I served the Verona Area School District (VASD) in a variety of capacities for 27 years. Most of that service was focused directly on students as an administrator in four schools. I had the good fortune to conclude my service as the district’s superintendent.
I have worked in six Wisconsin school districts. Throughout my career, I was committed to making the success of students an absolute priority. Most importantly, I learned that student success is directly related to staff ownership for the school’s mission and goals.
In a recent interview with the Verona Press, our Superintendent, Dr. Clardy stated, “the role of administration is to support what teachers and staff are doing at the building level.” He indicated that he will foster leadership among school-based teams using the concept of an inverted pyramid, where staff voices are at the top and carry the greatest weight. I am so encouraged.
While Dr. Clardy understands the value of a plan for continuous improvement, he stresses the need to appreciate the unique journey of each school and the importance of support to accelerate progress. To date, Dr. Clardy has devoted a significant portion of his time in the district listening to students, staff and parents. He shared with the press that he has heard their voices and perspectives and is looking for new voices and perspectives.
Some of those reading this letter will recall the 1989 film, Field of Dreams. Early in the movie, Kevin Costner’s character (Iowa farmer Ray Kinsella) heard a voice, “If you build it, he will come.” The reference was to building a baseball field that would inspire the return of legendary player Shoeless Joe Jackson. In education, the inspiration comes from within; if you build it, they will not come. The staff must build it.
My thanks to Dr. Clardy and the VASD staff for their commitment to our students’ success as they enter a complex and challenging year. The best is yet to come!
Bill Conzemius, PhD
Former Verona Area School District Superintendent