Return to Read Our Blogs


Our “Best of the Blogs” section includes thoughtful insights on school leadership being shared through blogs maintained by AASA members. This representative sampling of five bloggers, through an RSS feed, will change periodically to showcase other member blogs, so check back regularly. If you are aware of others, contact

  • What kind of doctor are you? A funny experience in kindergarten today.

    Superintendent's Office DPS109|9/12/2014

    “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” – Aristotle One of the great joys of working in public school administration is having the opportunity to visit classrooms, walk the halls of schools and interact with teachers, support staff, and children on a regular basis. On our central […]

  • Let's Read!

    The Superintendent's Chair|9/10/2014

    My wife and her book club recently celebrated their 15th anniversary. For 15 yeats this group of women has met monthly to discuss books and to support one another.

    Why would a person be willing to commit to a group for such a long period of time?

    First, books are powerful. They can move us to action; they can move us to tears; they can move us to reach beyond ourselves.

    Second, groups are powerful. We develop strong bonds with one another that become difficult to break.

    Combne the power of books and the power of a group and a wonderfully engaging and strong combination emerges.

    In conjunction with the Novi Public Library we have started a Parent-to-Parent Book Club. Our first meeting will be on September 23 where we will discuss The Motivation Breaktrhough: 6 secrets to turning on the tuned-out child by Richard Lavoie.

    I would invite you to join us. Books are available at the Novi Public Library. Or you could buy a copy like I did.

    Sign up with the Novi Public Library. (Click on the "Adults" tab and find the information on the Parent-to-Parent Book club.)

    Please come join us!

  • I'm OK and evidently you are as well

    The Superintendent's Chair|9/9/2014

    The vast majority of Michigan teachers are rated as effective or highly effective. The latest numbers posted by the Michigan Department of Education are from the 2012-2013 school year. They show that 97% of teachers were rated as effective or highly effective. (Look here for details. For the percentage click on the "percentage" tab.)

    Outrageous! Unacceptable!

    But why?

    How many doctors are rated effective or highly effective?

    I don't know. I can't find on the state of Michigan's website a list anywhere that rates doctors.

    My guess is that most doctors - probably over 90% - would be rated effective or highly effective.

    Yet, there are a lot of people who are obese. There are a lot of people who don't exercise. There are a lot of people who have high blood pressure. There are a lot of people who do not engage in a healthy lifestyle.

    Still - most doctors would be rated as effective or highly effective.

    But we don't know. Because the state of Michigan does not publish a list that rates doctors.

    How many Certified Public Accountants are rated effective or highly effective? Or financial planners? Or dieticians? Or legislators?

    My guess is that in most professions the vast majority of professionals are rated effective or highly effective. After all most professionals have college degrees, have lots of experience, and participate in ongoing training.

    Yet, there are a lot of people whose finances are in trouble or who can't plan a meal or who can't legislate. But do we blame the accountants or the financial planners or the dieticians or the politicians?

    We also don't know because the state of Michigan does not provide a rating list of CPA's or financial planners or dieticians or legislators.

    Are there bad teachers and administrators?


    Should bad teachers and administrators be evaluated out of their profession?


    Historically, education has done a bad job of evaluating educators.

    But, I would argue, that most professions have done a bad job of evaluating themselves.

    That does not excuse the historically poor job educators have done in rating teachers and administrators. Rating educators is important. Teachers and administrators work with children and have a tremendous influence on their lives.

    We must get educator evaluation right. But just because most end up being rated as effective does not mean the system is broken.

  • Measuring Success

    Superintendent's Office DPS109|9/4/2014

    “Individual commitment to a group effort — that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.” – Vince Lombardi In DPS109 we measure success in many ways. We measure student academic performance, we measure staff culture, we measure all stakeholder satisfaction and we probe into special areas for […]

  • Where we are going, not where we have been!

    The Superintendent's Chair|8/29/2014

    It is attributed to Lou Holtz, famous football coach and sports announcer, to have once said:

    The good Lord put eyes in the front our your head
    rather than the back
    so you could see where you are going
    rather than where you've been.
    The new school year starts in my district on Tuesday, September 2nd.
    I am committed to looking forward trying to see where we are going instead of worrying about looking back to see where we have been.
    The ?new school year beckons all of us.
    We could all waste time looking back.
    We could mourn the loss of last year because we had the best teacher, the best team, the best lunch. We could mourn leaving last year behind because it was the best year of our life!
    We could also be eager to leave last year behind because it was, like Alexander's day, a horrible, no good, very bad year. We had a horrible teacher, a bad bus route, a no good lunch. So we look back eager to leave last year behind.
    But instead of looking back. I want us to look forward.
    Right now it is a clean slate.
    My hope is that as we look forward we are anticipating the best, not fearing the worst.
    My hope is that as we look forward we are committing ourselves to solving problems, not creating them.
    My hope is that as we look forward we will find the joy inherent in learning new things, not dread the work that comes with learning.
    A new school year starts Tuesday. I am looking ahead to see where we are going.

  • Getting a chance to start fresh – The new year starts with a focus on the future!

