Interview with the Interim: It’s All Good
Dr. James Daniel Good.
Superintendent Dr. Dan Good.
Google is generally a great tool for stalking and finding out all about public figures… unless that public figure is Dr. Dan Good, the new interim superintendent for Columbus City Schools (CCS).
After sorting out obituaries and a few random medical practitioners, the best search yielded two salient things: a flood of reprocessed press releases announcing that Good is the new interim superintendent of Columbus City Schools; and also some announcements about a nice party for him when he retired from Westerville City Schools.
It’s easier, much easier, to just ask Dr. Good questions. So far, he’s open and candid and shockingly interested in communicating. No wonder people are excited about the new leader.
It’s probably best to start out any interview with easy questions. Start an interview with something obtuse, and the dialog tends to be… short.
So, what’s a nice guy like you doing in a place like this?
Lots of people are curious to know why anyone would want to take the reins of a school system that’s drowning in legal and ethical issues; the attendance scandal is still unraveling. Good sees joining the team as an almost serendipitous event. He says, “I believe the opportunity chose me; not the other way around.”
He continues, “For Dan Good, the ideal professional role is one that allows the enhancement and amplification of any creative, emotional, intellectual, social and spiritual capital I can harness. The CCS Interim Superintendent position will require all of that and then some, which is exhilarating to me.”
“Exhilarating” is certainly one word for the challenge. There’s another big draw for Good, though: the staff.
The new leader says meeting the faculty and staff has been his favorite thing so far, observing, “The very dedicated faculty and staff of CCS want their community to be as proud of their schools as they are of their city, and acknowledge that we can do better.” He says there’s a shared sense that CCS can truly be a model urban system and also that the children in the community “deserve better”.
According to Good, there are more similarities between CCS and his old stomping grounds at Westerville City Schools than you might imagine. He grants the size difference, but emphasizes that he sees the same socioeconomic barriers to success in both communities.
Beyond the feel-good stuff, the new interim superintendent is also really interested in data -and in building plans for the future with that data. He says he brings a background that celebrates data-driven decision-making: “By systemically using data to drive decision-making and mediating the implementation of actions that support the community’s strategic plan, organizations with whom I’ve had the good fortune to work, have improved performance while reducing expenditures.”
In big picture terms, the superintendent says that his team is in the process of identifying goals and “deliverables” for the district. And because he is a data fan, he notes that high-perfoming school systems all use “metrics that assess increased student achievement; safe, accessible, inspiring learning environments; high quality instruction provided by highly qualified, rewarded, retained professionals, and community engagement. “
That community engagement element is more than a one-hit deal for Good. He clarifies: “Emphasis on ‘engaged’ -dynamic, not static, there’s a difference.”
It’s still early in the game. The school year hasn’t even started. But in terms of the interim superintendent: so far, so…
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Photo via Columbus City Schools Facebook Page.