My presence in the buildings and at events generates many questions from students. Who is the superintendent? What is your purpose?

The school superintendent is a position that cannot operate in a vacuum. As the chief executive officer of the school district, the school superintendent must interact with the school board, principals, parents, community leaders, teachers and students. The school superintendent must be first and foremost, the education leader for the community. A good working relationship with the community and the school superintendent is the best guarantee for a quality education for young people.

The superintendent’s main role is one of leadership-leadership that helps the school board identify clear goals for the schools, leadership that interrupts policy guidelines to building principals and staff, and leadership that helps the community understand what the schools are and what they can become.

 The superintendent also leads the way in bringing together members of the community in support of education. Members of this coalition include parents, students, and adults with no children in school, school administrators, support staff and school board members.

The school board is the policy making body of the school district and employs the superintendent. Its selection of a superintendent will have a great impact on the kind of schools the community will develop.

The superintendent, as chief executive officer of the school district, receives general directions and outlines of goals and policies from the school board, and is charged by the board with organizing the staff to meet those goals. With the superintendent’s recommendation, the board determines the annual budget, sets the educational goals and approves the guidelines for relationships with all employee groups.

In almost all areas, the superintendent’s actions are guided by federal or state directives as well as school board policy.

The superintendent sets the tone for the ways in which a school district responds to parents and patrons. Even if the local school board welcomes community involvement in the schools, at board meetings and in planning sessions with the school staff, its success can be affected by the openness and influence of the superintendent. Federal and state policies do not address the relationship between schools and the community. If this partnership is to work, both parties have important roles to play. One way is the central office to be open for questions and concerns from all outside sources. Please feel free to stop by (755 Main Street in Manilla), call (712-654-2852), or e-mail ( questions or concerns.

I hope everyone is off to a GREAT start!

Yours in education,

Dr. Tom Ward, Superintendent

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