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Career Story: School Administrator In An Urban School District

School Administrator In An Urban School District

Job Title: School Administrator

Type of Company: I am employed by an urban public school system in Massachusetts

Education: English Literature, Brockenhurst College, England

Previous Experience: I was editor and manager of publications for a large international mutual fund group for 7 years, then managed the process of creating and getting regulatory approval for new funds with the same company for 5 years.

Job Tasks: My present assignment is to help parents and others to resolve issues about their child's education. I listen to questions or situations that are of concern to them, and try to figure out ways to improve or settle the problem. Many problems concern the effects of suspension or expulsion, unfair treatment or placement of students. Many times I simply have to remind parents and other administrators about the rules and how they should work, but sometimes we need to provide extra services or special options for students. I keep a log of all my calls (cases) and report to my boss if I see patterns of problems emerging.

Because any parent can ask any question, I usually have interesting cases, and I also have the opportunity to make positive changes for children and their families. In addition, I hear appeals for families who can't prove that they live in our town, and help to write and edit district newspapers for parents and students about how the school system works and summer activities

I also supervise a program that gives children extra help in the summer, and run a "hotline" before school opens to make sure that all families are prepared for the beginning of school.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The absolute best part is making a positive change for a parent or student, like helping a mom with an injured child get a ride to school, or arranging a meeting with concerned adults which results in better communication for and with the families.

The worst part is when I really would like to help, but there is just no mechanism to do so, or when no matter what we try, the child does not find success. Happily, there is more good news than bad!

Job Tips: For my present position, it would be useful to be trained in mediation, and to be at ease with with people from all walks of life. You need an even temper, or you will not be able to get by some of the criticism which naturally comes with a complaint. You need to write well and speak precisely, since what you write and say will be relayed and interpreted by others.

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