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Superintendent's column: VISD has established culture of excellence

By BY ROBERT JAKLICH
Dec. 7, 2013 at 6:07 a.m.


As I travel across our "612 Square Miles of Excellence," I continually encounter student success and achievement at every stop. We have much to celebrate in the VISD, and we are extremely proud to showcase the myriad of educational achievements of our students and staff.

On Friday, I had the distinct privilege of presenting the "State of the District" report to the Victoria ISD Leadership Team. We would like to thank our Board of Trustees, community members, higher education and business partners, VISD staff and, most importantly, our VISD student leaders who made this work session so productive and successful. The opportunity for all students to learn and achieve excellence can only occur when a commitment from all stakeholders ensures the written, taught and learned curriculum is aligned and organized. Our teachers, campus staff, administration, support staff and our Curriculum, Instruction and Accountability division have done an amazing job of working together and spiraling the major competencies that our students are expected to master, while at the same time providing proficiency and understanding.

We also addressed and discussed the importance of establishing and maintaining a "culture of excellence." All parties agreed that culture does not change because we desire it to. Culture only changes when it reflects the realities of the people working together in the organization each and every day. As you can clearly see, the outcomes of the VISD Leadership Team discussions certainly indicate we are on the road to great success.

Great school districts care as much about values as they do about victory, as much about purpose as they do about profit and as much about being useful as they do about being successful. As educators, our job is to look into the future and see the organization not as it is but as it should be. As a school district, we will continue to work collaboratively to embrace change and to view change as a process and not an event. Change in its true form must be external as well as internal. This requires each individual as well as the organization to understand that if we can no longer change a situation, then we must challenge ourselves to be the agent of change. Robert Townsend said it best when he stated "True leadership must be for the benefit of the followers and not for the enrichment of the leaders." In the VISD, we realize that we are not in the education business serving people, we are in the people business serving education.

During our discussions, we were reminded of the story "212 Degrees - The Extra Degree of Effort." You see, at 211 degrees, water is hot. At 212 degrees, it boils. With boiling water comes steam, and steam can power a locomotive. Raising the temperature of water by 1 extra degree means the difference between something that is simply very hot and something that generates enough force to power a machine. This example reminds us all that seemingly small things can make a tremendous difference. As a school district, we believe that this 1 extra degree of effort can separate the good from the great.

It is truly an honor to serve as your superintendent of schools. On behalf of our Board of Trustees and the entire VISD, thank you for making our students a No. 1 priority and for believing "every day is a gift, and everyone is important."

Robert Jaklich is the superintendent for the Victoria Independent School District. Contact him at 361-788-9202 or through the VISD website, visd.com.

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