Day in the Life as an Assistant Superintendent

Back in 2015 I wrote three posts detailing a day in my life as a Director of Educational Services. In 2016 I moved to a new position, in a new district and documented one of my early days on the job. Since then, I have changed jobs again (3 years ago now!), but have never captured a day in the life of this job. I love looking back at the previous posts (linked below) because they are a fun way to reflect on past work, what was taking up my time, and how I chose to spend my time.

Here is a day in my life as an assistant superintendent, in December of 2022.

7:00 AM – This week my morning [and afternoon] commute has been spent listening to a podcast recommended to me by a few teachers. I don’t listen to a lot of educational podcasts, because I do so much reading in the field and I like my podcasts to cover non-educational topics for my entertainment. However, when this was recommended more than once, and around the topic of the science of reading, I had to listen to it!

7:30 AM – I arrive in my office, where I know I will only be for a short while this morning. It was 37 degrees this morning, a rarity for San Diego, so I blast my space heater and check my email and my calendar to ensure I know where I’m going all day.

8:00 AM – Our AMAZING Superintendent (who also happens to read this blog!) hosted a winter social for our district office, treating everyone to donuts and hot chocolate as we work our way to the final days before break. It’s so fun to see people from all different departments come together to socialize and enjoy connecting with one another. Unfortunately, I couldn’t stay very long before I had a previously scheduled site visit to get to.

8:15-9:40 AM – I visit each of our nine sites regularly to meet with principals, visit classrooms, and discuss teaching and learning. I’ve set a goal each year to visit every single classroom in our district. I haven’t met this goal yet, but I am well on my way to meeting it this year! These visits fill my teacher heart and my instructional leader soul, as we get to witness fun student learning and powerful pedagogy, and then discuss coaching moves as leaders. In fact, we were so into our discussions today that I stayed too late and got behind on my schedule! Today we saw 4th graders finalizing the board games they designed around Spanish explorers, as part of their history work. I learned a lot about the explorers and they had some creative designs!

9:55-11:15 AM – I raced over to another school for a second site visit of the day. This principal and I were able to celebrate lots of positive growth in her school community! She took me into her school’s library, which was set up to host over 100 families coming to receive winter gifts of love! This generous community had donated enough items so that each child invited would receive a new jacket, a new lego, a toy, a soccer ball, and more – it was overwhelming and so heartwarming to see it all ready for the families and to talk to the PTA parent who organized the incredible event!

11:30-12:30 – This was an extra special time on my calendar today! I went to visit a classroom at another school (my third today!), with a wonderful teacher who used to be part of the TOSA team in my department. I wanted to visit her and her class and she happily welcomed me in and asked if I would share a little about my recent trip to Namibia. You don’t have to ask me twice to share pictures and stories from that amazing trip! I loved seeing the 3rd graders’ reactions to each new animal picture I shared, and to hear them tell me the animals they have seen in the wild and in our local zoo. Then I was able to see their dress rehearsal for a class play they are performing tomorrow, all about electricity!

12:30-1:30 PM – On my way back to the office I picked up a snack to eat for lunch since I didn’t do my usual grocery shopping this week and have run out of lunch foods! As soon as I return from site visits, I try to write my emails to all of the staff I observed right away, to capture my notes of appreciation. I sent an email to each person, including the principal who was with me during the visit. In the messages, I honor/ appreciate something I saw happening that was good for students (I try to be explicit and specific as I’m modeling this instructional feedback for principals while also celebrating good pedagogy), and this week I closed off with warm wishes for a happy holiday season and a well-deserved break for all. I make notes in my spreadsheet where I keep track of all the classrooms I have visited (only 2 rooms left to see in the first site I visited today and I will hit my goal there!).

1:30-2:30 PM – My small but might TOSA team arrives for our bimonthly meeting. I work with three incredible TOSAs who bring positive energy and a range of different strengths and assets to our team. They are preparing for our second round of grade level professional development sessions that will start up at the end of January. Our first round, this fall, was a big success so we want to be responsive to all the feedback we received from teachers and push our instructional work forward with a deep dive into writing calibration, which is very new for our system! We are nervous and excited about the work ahead. Some of the things I love about this team is that they are self-directed, supportive of one another, focused, and purposeful in their work. I am so grateful for each of them!

2:30 PM – I had a check in meeting with a colleague. We are working on a project together and have scheduled weekly check-in’s to keep ourselves accountable for getting our parts done on time. She is one of my favorite people to work with, because we can be laser-focused on our tasks and then laugh ’til it hurts as we share personal stories!

3:00- 4:30 PM – The end of my day is unschedule, which is nice after the busy morning I had visiting three school sites. I get an unexpected phone call with some questions from the president of our teachers’ union. I need to make another call, to a school site staff member, to determine the answers so I can call back the original caller and clarify some misconceptions. I appreciate that because we are a small district this can all be done with personal conversations between people that I have built relationships with. I am caught up on my emails to the teachers I visited today, and my inbox is as clean as it can be before I leave for the day. I had some time to catch up with a few staff members in my department this afternoon, and we enjoyed some laughs together, which was much-needed.

I work with an exceptional group of people in a place I love. I am so grateful for this job and the culture in our district. People love one another and truly love coming to work and you can feel that all over! No two days are the same, but this was a fun one to capture because it included time in classrooms, time with colleagues, and celebrations of team work!

PREVIOUS DAY IN THE LIFE POSTS

Day in the Life at Work

Yet another day in the life {summer edition}

Another day in the life

A day in the life of a district administrator

About Amy's Reflections

Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services in Southern CA, taking time to reflect on leadership and learning
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