Dr. Quintin Shepherd

Dr. Quintin Shepherd

Many of our task forces have begun their work. For those who came to the kickoff meeting, I shared how our task forces are going to be working through several complex conversations over the next few months. The work of this group will be leading to a strategic planning effort where we will outline not just our goals but also performance indicators (outcomes and measurables) and implementation timelines.

My experience as a superintendent for the past 16 years has taught me this juncture is where administration, and sometimes trustees, can fall into a communication vacuum with their community. I believe we can forestall this outcome. We can do this in a few important ways.

First, we will not do strategic planning in private. We hope to involve 80-ish people from our community and task force members to participate in the very specific work of the initial stages of our strategic plan. We also plan to have students involved. Of course, our trustees will be part of this as well. We hope to involve community and organizational leaders. A vast majority of the group will be made up of community members to have a broad and diverse group who can help us keep a balanced perspective in our planning. As many task force members have heard me say, one of the key roles of anyone participating in the strategic planning efforts is to be a community ownership liaison. This means it is incumbent on them to over communicate the work that is happening in the strategic planning efforts. We will not be doing this work in private or secret.

Second, we will keep a permanent bullet in the administration report. For those that are not aware, the administration report is the single most important mechanism in place to get detailed information about the work that is happening at Victoria ISD. The administration report is a document created by cabinet administration (we write it together digitally and asynchronously) throughout the course of a month leading up to the board meetings. Think of it as a journal of our efforts and a foreshadowing of the work in front of us. You can find it by hovering over “home” on our website and look down to the fourth on the list from the dropdown. You can read all administration reports from the time we started writing them. The reading is dense and is part of our commitment to insane levels of accessibility to information about the district.

I will also write about our progress with our task force efforts, P-TECH efforts, System of Great Schools Efforts (Early Childhood Center), and Strategic Planning efforts here in these articles as I am able. We will continue taking in as much information as you are willing to share with us through in-person meetings, at task forces and digitally through various exchanges this year and will share information with you through the means I have described here and through the use of social media. 

Finally, don’t ever hesitate to ask. Chances are that you are just one or two degrees of separation from any cabinet administrator, board trustee or me, and we are happy to talk about any of the above in person. If you ask, we will be happy to explain at length... but fair warning, we love this stuff so you may have to let us know when you’ve heard enough.

Dr. Shepherd is the superintendent of the Victoria Independent School District.

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