4 Steps to Engagement — Leadership Strategies from November’s #suptchat Tweet-Up

Leadership was top of mind for the founders of #suptchat this month, becoming the much discussed focus of November’s Tweet-up. By bringing superintendents from across North America together, #suptchat discussions offer great perspectives on the issues facing leaders in education. The question we are showcasing this month is:

Q: When becoming a superintendent, how do you begin to engage your community in meaningful ways?

Focus on the Positive

Look at media interviews as *opportunities* to showcase the brand of your school district. #suptchat

Recognize that all regardless of income/Ed level/cultural want to be involved & want what’s best for their kids #suptchat #leadexcellence

#suptchat treat your community members and parents as assets who can only strengthen your learning organization.


Learn from Others

Meet with all stakeholders and ask ?’s to gain an understanding of the district. From your learning dev. a plan of action. #suptchat


Use Multiple Platforms

Engage in as many ways possible Rotary, Chambers, know elected officials by first name, and don’t forget the senior citizens! #suptchat

#suptchat I have spent time with men’s clubs, church groups, city councils and all foundations in the district.

Listening tour, Thoughtexchange Platform, Informal Mtg with Supt, Meet w Direct Repts monthly at minimum #suptchat #LeadExcellence


Share Your Message
Coffee clutches or dinners. Have community member invite 20 of closest friends and attend dinner to share info. #suptchat

Communicate in their space. Find out where they live virtually & go there. #suptchat This has never been said: “I can’t wait to go home and look at the district website”

Community coffees and focus groups work well for me. Can you say no to a donut? While they chew, share important data + wait #suptchat

Continually deliver the message about our public schools. Stand strong, stay true to our mission of educating ALL students. #suptchat

These tweets, shared by current Superintendents, form a simple plan for engaging that works either as a starting point for those embarking on engaging their communities, or as guiding principles for those who are already established in their communities.

Start with your own mindset. How are you seeing your stakeholders and how can you see them in the most positive light possible? From there, reach out and listen in as many ways as possible so their thoughts inform your plan. Finally, share what you heard and how you are making it happen. Keep sharing, and then start the process again.

What are your thoughts? What made you successful in connecting with your community?

Share your perspectives by commenting below, or email us with your ideas for blog posts that could further this discussion.

About #suptchat
On the first Wednesday of every month at 7:00pm CT, a group of engaged and forward thinking superintendents gather around the Twitter hashtag #suptchat to share ideas and strategies for improving education.

The chat is co-moderated by Mike Lubelfeld, Ed.D. (@mikelubelfeld) and Nick Polyak, Ed.D. (@npolyak) both Superintendents and engaged digital collaborators. Read this Month’s #suptchat

Read Telling Your Story – Successful Strategies from October’s #suptchat Tweet-Up

Read Developing Critical Thinking Skills in Students – 11 Strategies from September’s #suptchat Tweet-Up

About the Author

Shonagh MacRae

Shonagh is our Director of Discover and describes herself as continually curious about people. This curiosity led her to a Master’s in Organizational Psychology where she learned a whole lot about how humans interact in groups and how to support them. Shonagh has also spent a lot of time in her community supporting at-risk populations. This work further honed her ability to connect with a broad range of personalities. When she’s not working with Thoughtexchange, Shonagh is most often found out in the garden with her hands in the soil.

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