GREEN RIVER– Sweetwater County School District #2 began the interview process for the new Superintendent of Schools on Tuesday, starting with Teresa Chaulk.
Chaulk has been the Superintendent at Lincoln County School District #1 since 2007. Chaulk is the first of three candidates to be interviewed for this position.
After a day of touring schools, Chaulk was asked questions during a staff forum and then a community forum, in which parents could listen to her ideas and ask a few questions.
During the community forum, Chaulk put a lot of emphasis on the importance of communication. She believes in keeping lines of communication between staff and the community open, which then in turn builds trust.
“If someone can’t trust your word, they can’t trust you,” Chaulk said.
She said communication and transparency is key in achieving success as well as building morale within the district and the community. Whether relaying information and creating conversations with the community, or discussing ideas and building trust with the staff, she believes communication is crucial.
“Transparency and communication is how you build trust,” she said.
Open Door Policy, But Follow Chain of Command
She said she has an open door policy in which any staff member or community member can contact her whenever needed. However, she also believes the chain of command should be followed.
In the instance that a parent or staff member calls her with a problem, she said she would listen to the individual, but would then refer them to their building principal.
Chaulk added that she would tell the person that if they do not call her back, she will assume the issue was resolved. If the issue is not resolved, she will then step in and work towards resolution.
She would also call the school’s principal after the phone call to keep transparency of what is going on.
She said that things need to follow the process and that all allegations need to be investigated.
Students Considered First in Every Decision
To ensure she is always doing what’s in the best interest of the district’s students, Chaulk said she always asks herself, “how is this going to impact and influence the student?”
She said the students deserve the best the district has to offer, and if they aren’t getting the best, the district staff needs to be working every day toward providing the best.
“We’re only as good as the kids we serve,” she said.
Along the same lines, Chaulk also believes it is her responsibility to be at as many school programs and activities as she can be. Being at these events helps build trust between the district and the community, and it also shows the students they are supported.
Chaulk believes that through having open communication within the district, it will in turn boost morale. In Wyoming, tenured teachers must be evaluated every three years if they have had no issues.
However, Chaulk thinks that the teachers need more support than this. She believes principals should be doing classroom walkthroughs as often as possible, but to support the teachers, “not to play gotcha,” she said.
“I believe teachers want principals in the classroom,” she added, saying the teachers want to show the administration what they are doing.
However, she noted that good morale and trust is needed.
Another importance of good morale, Chaulk said, is its role in keeping students and staff motivated.
She said it is important to keep the district positive and energized. She believes having a positive and energetic culture in the schools will keep everyone motivated in wanting to achieve success.
Additionally, she said that each school has its own culture and that she shouldn’t necessarily have a role in dictating that culture. However, she said she will allow and encourage the process in creating that culture.
Interviews will continue today with Joel Dvorak, former Superintendent at Natrona County School District #1.
The final interview will take place next Tuesday with Craig Barringer, Superintendent at Libby Public School District in Libby, Montana.