I’m used to reading about the challenges faced by first-time teachers, and I’ve seen several articles about the challenges faced by first-time principals.
The first article I’ve come across about the challenges of first-time rural school superintendents, however, is Cari L. Wrysinski-Guden’s piece at the School Superintendents Association website.
The article includes four profiles of four rural Wisconsin superintendents. It’s well worth reading, and it’s actually readable, not a boring piece with 1,000-word paragraphs full of academic jargon.
Wrysinski-Guden’s first experience as a superintendent was in a 600-student school district in central Wisconsin. She did her doctoral dissertation on the roles and challenges that other first-time rural superintendents had.
A sample from Wrysinski-Guden’s article is this quote from Justin Jerson, who was promoted to superintendent from being high school principal:
Many times [school board members] went to school and graduated from high school, so they’re an expert. I’ve tried, over the years, to inform them, but they’ve lived in the rural town for 60 years and they’ve been involved with the schools since age 5, as a student or a parent or now a board member for 20 years. How can an outsider to our district tell me differently?