OPINION

From the Superintendent’s Desk

Staff Writer
Story City Herald

—by Matt Patton

Thank You

For several months my family and I anxiously anticipated joining the Roland-Story school family and moving to the community. Upon our arrival in late June, people welcomed us with words of encouragement, friendly smiles, and even some cookies. Thank you for your kindness and for making our move a positive experience. We are looking forward to a great school year and getting to know many more people in the near future.

The Pattons

I would like to take this opportunity to tell you a little about my family and myself. I was born and raised in Fairfield, Iowa. During school I was very active in athletics (football, baseball, basketball), church, and community. Following high school, I attended Iowa State University where I participated on the boxing team and graduated with a degree in history education. During my senior year at ISU I lived just north of Story City at Riverside Bible Camp. Shortly after college, Nicole and I were married and have now been together 20 wonderful years. The first two years of our marriage was spent in Chicago where we served in a church as youth pastors. We returned to Iowa in 1996, when I accepted a teaching position in my hometown. We remained in Fairfield for six years where I taught social studies both at the middle school and high school. I also coached football, baseball, and supervised the winter weightlifting program. During this time I was also elected to the Fairfield City Council where I served for three years. In the spring of 2001, I completed my Master’s Degree in Educational Administration from the University of Iowa. For the next nine years I served as a middle and high school principal with stops in Lake City, Mount Ayr, and Pella. For the last three years I have served as superintendent for the Baxter School District. During that same time Nicole has served as an elementary teacher and an instructional coach for the Area Education Association (AEA) in Johnston. We have three awesome children, Hannah (14), Rachel (12), and Luke (9).

Superintendent’s Pledge

As superintendent of the Roland-Story Community School District, I pledge to:

1. actively listen and continually learn

In the coming months I plan to meet with each school employee individually to learn as much as I can about the history of the district and what priorities need our focus as we move forward. I also plan to meet with several parents and community members with the same goals in mind.

2. be trustworthy and straight forward

I understand that character and reputation are more easily retained than regained. I will make mistakes, I am sure, but I will be honest and transparent.

3. be visible in the school building and community

With the many demands placed on school administrators it is very easy to get isolated or stuck in the office. I will make a conscience effort to visit classrooms and to be at extracurricular activities. I will be involved in community events.

4. ensure that the mission, vision and goals of the district are fulfilled

These things are not merely words on a poster placed in a hallway or office. They must come alive in our actions and permeate through everything we do individually and as an organization.

5. maintain high expectations

Experience has taught me that people respond according to the expectations placed upon them. Setting high expectations and articulating them are two fundamentals to success.

6. seek input and involve others in decisions when possible

I answer to every student, parent, staff member, board member and taxpayer in the district. People need a voice in matters that impact them. I understand this and will seek input whenever possible.

7. develop strong teachers and cultivate the best teaching practices

Teachers are at the heart of our mission. Great teachers are critical, and I am committed not only to supporting them, but also to providing them with opportunities for continual professional growth and improvement.

8. have a sense of humor

While I might not always initiate it, people who know me know that I value a sense of humor. I am going to enjoy my work and I will expect everyone at the school to find joy in the difference they make for kids. Life is too short and is too precious a gift not to enjoy.

9. be a role model for students and staff

I will walk the talk and live in accordance with my values and beliefs. I will work hard and take my responsibilities seriously. I will continue to be a lifelong learner.

10. be a bucket filler

Good things happen when people are encouraged to see the good in humanity. A focus on the positive is key to accomplishing goals and providing an enjoyable place to work and live. A bucket-filler is encouraging, optimistic, and elevates the people he/she has contact with. I will strive to always be a bucket filler.

I pledge these ten things to everyone in the school and community. I feel incredibly blessed to serve as superintendent and to do so in such supportive communities. I truly welcome your ideas and input. If you ever need to contact me, my email is mpatton@roland-story.k12.ia.us and my phone number is 515-733-4301.