A Vision for All In the Community

Dr. Gene R. Carter, CEO and Executive Director of ASCD on A Vision for the Community

In my role as Executive Director and CEO here at ASCD, I’ve had the opportunity to travel internationally and meet with educators worldwide. These trips have been incredibly valuable because they have helped inform me as to not only the challenges facing educators and educational systems worldwide, but also the tremendous educational achievements being made around the globe.

One thing that strikes me as I reflect on my most recent travels is that a true, shared vision of what student achievement looks like is common in successful educational systems.

You see, in each successful scenario I’ve seen—whether it is in the United States, South Korea, Finland, or Singapore—the schools and educators who are serving the community’s students are not going it alone. They are engaging stakeholders in their vision of a high-quality education and building support for their effort to create a brighter future.

At ASCD, we believe student success isn’t driven just by educators, but also by their families, local business people, government leaders, philanthropists, the students themselves, and many other individuals throughout the community. We seek to support educators as they engage these myriad stakeholders in our common task of supporting the success of each learner.

This year, I encourage you to make it a goal to achieve buy-in for your vision of education with the people who are important in your community. ASCD has plenty of resources to get you started. Read this article from Education Update, check out the book Mobilizing the Community by Hugh Price, or dive into the archives of Educational Leadership both recent (“The Resourceful School”) and not-so-recent (“Engaging the Parents and the Community in Schools ”).

Excellence involves us all, and setting expectations and visions for students not only at your school, but also out in your community is extremely important.

Dr. Gene R. Carter is a veteran educator with experience as a private and public school teacher, public school administrator, superintendent of schools, and university professor. Before joining ASCD in 1992, Dr. Carter served for nine years as the superintendent of schools in Norfolk, Va., where he succeeded in reducing the dropout rate, built partnership programs with the private sector, implemented a districtwide school improvement program, established an early education center for 3-year-olds and their parents, and implemented a regional scholarship foundation for public school students. He has written numerous articles and book chapters concentrating on educational issues and topics and is the coauthor of "The American School Superintendent: Leading in an Age of Pressure" (Jossey-Bass Inc., 1997).