Superintendent of Schools Paul Vallas who’s officially on the job this week issued this introductory letter to school system stakeholders:
I hope all of you have had a enjoyable and relaxing holiday vacation. The holidays always fly by so fast. I want to take this opportunity to express to you how thrilled I am to be here as your superintendent and for the opportunity to work with you to build a dynamic and successfully school district.
Our mission here is simple.
1. To eliminate this year’s budget deficit while developing a long term plan to bring financial stability to the district so that there is certainty in funding and that schools are not burdened with the uncertainty as to when the next budget cuts are coming.
2. Develop a long term comprehensive plan to ensure that the central administration is indeed a school improvement and support organization and that schools have the modes, resources and training needed to guarantee that they exceed State performance standards.
3. To recruit, train and mentor the next generation of school leaders so as to ensure long term that the district will be financially stable and will continue to advance academically.
I arrive after a successful four year tenure as head of the Louisiana Recovery School District which included schools that had been destroyed or damaged by Hurricane Katrina. Partnering with me in this work will be Sandra Kase, a long time educator who achieved national renown for her work as the Superintendent of the Chancellor’s District in New York City. Additionally, Don Kennedy, an exceptional district administrator with an impressive record in school district operations and financial management and Marlene Siegel, a renowned school district budget expert from New York City will be part of the team.
We arrive with no preconceived notions about the district. Our intent will be to quickly identify the strengths and weaknesses and the needs of the district and to design and implement our plans accordingly. We will build upon your successes and the progress you have made and will pursue strategies that are familiar and create minimal disruption. Everything we do will be governed by the single overarching objective of improving and supporting classroom instruction.
We look forward to meeting with principals and assistant principals and their primary teacher leaders in the coming weeks and will be visiting schools to meet school based staff and students personally.
Good fortune and health to you and yours in the coming school year. I look forward to working with you.
Paul G. Vallas
Superintendent of Schools