LETTERS: Education focus is on students, not criticism
Dear stakeholders of the Perry County School system,
In July 2013 I became superintendent of the Perry County Schools. As a lifelong resident of Perry County, and former student of our school system, I am honored to be chosen by the board of education to lead our school system. As superintendent, my job is to ensure that the district stays focused on our mission and vision of ensuring student success, as measured by college and career readiness, through the building and sustaining of appropriate systems for continuous academic achievement and lifelong endeavors. Inevitably, the decisions I must make will not be without criticism and judgment. I perfectly understand and accept that.
Some of you may be aware, as I fully disclosed in the superintendent hiring process, parts of my certificate were suspended. That information is available through the Education Professional Standards Board. In accordance, I may not administer any tests. You would be hard-pressed to find any superintendent in the state who administers state testing. My role is to disaggregate the data when it is returned and to suggest its use to inform instruction. Part of my agreement with the standards board is the board chairman does have to submit a written statement that I did not participate in the administering of state-mandated testing. If a conflict were to exist between myself and the board chairman, other documentation can be presented to the Education Professional Standards Board verifying my exclusion from administering state tests.
Recently I was quoted as saying “when I hire people I’ve had specific criteria, and if those people meet that criteria better than the other applicants then that is who I hired.” Since becoming superintendent I have asked the board to create two positions, a district wide athletic director and a college and career readiness coordinator. I have filled both positions with whom I felt was best for the position based on the established criteria. Without hesitation, I believe the recent hires in our school system will prove to be the right decision.
I am very proud of Perry County Schools and the students, staff, and board members who are a part of our district. Our staff is motivated to implement the changes that have begun to take place throughout our district. We will continue to monitor all staff through an evaluation system that focuses on student performance and growth. I am committed to moving this district forward, not for myself, but for the students of our district. They deserve to leave our schools college/career ready and prepared to embark on the next chapters of their lives.
As for me personally, I know some people do not think I was the best candidate for the job. I respect that opinion. However, I speak no longer as a candidate, but as the superintendent of the Perry County Schools when I invite all the stakeholders of our school system to join in our work of moving this district forward. Our students have to be our focus, and not on negative, hostile letters to the local newspaper, or ill-informed comments on social media. I will continue to make decisions that I feel are in the best interest of the students of Perry County and will not be controlled or manipulated by any type of journalistic bullying.
I invite anyone that may have questions or concerns about our school district to come by my office anytime.
Superintendent Jonathan Jett
Perry County Schools
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