Dr. Douglas L. Ragland
Retired Superintendent of Schools
1. High Expectations- As principal and superintendent, high expectations were illustrated through our competitive and excellent academic and extra-curricular competitions, mission statement, set of beliefs developed by the teachers and administrators, and constant reinforcement of these beliefs by all in terms of encouragement and communication to students, staff and the community at large.
2. Appreciation and Recognition- As principal and superintendent, my students were always recognized for accomplishments via academic pep rallies, awards and recognition day programs, and informally through impromptu actions of recognition by faculty of good behavior in the classrooms and hallways. Teachers and administrators were always recognized through Teacher of the Year Programs at all levels in the district, during faculty meetings and in-service workshops. All certified and support staff were recognized at teacher institute for their excellence as well.
3. Caring , Celebration and Humor- We always celebrated successes of students, teachers and administrators both internally and externally thus creating an atmosphere and culture of love, caring and support. From a standpoint of humor, I received the National Distinguished Principal’s Award for the State of Alabama in 1998, and my students and staff surprised me by making me a crown and robe and I was paraded throughout the school while students were sitting in the hallway praising me for this great accomplishment.
4. Involvement in Decision Making- In my role as an instructional leader, my style was that of being democratic. I always allowed my staff and stakeholders to have input in the decision making process via Staff Meetings, Building Leadership Teams, Accreditation Teams, Parent Teacher Organizations, Educational Summits and the like. My philosophy was to succeed we must value and be open to a everyone’s thoughts because if everyone agrees with me then only one person is thinking and that would be very unhealthy and limited. My experience as a leader has been that people actually get excited and buy into the process when they are involved.
5. Open and Honest Communication- As an instructional leader, I allowed, teachers, administrators, parents, students, and the community at large to provide open and honest communication via staff and leadership team meetings, PTA forums and meetings, community summits, and school board meetings in terms of how we could improve, and involve all stakeholders in generating success for our schools, district, parents, community and most importantly every individual student.
6. Trust, Respect and Confidence- As an instructional leader, I always emphasized and manifested the importance of trust, respect and confidence in our school settings. We always kept student records and personnel files of teachers secure and confidential, as well as information in executive sessions in school board meetings. My staff worked well collegially speaking, in trusting and respecting each other and the protocol in terms of the organizational chart. As a result we not only developed a culture of trust and respect, but also confidence because of the results we achieved academically, and professionally as a means of working on one accord.
7. Protecting What’s Important- As principal and superintendent, we had safeguards in place for the security of our students, staff and property, such as security and surveillance systems for every building, emergency management plans for safety and evacuation for every school as well as the district offices, and administrative safeguards to make sure that all students were protected from unauthorized individuals checking out or picking them up from school. These were just some of the ways we ensured security in protecting what was important to us.
8. Collegiality-As an instructional leader, we adopted the acronym Team-Together Everyone Accomplishes More. This was illustrated in our efforts of achieving accreditation for every school system in the district for the first time ever, accomplishing the goal of all Career Technical Programs being 100% Business Industry Certified, achieving the feat of being released from state financial intervention as a result of achieving a 4.5 million dollar surplus in one year after I became superintendent, and passing a tax advalorem referendum with over 91% of the public supporting it, are indeed examples of collegiality and working as team.
9. Tangible Support- As an instructional leader, I provide financial support for our teachers and administrators to do the very best job in educating the students in the district. We utilized finances for curriculum resources, technology, recruiting programs and incentives in bringing in the best and brightest, and professional development in enhancing competencies for personnel. I provided the resources necessary to support my staff in achieving excellence for our students, schools, district and community.10. Reaching out to the Knowledge Base-As an instructional leader, we provided avenues for our students to succeed academically, extra-curricular activities or competitions, learn and serve through the community and via Career Technical Education. My philosophy was educating the whole child and we excelled in these areas by accomplishing meeting state and national standards via academic performance, championship debate, spelling bees, oratorical and athletic programs, successful fundraising and serving the needs of others in the community, and successful Career Technical Programs achieving Business Industry Certification and producing students in the work force to benefit not only themselves but the business industry with their talents. These are the ways we reached out to the knowledge base in achieving excellence for our students, schools, district and community.