After leading the Mineola School Board in a team-building exercise at last week’s goal-setting workshop, facilitator Randy Hancock, a retired superintendent, gave examples of how that exercise – balancing 12 nails on the head of another nail – translated to what occurs in public education.
The challenges faced by educators can be “things you think can’t be done,” Hancock said.
Educators are the best at achieving the unachievable, he said.
It takes balancing what you need to do with what you can do – and the biggest drawback is resources.
There is also a stigma in education about failing (as board members did several times before solving the puzzle), but that is how you learn, he said.
Oftentimes the attempt to solve a problem involves going at it directly, rather than looking around for other possible solutions – as was the key to solving the nail puzzle.
Leaders want to attack a problem head-on, he said, but sometimes the solution lies elsewhere.
Among the challenges faced by school districts such as Mineola’s is an inability to compete, financially, for the best teachers in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. That means growing your own, he advised.
The biggest inequality in public education involves resources for new facilities. Only fast growing districts can afford them, Hancock said.
The board then delved into its previous strategic plans from 2016, which board members agreed needed tweaking.
They evaluated the district’s vision statement, mission statement and core values in areas of student achievement, personnel, finances, facilities, community and safety.
They agreed that the safety of students and facilities should be a separate goal.
Security has been the focus of several recent moves by the board and administration.
The proposed goals will be brought to the board at an upcoming meeting for formal adoption.
Hancock noted that the goals are to be established by the board, while how to achieve them is the job of the administration.
He reminded the board that they’re in the business of children, and if they forget that, they are off track.