Superintendents: The lessons we learned in 2016

4 superintendents share their most valuable takeaways from the past year.


School Improvement Models Should Be Shared Across the Globe

I’ve spent my career encouraging students and teachers to “get outside their comfort zones” and to take risks in their learning. This past year I accepted an opportunity to follow my own advice when Diane Ullman, program advisor of the UCONN Administrator Preparation Program, invited me to become the fourth member of a team of superintendents, each teaching one week-long module to approximately 50 Jordanian principals in Amman, Jordan. With assistance and collaboration from Jason Culbertson of Insight Education Group, I spent the week sharing my knowledge and experiences about school improvement, while learning from the wisdom and experiences of the participants. It was especially moving to meet and learn alongside the Queen Rania Teacher Academy staff, who coordinated our visit. As we shared stories and learned from one another, it quickly became apparent that, despite differing contexts, our shared passion for and commitment to education brought us together as colleagues and friends. My experiences in Jordan reinforced my belief that we need to regularly push ourselves into zones of “optimal learning,” where we are challenged in purposeful and consequential ways. Through such experiences, we learn powerful and lasting lessons about our students, our staff, our profession, and ultimately ourselves. —Dr. Bryan D. Luizzi, Superintendent, New Canaan Public Schools (CT)


Becoming a Great Leader Is Not One Thing

The biggest lessons I learned in 2016 are the aspects of being a great leader.

  • Great leaders set BOLD goals for their team.
  • Great leaders are honest with themselves and their players about where they currently stand but are extremely flexible on how their players get the win.
  • Great leaders never give up on their team. They spend their time ripping down walls and breaking down barriers to success for all players.
  • Great leaders are passionate about what they do, but know that it is really the players that count when it comes to winning big.
  • For every new project, a great leader must set the vision of what is intended to be accomplished, collaboratively deciding with the players what must be done to reach the goal every step of the way.
  • Great leaders recognize that each player must own their learning, but have opportunities to hone their skills.

—Tammy Mangus, Superintendent of the Monticello Community School District (NY) and a supporter of Reading Horizons digital reading curriculum

Want to share a great resource? Let us know at


We’re Celebrating 25 Years with 25 Giveaways!

Enter Each Day to Win the Daily Gift Card Giveaway

and the Grand Prize drawing for an

Apple iPad!

Visit eSchool News each day through April 1, 2023 to enter the daily $25 Gift Card drawing.
Each daily entry counts as one entry for the grand prize drawing. See details and rules.
Giveaway is open only to legal residents of the fifty (50) United States and Canada who are employed full- or part-time in K-12 education.