Superintendents' and Principals' Forum: Introduction


The Editorial Board has felt for some time that On Common Ground needed an ampler expression of the viewpoints of superintendents and principals. Any partnership between universities and schools, if it is to succeed, must have their enthusiastic support. And not only are superintendents and principals, like administrators of other educational units, besieged by a multitude of immediate problems pressed upon them by their constituencies and by higher authorities, but they are also remarkably isolated from those who have comparable positions in other districts or schools. It would be helpful, surely, for superintendents and principals to have some easy means of communication with each other and with the wider circle of those who may share their concerns.

Hence the idea of this Forum. We began, during the Editorial Board meeting in Santa Fe this past February, with presentations by Thomas E. Persing, who has had many years of experience as a school superintendent, and Charles S. Serns, who has also had a good many years of experience as a principal. What followed was a vigorous discussion in which the Board learned a good deal about the specific problems that such administrators confront and the opportunities that they may nonetheless or therefore find for embarking upon collaborative projects.

As our first Forum, therefore, we give you the position papers that Persing and Serns presented to us at Santa Fe, along with excerpts from the discussion that followed.

This Forum, we hope, will encourage superintendents and principals to imagine what might be accomplished in their own districts and schools. As one answer, we include a piece by Foster B. Gibbs of Saginaw, Michigan, which offers ample testimony of the ability of a superintendent and a school system to work together with people from universities to improve education for our children. We invite other superintendents and principals to send to On Common Ground their contributions for this continuing Forum.


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