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Good Guy, Bad Guy, or THE Guy?

Posted by on in Education Leadership
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public speaking

So… here we are again…another summer that flies by, another school year ready to kick off, and another few weeks of thoughts swirling in my head about what exactly to say to the hundreds of staff members who wait for my every last breath. You know the last sentence was sarcasm, right?  I used to despise listening to administrators giving speeches to begin the school year.  As a teacher, I already had so much to do, a classroom to set up, curriculum and IEP’s to look over, etc. The last thing I wanted to do was be herded in like cattle to sit and listen to some know-it-all administrator tell me how I’m going to do my job and how wonderful I am, even though he had never met me.

And now I am “that guy.”   I don’t like being “that guy.”  You know… “That guy” who cuts in front of you in the lunch line, “’that guy” who just has to have the last word, “that guy”’ who has been the gift to education since he stepped into a classroom and knows absolutely everything.

I don’t like the labels “good guy” or “bad guy” either.  My job isn’t a movie plot or a professional wrestling storyline.  However, some will correlate good guy and bad guy, because that’s what was always done.

Some people will call me a good guy, some a bad guy, or, even worse, “that guy.”  While I don’t think I fit any of these personas, I’ll tell you what I think I am. I am the guy.

I'm the guy who was appointed by the Board of Education to lead a school district down numerous avenues, sometimes even trailblazing.

I’m the guy who is charged with leading principals, supervisors, managers, teachers, and all employees in any and all school interactions, as I have oversight of, either directly or indirectly, every district employee, all school programs, and all facilities.

I’m the guy who signs the checks, approves the bills, and makes sure we are getting the best that money can buy.

I’m the guy who serves as the Chief Executive Officer of the Board of Education and am responsible for the administration and supervision of the school district in accordance with Board policies and New Jersey Statutes.

I’m the guy who will inspire, lead, guide and direct every member of the administrative, instructional, and support services team in setting and achieving the highest standards of excellence, so that each individual student enrolled in our district may be provided with a completely valuable, meaningful and personally rewarding education.

I’m the guy who is an ex-officio member of the Board of Education and serves on every committee, like it or not.

I’m the guy who advises the Board on the need for new or revised policy and prepares drafts for Policy Committee review.

I’m the guy who supervises the effective implementation of all constitutional or statutory laws, state regulations, and Board policies. Some love that, and some loathe it.

I’m the guy who recommends for promotion, appointment, or employment all employees of the Board and assigns, transfers and recommends for dismissal any and all employees of the Board.

I’m the guy who assumes ultimate administrative responsibility for the health, safety, welfare, discipline, assignment, promotion and retention of all students.

I’m the guy who will report to the Board of Education on the conditions and needs of the school system and effectiveness of the policies and regulations under which the system is operating.

I’m the guy who supervises the physical operation of the school plant and its facilities and makes appropriate recommendations.

I’m the guy who is responsible for the general supervision of the instructional programs as well as the one who supervises research essential to the efficient operation of the school system and the improvement of instruction.

I’m the guy who makes recommendations to the Board of Education for its adoption of all courses for students as well as the purchase of textbooks, instructional supplies, and equipment.

I’m the guy who schedules meetings and professional development for school staff as necessary for the improvement and welfare of the school district.

I’m the guy who makes the call for the opening or closing of school during emergency situations.

I’m the guy who has to enforce Board policies and implement Board goals whether I like them or not.

I could go on and on for another 8 gazillion bullets, but, hopefully, you get the point.  Bottom line: If it has to deal with school, from a broken pipe to a broken link on the website, I have something to do with it at some point.

You can love me, you can loathe me, or anything in between and outside of the scope of that, but know that this guy is here for your kids.  Kids first! Always!

I think I just finished my back-to-school address.  Here goes nothing.  If it hits home to one person, awesome.  If not, I have Dave Burgess to fall back on this year!

Here’s to all having a great back-to-school year!

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Jay Eitner is a proud product of the New Jersey public schools. A graduate from Union High School in 1997, Jay attended The American University in Washington DC with a BA in interdisciplinary studies. He began his teaching career in Roselle, NJ teaching a variety of subjects including social studies, computers, and digital literacy. Known for being ‘outside of the box’ and for strong technology infusion, Eitner strived to make a learning environment that was student centered, data driven, and technology infused. Jay received his Masters Degree from Kean University in 2004 and was hired to teach 8th grade social studies in the nationally recognized East Brunswick Public Schools. During his time in East Brunswick, Eitner has written & received over $140,000 in grants for his students. Grants ranged from podcasting equipment to creating a fully-interactive gold-rush experience, where students dug for gold during their westward expansion unit. Jay obtained his supervisor, principal, and school administrator certificates from the NJPSA NJ-EXCEL program in 2009. Administratively, Eitner has served as a middle school Assistant Principal in the Washington Township Schools , a K-12 Supervisor of Social Studies in the Hopewell Valley Regional School District, and a Superintendent of the Lower Alloways Creek School District. Jay currently serves as a Superintendent of Schools for the Waterford Township School District. He has presented a series of workshops on digital leadership, technology infusion, and student achievement. Recent awards include the 2015 national Educators Voice Award in the category of Superintendent, the White House MakerSpace distinction, and named to the national Academy of Arts & Sciences as a 2016 Educator To Watch.

Jay currently resides in Mount Laurel, New Jersey and is a proud Dad of twin girls and his puppy Lola.

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Guest Thursday, 08 December 2016