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Fisher to plan SCSD’s “big picture”

SOLON– Exploration, collaboration and cohesion are formative goals for the Solon Community School District as it begins to develop a strategic plan for improving student achievement and school leadership.
The plan, administered by Clear Lake education consultant Dr. Troyce Fisher, will likely be “less deviation from current practice than it will be an enhancement of it,” she said.
In October, the Solon school board voted to pay Fisher up to $10,293 for her facilitation of a strategic plan, the first of its kind for the district.
Her consultation will take the form of at least six visits with the board in Solon.
At this point, Fisher isn’t drawing any specifics of the plan. The strategy will be spelled out by the board and administrators. She’ll guide them through a process of gathering and exploring ideas, particularly looking at current student data to find areas of improvement. She’ll also engage the team to think about defining new policy to support its goals.
She said the board’s ultimate strategy will be informed though public input and will “align resources and processes” of the district. The form of the public input will be defined in future sessions with the independent consultant, board and administration.
The plan will help the board set direction for the schools.
“It’s really the big picture,” she said, which will take into account the schools’ “staffing patterns and being able to identify, retain and develop quality staff; how to evaluate personnel; building on the [existing] infrastructure of family and community engagement” and looking at budget and finances. In the end, she said, the plan’s success hinges on “aligning the budget to the achievement goals.”
Fisher recently finished administering a Wallace Foundation grant for her organization, School Administrators of Iowa and the Iowa Department of Education. The eight-year grant focused on developing leadership policy and practice in education and, with the funding, she helped design and implement a superintendent licensure program at Iowa State University. She was also a clinical professor of Education Leadership and Policy Studies at ISU from 2005-07.
Fisher was given the 2011 Excellence in Educational Leadership award by the University Council for Educational Administration at ISU. She’s the former director of School Administrators of Iowa (SAI), a Clive-based organization with over 2,000 members.
While she ran SAI, Fisher developed a first-of-its-kind moral and ethical leadership program called “Leading for Soul,” that engages school superintendents in professional development through asking ethical questions and defining moral issues.
She holds a doctorate in education from Drake University where she studied Iowa school district superintendent hiring criteria and its relation to “transformational leadership.”
Transformational leadership, she said, is needed to encourage student achievement, but not only by the traditional metric of the three Rs. It’s also needed to create schools that can develop “21st-century skills,” like “creativity, cooperation, problem-solving and innovation,” that employers are looking for when they hire a work force.
“I’m impressed with the serious way the board and administration are engaging in it,” she said, adding that, so far, “It’s a pleasure to work with them.”
Fisher was scheduled to meet with the board on Tuesday, Nov. 8, at 5:30 p.m. at the Central Administrative Office for a board work session.