When Joan Holliday and I wrote our book, "The Story of Kennett: Shaping Our Future One Child at a Time,” we found the importance of the role of the Kennett Consolidated School District Superintendent.
Larry Bosley, Rudy Karkosak and Barry Tomasetti put their imprint on the district over the past 50 years, which helped build the school system into what it is today. We barely touched on one of the agents of change that had the vision for the great diverse, academic, music, athletics, theater, STEM and AP institution it became.
One of the great change agents has been the School Board, especially in the 70s with members such as Luft, Bennett, Lee and Hovde to name a few. These men and women saw that Kennett could be a great institution, at all levels, for all kids, and they set the stretch goals that got us to where we are today.
Kennett is in that time of transition again, as Tomasetti is retiring and we will be choosing a new Superintendent. We are fortunate to have continuity on the school board, as the Chairman, Joe Meola, will be coming back for another term. I met him at the polls on Primary Day with his two youngest children, Nico and Arianna working the polls during the primary election.
Nico is a great example of a Kennett graduate today. He is in graduate school after graduating from West Chester University where he also played soccer. His team went to the NCAA soccer championship where they lost in the finals 2-1. That means a lot to me as my daughter Jessica graduated from Kennett and played volleyball at Georgetown University. She didn’t make the finals of the NCAA’s, but upon graduation the FBI liked the well-rounded student and hired her. The outcome of a great education is great opportunity.
I met with Joe to ask him what he thought made Kennett such a great school system today. He said a big part of it was that historically it was already a great school system.
The teachers, administration, and community built a foundation that combined with an apolitical school board focused on education, not just scholastics but also for life in general. It’s not just scholastic achievement but mental, physical, emotional and even moral skills that are being developed to achieve the successful Kennett education experience.
Joe said the board is made up of very capable individuals that don’t have a personal agenda and they listen well. He is equally proud of their strong financial understanding.
There is great financial leadership and the board understands the financial limits of the district and lives within those limitations. They also focus on their primary role of governance and stay away from the operational issues that are the focus of the administration.
The process for choosing a new Superintendent is going well. They have gone from 24 excellent candidates to 6 and now they have to pare it down to just one. The quality of each school has so much to do with the Principal that my guess is we won’t see much change quickly.
The superintendent has so much to do with the long term health of the district in implementation of choosing the right people, curriculums, policies, priorities and managing the budget; with the transition to new leadership, you know there will be changes down the line. The candidate should be chosen by the start of the school year.
As I watched the graduation and awards ceremonies for Kennett this year I was reminded of Melinda Gate's autobiography, "The Moment of Lift" where she talks about her father's job with the Apollo program and with the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11 landing on the moon. It is a wonderful metaphor in describing the objective of the school district. These young people are ready to launch themselves into the world and become all they can be.
I recommended our book "the Story of Kennett" to Niko on Primary Day and he bought it on line with his phone to help him with his grad courses; now that is new since I graduated from Kennett. And then his father recommended to me a book he uses with his business team "Beyond Success- the 15 Secrets to Effective Leadership and Life Based on Legendary Coach John Wooden's Pyramid of Success" and I read it. Coach Wooden says; “Success is peace of mind that is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you gave your best effort to become the best of which you are capable."
I think this is what the Kennett graduates are feeling. This feeling of success radiates a poise and self-confidence as they launch into the world. I am sure that each will have their own challenges, but all of the ones I know seem prepared to take on the world and make the most of their life.
Thank you KCSD Board for being a big part of their success.