High school needs more smarts, less testosterone
December 21, 2011
After reading the stories last week in both papers about the search for a new Aspen High School principal, a light bulb went off in my head.
I loved that a meeting was held among parents, students and interested parties to discuss what qualities the new principal should have. I took away the following thoughts:
“A strong academic leader.”
“The ability to lead staff through difficult times and budget cuts.”
“Someone who can deal with difficult parents.”
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“Model what it means to be an educator.”
My favorite thought came from a student, L. Smith, to “lead the school community in appreciating the accomplishments of all students – academically, artistically or athletically.” Now that’s smart. Maybe there should be “real” student input and not just a token gesture when it comes to the next principal.
Parent Roger Moyer had a lot to say: “We need to find a person who can lead some very difficult characters – characters who are entrenched, almost inflexible, but bright enough to be flexible.” I couldn’t agree more.
Moyer also said, “When a person comes to Aspen, there’s a reality here that’s not like the rest of the world.”
And maybe Moyer’s sentiment is actually the problem.
Yes, Aspen is a great place to live, an incredibly supportive community unlike most others, but the reality is that the rest of the world should never be forgotten. An attitude that borders on arrogant at times – thinking Aspen is so different – only hurts the students who leave to find a life outside of Aspen in the “real world” – which is most of them.
I suggest gender balance is what has been lacking for so many years at the high school. While the board has been mostly women, and the former superintendent was a woman, the day-to-day position of principal has been filled by men for a lot of years.
My light-bulb idea is to hire a woman to be the next principal. A little less testosterone and a little more “smarts” will take the school to a better place. I believe the mindset of a woman would put academics first, and create an atmosphere in which the accomplishments and goals of all students would be appreciated and advanced.