Q&A with Kittatinny Superintendent Hutcheson

Hutcheson named 2014 Superintendent of the Year

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By Jessica Lopez

— After Kittatinny Regional High School Superintendent Craig Hutcheson won the Superintendent of the Year for 2014 through the Sussex County Superintendents' Roundtable just recently, the Township Journal interviewed Hutcheson and asked about his role as superintendent and what drives him. Here are his responses.

Q: What contributed most to your becoming a superintendent?

A: I think what has contributed most to my becoming a superintendent are two things. I gained a strong appreciation and work ethic from my mother and father and they instilled in me the desire to make every effort to give my best effort each day and not let the little things get in the way of the big picture. My father passed away last year after working for over 40 years as a maintenance and roads employee for our local borough where I grew up in Pennsylvania.

My mother owns a small beauty salon and even today as she is in her mid-60's she works six days a week, eight-to-12 hours per day because she loves it and that is the same sense of dedication I have to this position.

The second most influential people who motivated me to become a school administrator are the people I have worked for over the last 20 plus years. I have had some wonderful mentors and seeing the positive effect they could have on a school system was something I found to be intriguing.

Q: What drives you as a school administrator?

A: It is the sense that if I let my guard down and don't work hard to make the schools that employ me a better place I am not just letting down a company, I am letting down 1,500 students and their parents and our community. When your products and outcomes are children, you have a lot more to lose if you do not work hard each day. The reality is we don't have the ability to turn back the clock and recall our bad days, we have to learn and improve each day to make sure our students have every opportunity to succeed.

Our children and this school community are too important to not be motivated and driven each day.

Q: What areas do you think you specialize in as an administrator?

A: I think I am a good organizational person, meaning I seem to be able to connect to people and lead by example. I really think that you have to have effective communication skills to be an effective school administrator and you have to have an internal drive and dedication to improving the system each day, year to year. I am not a beat around the bush type of person, as I believe we need to have frank and honest dialogue to get to the root of any issue.

The reality is that we are not always going to agree, but if we can at least understand the perspective of each party then we are more apt to reach an amicable resolution. I believe I have a strong knowledge of school law, special education needs and collaborative leadership. I believe I know where my weaknesses lie in education and knowing that, I make sure to strengthen my weaknesses with good people with those specific strengths to compliment where I feel I am not as strong as I want to be as a leader. I make sure to surround myself with good, qualified people to make sure we are developing and growing as a school each day.

Q: How do you find the time to do it all, including attending meetings and overseeing the staff?

A: The reality is that there is not time to do it all, but what you have to do is prioritize, schedule and make sure you are seeing the big picture when you are trying to accomplish tasks each day. I know that my girlfriend and family do suffer due to the time I spend at work or going back to work at night or weekends, but I hear the internal voice that tells me that is what I need to do to get things accomplished.

Having been in this type of position for 10 years now, everyone knows what to expect and my family and support systems know that we may be out for a ride or dinner Saturday evening, but on the way home I will be swinging by the schools to make sure all is well.

They accept that as me just being me.

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