Message from the Superintendent
In June 2016, I began my fifth year as superintendent of Bulloch County Schools. I appreciate the confidence the Board of Education has placed in me to help take our district in a bold new direction. Retooling a system as large as ours and as entrenched in so many areas as we are is not easy. Key foundational building blocks needed to be put in place. Our employees have so many demands on them, but their passion is preparing our students for the future. Because of this, they are embracing multiple, difficult changes for the best, and we are slowly seeing the fruits of their dedication all across the system.
First, in 2015, we sought community input to help create a strategic plan that would align the community’s goals for quality of life and workforce development with the rigorous and relevant instruction and experiences students need from early learning through post-secondary education. With assistance from the Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education and more than 700 stakeholders, we developed a comprehensive needs assessment to combine community values with the state’s education accountability model to create school system goals and initiatives. This plan is now the impetus behind what we do every day at every level to improve student learning and community value.
Employee Recruitment/Retention & Professional Development
Second, we are developing and implementing processes to attract, retain, and promote effective employees. As superintendent, I have ensured that our leadership teams are effectively trained and empowered to carry out the strategic plan. More than 500 of the school system’s Board of Education members, central office and school administrators, and teacher leaders have participated in the Georgia Leadership Institute for School Improvement’s Base Camp and Leadership Summit. The school system has also developed its own program, Aspiring Leaders, to better develop teachers and assistant principals for future leadership roles. The second Aspiring Leaders cohort began its nine-month session in April 2016, and several Cohort 1 class members have already been promoted to new leadership roles within the district.
Education and Workforce Development Alignment
Third, I am an advocate for establishing an effective education pipeline where there is open, continuous dialogue between grade levels, schools, parents, administrators, post-secondary partners and business and industry leaders. I focused on finding the best model to match community assets with k-12 instruction. In doing so, in 2013, I discovered the Harvard Graduate School of Education’s project, Pathways to Prosperity.
Only two school systems in Georgia were selected by the Georgia Department of Education to work with the Pathway’s program to develop a statewide model for workforce development, Carroll County and Bulloch County. Through the Pathways to Prosperity Network we can better develop community-driven, systems-type solutions to match the labor market and future demands of potential and existing industry. Local business and industry leaders, Georgia Southern University, East Georgia College, Ogeechee Technical College, and other representative groups have been part of the school system’s efforts to re-engineer K-12 education into a deliberate but flexible model for student learning. This coupled with the state’s new Move on When Ready options is allowing Bulloch County Schools to design learning experiences that will allow every student to successfully pursue opportunities based upon their interests and abilities.
Fourth, we trained our educators on how to create effective professional learning communities which allow the sharing of ideas and best practices. No one understands our challenges better than our teachers, so establishing a collaborative, continuous-improvement culture gives us the structure and flexibility to empower teachers to help our students discover success at every level. We have witnessed many successes this year due to increased teacher collaboration.
Thank You for Your Commitment to K-12 Education
Pursuit of our shared vision requires stronger commitments from each of us. We each have to step up in providing critical input and support where needed. Together we can enhance our community’s value by positioning Bulloch County as a leader in workforce development and see our students succeed. This investment will give us the edge in economic development and recruitment of the types of industries that we so desperately need and desire.
Charles G. Wilson, MBA, CPA
Superintendent of Schools