As long as anyone can remember, the superintendent of Park City schools has come into or called the KPCW studios the day before each board of education meeting or work session. These bi-monthly interviews have given community listeners a heads up about what their elected board members planned to discuss or vote on at their meetings. However, that tradition has ended – at least for this school year. Leslie Thatcher reports.
With a new superintendent on board, those twice a month, live, un-edited conversations with KPCW have ended as Dr. Jill Gildea immerses herself into her new job and community. In an email to KPCW from the district’s full-time communications director Melinda Colton wrote, starting with this new school year, the superintendent will no longer give interviews to KPCW prior to a board meeting. No reason was given in the email. Colton told us later it was a school board directive.
Following her first board meeting on Tuesday, superintendent Gildea told KPCW that as a new employee, she has her work cut out for her. Even so, she plans to come on the airwaves with monthly updates.
“Right, so I think I’m on once a month. I think that’s our plan, so I think whenever you’d like me. I mean whenever you want to call or have questions I’m certainly happy to respond or answer those. I think part of my work this first year is really because I’m coming new to the area I really want to get to know the schools and I really want to be in the schools and I really want that to be my focus and priorities so that might be a shift maybe from what’s happened before. But I really feel it’s important to have that boots on the ground-- not to judge and evaluate as much as to get to know what is happening, so that we can continue the trajectory of excellence that the district is known for. But I think that’s really where my time will be spent or should be spent this first year.”
She acknowledged though that the once a month interviews could be temporary.
Also, in her email, Colton asked that the radio station use her as a resource. She said it’s her job to get answers as quickly as she can and put community rumors to rest.
Meanwhile, Dr. Gildea has drafted what she’s called the Superintendent Entry Plan. It was presented to the school board on Tuesday. It outlines how she intends to meet the board’s strategic initiatives.
"Well at this point I presented my superintendent entry and transition plan for the board of education so they could see my thoughts on these different areas. So, basically, I’m aligning my work with those key strategic initiatives that the board identified last year. So, I’m working on academic excellence, and excellent personnel but I’ve also of course added fiscal responsibility and operational excellence to that list that they have because of course those are all parts of the school district as well.”
The plan includes a section on communications and community alliances. Giildea plans to review the district's existing communication strategies and social media and will audit the existing communications plan. She says this plan and her first-year goals planning process will give her the time to meet with identified stakeholders, perform data analyses, conduct program and system evaluations and begin the comprehensive process for developing an operational plan.
Click here to see the Superintendent Entry Plan.