Sturgis Charter Public School and the Nauset Regional School District both chose new leadership this week. Each promoted from within in a move to maintain their position as the best that Cape Cod public education has to offer.
Twenty-one-year veteran of Nauset
Nauset appointed Thomas Conrad, principal of Nauset High School, as their new superintendent.
After 21 years of leading what is, by almost every metric, the best hometown high school on Cape Cod, Conrad has earned his stripes in the tumultuous Nauset region. He knows how to navigate the labyrinth of multiple school boards and local politics across four towns.
More important, Mr. Conrad understands the crucial part that school competition has played in the success of his high school and the Nauset region as a whole. He is an accomplished competitor.
While we usually don’t advocate “first time” superintendents for the Cape’s cut-throat education market, Tom Conrad cut his teeth in this environment and is a master at running a competitive school. If Nauset is to maintain its place at the top of the education food chain, Nauset cannot find a better leader than Mr. Conrad.
Sturgis goes for consistency
Over at Sturgis, a similar challenge faced the board. Sturgis is consistently ranked among the best high schools in the nation. Despite growing to two campuses, Sturgis currently has a waiting list large enough that they could open a third campus. As with Nauset, Sturgis is at the top of the school competition game and must stay there.
Surely, Sturgis Executive Director Eric Hieser was aware of this when he gave his board nearly two-years’ notice of his June 2016 retirement. The board then moved swiftly to appoint Paul Marble, current principal of the Sturgis East campus, as the next executive director. Marble has been with Sturgis for eleven years in increasingly responsible positions and is fully imbued in the culture of that singular institution.
As a charter school, Sturgis is especially needful of consistent leadership that maintains the confidence of families choosing a high school venue. Marble’s reputation and longevity at Sturgis ensures a smooth transition and a consistent program going forward for many years.
Local hires are best
In any organization, there is a lot of good in promoting from within. Not only do you ensure consistency when you have an excellent organization, you encourage employees to spend their entire career in one institution. The fact that Tom Conrad spent 21 years leading Nauset High School brings a familiar face in front of local finance committees and town meetings, a trusted figure whom “everyone knows”. At Sturgis, where the “IB for Everyone” program provides a critical competitive edge, their new leader is already accomplished with Sturgis’ own IB program and is well-known within the Sturgis ecosystem.
If employees do not feel they have an opportunity to move up in an organization, the best ones will eventually move on. In a district like Nauset or a school like Sturgis, every ambitious young teacher can imagine a path to the superintendent’s chair.
Napoleon once said, “Every soldier carries a marshal’s baton in his pack” to illustrate the opportunities for advancement in his army.
Our children deserve teachers and administrators with deep roots in our communities, men and women who dedicate their entire careers to a local school system.
Bravo to Nauset and Sturgis for their good old Cape Cod common sense.