Thursday, May 5, 2011

Working for us already!

Kamela Patton
I attended the Collier County School Board workshop today.  It was a special meeting to discuss the contract for incoming superintendent Kamela Patton.  When I arrived (a few minutes late), I was pleasantly surprised to find Dr. Patton presenting her proposed goals and metrics to the Board.  She's working for us already!

One of the issues that led to former superintendent Dennis Thompson's current lawsuit against the District is the Board's alleged failure to set goals for the superintendent, so it's a critical area for Patton's contract.  And here she was, before her contract has even been written and signed, proposing measurable goals to the Board. 

Beyond that, Patton has spent the several weeks since she was chosen by the Board getting to know our community.  She's meet with the teachers' union, the Chamber of Commerce, the Education Foundation, the Economic Development Council, and other groups.  She also attended the annual Golden Apple Teachers' award program Tuesday night, and spent time with District staff. 

She's studied the District's Strategic Plan and the Connect Now Community Statement developed under the leadership of the Education Foundation.  And she went out of her way to commend the District and the community for the work that's been done on these documents.  She said that as a result, her goals are already written, and that her task was to take these documents and turn them in to a set of measurable objectives.  And she is so right!

Unfortunately her proposed goals and metrics were not publicly available as of today, although Board members had received and read the material prior to the meeting.  I'm hoping the Naples Daily News education reporter will provide it when her report on today's meeting is posted on naplesnews.com

Still, the examples Dr. Patton gave at today's meeting of her proposed goals and metrics was impressive.  The first goal she highlighted was "Communications."  She outlined a plan for four superintendent Town Hall meetings in her first year, one each in Naples, Marco Island, Everglades City and Immokalee.  She outlined a plan to meet regularly with the teachers' union, student leaders, community business leaders, and local editorial board.  She plans to inplement a "Principal for a Day" program and other community partnerships.  These are the kinds of things the community said it wants, and Patton listened.

The Board members were impressed, too.  After Patton's presentation, each commended her highly.  Her proposal was adopted by the Board without change, to be incorporated into the contract as her first-year goals. 

What a pleasure!!  A Board and superintendent working together ... and working well!

As evidence of Patton's community outreach, she and School Board Chair Julie Sprague will appear this Sunday on "Naples Daily NewsMakers with Jeff Lytle."  You can watch the program here (the wonders of the internet; it's already available online), or watch on TV Sunday at 10 a.m. on ABC-7.  The show will be rebroadcast on NBC-2 NewsNow Sunday at 7 p.m. and Monday at 10 a.m. 

I encourage Collier County residents to use this opportunity to get to know Kamela Patton.  She's going to do wonderful things for our kids, our teachers, and our community.

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