One of the favorite features of the Learning Counsel’s Learning Leadership Symposia is the Guest Administrator Panel. This is a no-holds-barred discussion featuring some of the top minds in education from the Symposium location. This Nashville area discussion featured Dr. Chris Causey, Superintendent at Robertson County Schools, and Dr. Janis Epperson, Superintendent at Humboldt City Schools.

LeiLani Cauthen, CEO and Publisher of Learning Counsel Research and Publishing, asked the Panel, “I'm just going to go on a tangent. You're both playing with space and time, which is a theme we heard about earlier. Also, you know, there are whole grants here for playing with space and time, $2 million worth. So, we are in that moment of pressure on how you use space and how you use time. How are you perceiving it in your district?”

According to Dr. Epperson, “I think it's different statewide. I don't even know if our state department has fully gone back into the workforce. I think a lot of them still work from home. From the state perspective, locally, I think we're back trying to avoid that we're normal, but we're trying to get back to some sense of normalcy. At our current campus, we function around what we call the TACO. So that's four domains that we try to spend our money based on. If, if it doesn't fit under the Talent, the Academics, the Culture and the Climate and the Operations, we try to steer our way back from it.

So, we take care of the principals and then we let the principals take care of the campuses. We try to push everything back to the building level or to the campus level because we don't want to get involved in it. To me, that is someone trying to manipulate our time. And if we let them deal with the principals on the campuses, then they can take care of it and they may never have to come see us. We are a rural area and a really small school district, so we didn't get a lot of money. We got enough, but we would love to have more of course.”

According to Dr. Causey, “We learned over the past few years, businesses outside education have had to become all things for all people. In education, we were never all things for all people. We were very good for a select group of kids or teachers. But we've gotten to a point now where we need to be all things for all people. Meaning that from the time we pick you up in the morning at 6:30 until the time we drop you off, we very well could be the most stable part of a child's life. With that stability comes a lot of responsibility. And one of the things that we have had to do is really get involved in the economic and development of the county.

“So, we are now step-by-step with the Robertson County Economic Development Board. We had a group called Creators Wanted that actually was on site at White House Heritage this morning, thanks to Electrolux. They're a huge partner. Schneider Electric is a huge partner as well, and they're actually on site this week teaching kids advanced manufacturing. It was the first time I've ever seen a group of kids that weren't on their cell phone at any point. These kids are yearning for skills that will help them have a job that can provide for a family. In the past, kids were passionate about something and then we tried to steer it. So, the kids now, you have to gauge their interests and give them enough opportunities and build their skill level so that when that trigger comes, when that seed is planted, then they're ready to rock and roll as opposed to the way that we used to do it.”

This is only a portion of this wide open, highly beneficial panel discussion. You won’t want to miss a moment of this fast-moving video; it’s chock full of great ideas you can use, each one battle tested in districts like yours.


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