Henry (Hank) Thiele, Superintendent for Community High School District 99 in Thorndale (IL) can’t stop looking forward.
Despite the current, daily chaos of re-opening and lockdowns, hybrid and remote learning, and other disruptive undercurrents affecting schools, he believes that being prepared for what’s next is as important as dealing with the problems of right now.
In this conversation with eSchool News, Hank offers his insights for education professionals that will have to deal with fractured communities in the future even after they are “back to normal.”
The following has been edited for clarity.
eSN: It must be maddening to manage a district in times like this.
HT: In this current situation, sometimes we’re building programs in three days that we would have spent three years building in the past. These are just massive seismic organizational changes. And, you’re pulling on resources and pushing people so quickly at uncomfortable rates. All at the same time, your number one priority is keeping everybody healthy and safe. So it’s an all-new vocabulary and mindset—just things that we never had had concepts around before.