Dr. John Tharp is superintendent of Greendale Schools. Dr. Tharp joined the district in August of 2012 and has 20 years of experience in public education. He previously served as an assistant superintendent in a large suburban district in Tennessee for two years. Prior to that, he was a high school principal, assistant principal, teacher, and coach. Dr. Tharp received his doctorate in educational leadership from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and was a James Madison Memorial Foundation Fellowship Award winner. He is the author of one book on school reform.
When I became Superintendent of Greendale Schools last fall, the Board of Education asked me to spend the first months of my tenure at GSD observing, listening, and learning. The Board explained that Greendale Schools are built on a strong foundation of excellence. They asked me to observe "the Greendale Way," getting to know the faculty, staff, students, and the overall way we do business here.
I've visited classrooms, met with teachers, shook hands with students, spoken with parents and guardians, and learned much about Greendale Schools in these first 100 days or so. I learned first hand that what the School Board members told me is entirely true:
- Greendale Schools are excellent.
- Greendale students are achievers.
- Greendale teachers are committed to meeting student needs.
- Greendale parents are advocates for their children and for the schools.
So now it's my turn -- to present my recommendations on how I will build on this strong, solid foundation to advance Greendale Schools as a 21st Century School District.
At recent Board of Education, faculty, and parent meetings, I have discussed my eight focus areas. Each addresses particular tenets of the GSD Strategic Plan and includes:
- Accelerate Academic Achievement
- Foster Open Communication
- Work in an Atmosphere of Consensus, Collaboration, and No-Fault
- Ensure Fairness, Equity, and Excellence in Programming for Diverse Populations
- Navigate Educational Reform
- Embrace New Technology to Develop Critical Consumers of Information
- Advance District Instructional Leadership
- Promote Good Stewardship of Taxpayer Resources
Over the next few weeks, I will use this column to explain each of these points and how faculty and staff will work together to address each -- all the while, continuing to do what we do -- The Greendale Way.
Dr. John Tharp