Building Relationships, Yielding Results

Building Relationships, Yielding Results How Superintendents Can Work with School Boards to Create Productive Teams

Julie L. Hackett
cloth, 224 Pages
Pub. Date: June 2015
ISBN-13: 978-1-61250-807-8
Price: 68.00

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paper, 224 Pages
Pub. Date: June 2015
ISBN-13: 978-1-61250-806-1
Price: 33.00

Add to Cart

In Building Relationships, Yielding Results, the seasoned superintendent of an urban school district provides a clear road map for effective collaboration with school boards and the type of relationship-building required to achieve long-term, sustainable reforms. Instead of keeping school board members at arm’s length or inundating them with information, Julie L. Hackett demonstrates how to tailor traditional superintendent activities to include board members and increase understanding and trust. In this book, the author:


Julie has provided a model protocol to improve the working relationship between school boards and superintendents. The basis for an effective working relationship requires a set of mutually agreed to norms and behaviors that receive regular review and reflection. The results build a framework for sustainable collaboration and a strong focus on the most important work of district leadership. — Thomas A. Scott, executive director, Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents

Building Relationships, Yielding Results provides a refreshing and practical guide on how superintendents can restore human agency to reforming a school system through relationship-building with their school board, community, and students, and engage people to creatively solve real needs. Julie Hackett offers a much-needed departure from current educational reform rhetoric that calls on school district leaders to fix complex problems with standardized solutions. — Thomas Alsbury, professor, Seattle Pacific University, and director of the UCEA Center for Research on the Superintendency & District Governance

Hackett provides an easy-to-follow road map for developing and sustaining positive relationships with not only school board members but all stakeholders. Building Relationships, Yielding Results should be required reading for both aspiring and veteran superintendents. — Susan Birdsey, superintendent, Garfield Re-2 School District, Rifle, Colorado

She offers both current and prospective school leaders step-by-step guidance in various leadership skills from setting and prioritizing goals to gaining community support for implementing change. Hackett offers this guidance through the explanation of theoretical leadership constructs that she put into practice. — Richard Diem, Teachers College Record

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About the Author

Julie L. Hackett has been a public educator since 1992, and her background includes experience at the elementary, middle, high school, and post-secondary levels. She began her career as a high school English teacher in Maine, where she was a passionate advocate for helping struggling students learn to read. Julie became a frequent presenter on this topic, sharing ways to engage all learners. As a member of the National Writing Project and an active teacher researcher, she developed an innovative program and partnership between preschool students and her struggling high school readers. In 2000, her efforts culminated in a book, called Strategic Reading: Guiding Students to Lifelong Literacy, 6–12 published by Heinemann, that she coauthored with Tanya Baker and Jeffrey Wilhelm.

After being promoted to the position of Dean of Students, Julie served as an elementary/middle school principal in a regional school system in Maine. In 2001, she was appointed to the Maine Learning Technology Initiative (MLTI)—the single largest 1:1 educational technology program in the world, designed to put technology in the hands of every middle school student in the state. At this time, she pursued a doctoral degree in educational leadership, which she earned in 2005 after completing her dissertation titled “Exploring the Links among Professional Development, Teacher Performance and Student Achievement.”

Julie then began her career as a central office administrator in 2002, when she was appointed to the position of Director of Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment, a role she held in two different school systems in Maine. She led both districts in strategic planning and the creation of comprehensive teacher-developed local assessment systems. In addition, she taught graduate-level courses at her alma mater, the University of Maine, including an instructional leadership course for aspiring principals and a series of gifted and talented courses that she developed for educators. In 2007, Julie and her husband, Frank, and their children, Parker, Cameron, and Kelsey, moved to Massachusetts. She first served as Assistant Superintendent in Taunton, and then Deputy Superintendent of Teaching and Learning in Brookline, where she also led the strategic planning work, as well as efforts to close achievement gaps.

In 2009, Julie became the first female superintendent in Taunton, Massachusetts. One of twenty-four urban school districts in the Commonwealth, the Taunton Public Schools is a diverse school community with approximately eight thousand two hundred students and one thousand two hundred fifty employees. The district had been consistently in the bottom 10 to 12 percent for per pupil expenditures, receiving the least amount of funding of any urban school system in the state for several years running; despite this, its student achievement indicators across a variety of disciplines rivaled those of other high-achieving, affluent urban districts in Massachusetts with per pupil expenditures more than doubling those of the Taunton Public Schools. Julie and her team found creative ways to implement and fund a districtwide model of inclusion that is one of the first in the state, and expand wrap-around services, the arts, foreign languages, and career and technical education offerings. These efforts led to the lowest dropout rates (less than 1 percent) and highest graduation rates (90 percent) in the school system’s history. Julie also takes pride in her work as a mentor, helping at-risk high school students graduate and go on to college.

In her career as a central office administrator, Julie has worked with five school boards and more than thirty school board members. She has been an invited guest speaker at state and national conferences where she has shared strategies for establishing effective superintendent and school board relations. Now in her sixth year as superintendent, Julie Hackett and her school board have worked together to transform their schools and build superintendent–school board relationships focused on their mission of “academic excellence for every student, every classroom, and every school.”

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