Monday, April 10, 2017

Short Takes: A Brief Conversation with Community Superintendent D’Andre Weaver

Community Superintendent D'Andre Weaver
D’Andre Weaver is wrapping up his first year both in Spring Branch ISD and as one of three community superintendents, positions created last summer in an administrative reorganization. Short Takes caught up with D’Andre late one afternoon as the Chicago native was grabbing a quick lunch at his desk.

ST:  We can do this after your lunch, D’Andre.

DW:  (Laughing) I just got out of a meeting that followed another meeting. I’m used to it. I eat whenever I can.

ST:  OK then. Let’s start at the top. Who are the community superintendents?

DW:  There’s myself, Kristin Craft and Jennifer Parker.

ST:  And what is a community superintendent?

DW:  Spring Branch ISD has 48 campuses with principals or directors. The question was how do we best support the diverse needs of those 48 campuses? How do we create a structure to support principals and teachers? They have to have support and a voice to implement the kind of work the district is undertaking. One person can’t support 48 campus leaders.

ST:  So that’s where the community superintendents come in?

DW:  That’s right. Each community superintendent has 16 schools, a blend of elementary and secondary. Schools aren’t grouped by geographical area but by other criteria. We can better support a smaller group of leaders, and the groupings make the district smaller for the principals.

ST:  What do you do? What kind of support do you provide?

DW:  The role is multifaceted. We provide one-on-one support. The principal group provides support for one another. And we’re also building the district’s leadership. This year, Dr. Muri has been clear that we’re focusing on the Resilient Foundation (the underpinning of the district’s strategic plan, The Learner’s Journey).

ST:  What about the Professional Learning Communities? What’s that about?

DW:  I see a PLC like a hospital. Doctors, nurses, technicians and other professionals come together to talk and to agree on certain ways of doing business, for a common goal. It’s the same thing in our district, only our common goal is student achievement. The idea is that we’re better when we’re collaborating.

ST:  What’s Data Wise?

DW:  Data Wise is a philosophy that helps us consider how we look at data, guiding us through something of a process. What does the data tell us? What do we do with that data? All of it is about student achievement. What do we want students to learn? How will we know when they learn it? What if they don’t? What do we do?

ST:  So, a PLC is a group of principals working on common issues?

DW:  It’s not just a group of principals – it’s any group that organizes around a common goal – in our case its student achievement. There could be PLCs inside schools, or between campuses. As community superintendents, we facilitate principal PLCs. We help them think through learning issues.

ST:  Thanks for your time, D’Andre. I know how little you have.

DW:  Anytime.


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