Craig Hockenberry

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Craig Hockenberry Can Implement A Strategic Plan


Craig Hockenberry Can Implement A Strategic Plan


Craig Hockenberry Can Implement A Strategic Plan

As Superintendent, Craig Hockenberry worked to listen to the community of the Three Rivers School District, develop core values, and champion an effort to pass the district’s first strategic plan.

As explained in prior posts, this was a two year process that involved a great deal of scheduling, planning, and preparation that was in addition to the daily work of a school district. This is time and effort that a lot of Superintendents are not willing to spend, because the work of a superintendent in a small school district is challenging, and because a strategic plan means accountability to clear, agreed-upon standards of academic achievement.

This did not phase Craig, because he believes in hard work and personal and professional accountability.

But what does accountability look like?

Craig Hockenberry Accountability under a strategic plan

So what, exactly does accountability look like under a strategic plan?

It means you have the authority to take the steps necessary to achieve the goals you have agreed upon, and spend money in the way you agreed.

In one example, soon after the plan passed, there was a request for a small athletic facility to serve as a restroom and locker room for athletes. The fields were a fair distance from the school itself, and a facility like that would have saved precious time for students and coaches as they prepared for events and cleaned up after them.

Everyone agreed that it would be a worthwhile expense.

However, accountability under a strategic plan often means not doing something. In this case, there was no academic imperative for the facility. It didn’t align with the goals set forth in the Board-approved plan, so the answer had to be no.

So did this mean that no new structures could be built outside the school itself?

Not at all.

Shortly after the athletics request came a request for a “pole barn” - a similar kind of structure in a location outside the building. But this request came from the career academy and it was different in one important way.

Their plan was for an exterior building where students could safely practice welding, and assemble internet technology. The building would allow them to safely store the equipment and allow ready access to the needed electricity and fuel, without taking up additional room inside the growing school.

In this case, the difference was, request aligned with the strategic plan.

The plan had a goal for strengthening student skills in alignment with career objectives. The district’s career plans included welding and IT in pathways to work.

There was a goal clearly attached to this request, and it was approved.

Craig Hockenberry Strategic plans should align academic goals with values

The Three Rivers School District strategic plan put the district on a clear pathway to achieving significant academic gains over the following three to five years. Importantly, it all happened without sacrificing the district’s dedication to the core values they had co-developed just a year earlier.

In fact, the core values helped create an important filter for the work being done by the strategic planning leadership team.

This allowed the plan to be focused on academic goals as set forth by the state and federal education governing bodies, while allowing the unique character of the Three Rivers schools and villages to shine through.

These core values were apparent on every page of the strategic plan, where everyone in the district was empowered to

Cultivate excellence

Inspire innovation

Nurture inclusion

This meant that the conversations Craig Hockenberry started the day he was announced as the new Superintendent were part of the plan the guided the district into the future.

Threading these conversations together, instead of creating multiple different, isolated conversations, helped create a unique sense of trust and confidence in the schools throughout the community. Many large and mid-sized corporations seem to lurch from new initiative to new initiative, with leaders simply chasing the latest fad or buzzword or - perhaps worse - doing the exact same gameplan at each new Superintendent post.

Building a coherent, in-depth conversation that lead to meaningful and substantive change was a refreshing variation from the norm.

By aligning all the conversations into meaningful action, and building them into core values, then a strategic plan, Craig Hockenberry allowed the community to shape their school district into what they wanted for their children.

By implementing the plan with fidelity, Craig lived up to the accountability measures. This kind of accountability can be scary for some. In some cases, people feel threatened by accountability, and grow angry when they can’t get what they want.

But good leadership welcomes accountability, and seeks to thrive under rigorous expectations. This is especially true when those expectations are centered around students meeting academic achievement and career goals that will prepare them for life after high school.

Craig Hockenberry

Craig Hockenberry Can Implement A Strategic Plan

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