superintendents appreciate that blogging also
models reflective thinking.
Schwab feels an obligation to demonstrate continuous learning for his
staff and students. "If the only people
in the building learning are ages 4 to
18, we are doing it wrong," he says.
'Why we are changing education'
Educators have long known that reflective practices correlate to higher-level
thinking. Superintendent Pam Gildersleeve-Hernandez, of San Antonio
Union School District in California,
says blogging is a great way for leaders
to increase their own metacognitive

development. "I blog for self-reflection
of my current practice and the understanding of why we are changing education," says Gildersleeve-Hernandez
(https://pgilders.com). "As we write,
we think differently about what our
thoughts are and what direction we're
heading."
Expanding learning networks
Superintendents need to connect to
their stakeholders, but also to the
larger world of education leaders and
change agents. Blogging expands one's
professional learning network as well,
says Val Verde's McCormick.
"Superintendents have a lot in
common," he says. "They have unique
access to their districts, have more contact with stakeholders and are likely to
see a bit further into the future of their
district's implementation of current
and future initiatives."
McCormick says this perspective is
more powerful when superintendents
connect and engage by sharing each
other's reflections through blogging.
Working to stay current and relevant in an ever-changing professional
environment can be challenging in
terms of time, says San Antonio's
Gildersleeve-Hernandez.
"It's really an expectation from our
communities to speak from a place of
experiences and not just observation,"
she says. "But when we write for a
larger, public audience, we are more
thoughtful, creative and articulate." DA
Longtime educator Michael Niehoff writes on
transformational leadership and professional
development.

See more superintendent blog links
in the online version of this article.
District Administration


https://www.pgilders.com http://www.anotherschwab.com http://www.k12sharing.org/blog http://www.anotherschwab.com http://www.jsanfelippo.com/fcsuperintendent https://www.districtadministration.com/article/why-superintendents-should-blog http://www.DAmag.me/blogging

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of District Administration July 2018

District Administration July 2018 - 1
District Administration July 2018 - Cover1
District Administration July 2018 - Cover2
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District Administration July 2018 - Cover3
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