    Superintendent's Office DPS109|8/27/2014

    “The greatest thing in this world is not so much where we are, but in what direction we are moving.” - Oliver Wendell Holmes In DPS109 we are moving forward! Our mission is to Engage, Inspire, Empower and we do this on behalf of the FUTURE – the world will belong to our students – […]

  • Quest is Doing It

    Culture of Yes|8/27/2014

    I often hear feedback like “I really like what is happening with inquiry and project based learning, but my kids need to be prepared for university, and university is never going to change.” Well,  last week we loaded up the bus with all of our school principals and vice-principals and headed up the highway to […]

  • Innovation through Change – Superintendent’s Back To School Welcome to Staff

    Superintendent's Office DPS109|8/25/2014

    “One of the great ironies in life is that you must be acquainted with reality while not allowing your dream to be shattered.” - John C. Maxwell, Put Your Dream to the Test Today is Back to School Day for teachers, support staff, administrators, and adult employees of the DPS109 family. Today we kicked off […]

  • Back to School Message and Video

    Superintendent's Office DPS109|8/22/2014

    “One of the keys to success lies in knowing and believing in yourself. When you are confident and trust in who you are, you can perform to the best of your ability.” - Pete Carroll, Win Forever: Live, Work, and Play Like a Champion We are gearing up for our Back To School kick offs […]

  • Local Service Club – Deerfield Rotary

    Superintendent's Office DPS109|8/21/2014

    “Whatever you do in life, remember: Think higher and feel deeper. It cannot be bad if you do that.” – Elie Wiesel In Deerfield, we have a local Rotary club, we have been serving since 1930! We are part of the Rotary District 6440 and we are part of Rotary International. This is Membership Month […]

  • Let’s Talk! Focus on Communication – Big 5 Organizational Culture

    Superintendent's Office DPS109|8/19/2014

    “One never notices what has been done; one can only see what remains to be done.” – Marie Curie As part of our District’s Big 5, Organizational Culture plays a huge part of our focus and energy! In support of keeping up with the pulse of the community, we have partnered with for climate […]

  • Allergy Management Plan

    Superintendent's Office DPS109|8/18/2014

    “It isn’t the mountains ahead to climb that wear you out; it’s the pebble in your shoe.” - Anonymous Student safety is at the forefront of all decisions made in our school district! Allergy/food management is a “hot topic” that has been in the hopper for several years and came to the surface last year. […]

  • Our unexceptional schools are really quite extraordinary

    The Superintendent's Chair|8/18/2014

    The official school data website for the state of Michigan (, lists 51 districts/charter schools for Oakland County.

    None are exceptional.

    At least that is the impression given by the Michgan Department of Education's school accountability report cards. Official scores were released last week. Scores for Oakland County districts, like every county in the state of Michigan, were perceived to be lackluster.

    No Oakland County district/charter school received the state's highest rating of green.

    Over half of the districts/charter schools earned a rating of yellow.

    In Novi, over 86% of our students were proficient in math. Over 95% of our students were proficient in reading.

    For each district and school the state calculates its "bottom 30%". That is the state creates a group that is comprised of the lowest achieving 30% of the students in the district.

    In Novi, over 54% of our "bottom 30%" were proficient in math. Over 85% of our "bottom 30%" were proficient in reading.

    Yet, the Novi Community School District earned a "yellow" rating.

    The state would argue that Novi has achievement gaps. That is true. We do. that appears to be the most powerful indicator of performance and the one the determines the overall rating of any individual school or district.

    As a result, districts that are diverse. Districts that are large. Districts that have groups that the psycometricians can slice and dice will have a hard time being rated highly.

    I am not opposed to accountability. I understand that parents want to know if their schools are being successful. Politicians want to know if the money that they are spending is being used wisely.

    Schools need to be able to demonstrate that students are learning.

    Any rating of schools should use test data.

    But rating schools using test data alone ignores many of the good things that schools are doing.

    Novi has a marching band of over 170 members. Novi has athletics and clubs that create opportunities for students not only to be engaged but to learn how to lead, how to work hard, how to set goals. Novi has a freshman orientation program that links upper-classman with incoming freshman. Novi sends fifth graders to camp and eighth graders to Washington DC. Novi teaches our elementary students about the seven habits. We have computer labs and laptop carts.

    The Novi Community School District is exceptional in many ways. We have work to do. Of that there is no debate.

    And Novi is not alone. There are many excptional districts and schools throughout the state of Michigan.

    Can we get better? Of course.

    I appreciate the state attempting to rate schools. But, in my opinion, the rating ignores many of the factors that make schools truly great.

    In my opinion, many Michigan schools are quite extraordinary. Even though we are colored yellow!

  • Watch “Iowa, Did You Know?” on YouTube

    Superintendent's Office DPS109|8/17/2014

    Iowa ‘s story can apply to all states in the nation. Video reminds us all why it’s time to transform public education! From time to time I publish the “Did you Know” videos – they help us visualize the transformation our world is undergoing at present. This video has a quote I use frequently: “In […]

  • Digital Leadership Day – August 15th

    Superintendent's Office DPS109|8/15/2014

    “No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change the world.” – Robin Williams, Dead Poets Society A blogger I follow,, annually calls for digital leaders to share thoughts, reflections, ideas, concerns about digital leadership and trans-formative/innovative education. From his post about Digital Leadership Day: “Over the past 7 years, we’ve had […]

Upcoming Webinars

Past Webinars