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Journal of Texas School Women Executives, Volume I, Issue 1 2012 Dr. Ravinia herself and the BOE member interviewed in the initial study stated that the next superintendent must be committed to the improvement process that was well underway in the district. Significant improvement in student achievement as measured by the state testing had convinced the BOE that the changes initiated were moving the district in the desired direction. As a result, the school district designed a profile of characteristics (Ostmeyer, 2003) which the staff at WCISD wanted to see in the new superintendent. Both Dr. Ravinia and Dr. Self engaged the district in a continuous improvement process that resulted in gains in student learning, teacher effectiveness and leadership development. The leadership styles and actions of the two women were vastly different, with one being the initiator of the district’s changes and the other the developer and institutionalizer of the changes initiated. Dr. Ravinia was described repeatedly as a change agent with the inference being that she disrupted the status quo. Not all of the references to Dr. Ravinia’s change agent style were intended to be complimentary. However, the following quote from Dr. Self indicates that Dr. Ravinia’s style was empowering of her own style when she arrived: I was lucky, when I got here, but I knew that when I came there had been a lot of change in the district, really focusing on professional learning communities and they had read Richard DuFour and really were very fairly sophisticated compared to other school districts in the state and that really helped cause I didn’t have to come in and do a whole lot of backfilling in terms of knowledge and so I came in and I was able to do…be more of a team builder and that was my focus, I did not want to change anything the first year. I wanted to give them a chance to take a breath and realize we were on this journey together. And we were going to continue our improvement effort and that’s what we did. (Self, 149-176) The actions taken by Dr. Ravinia align with ―planned discontinuity‖ as described by Hargreaves (2005) and were intended to ―shake up‖ the district from its complacency in dealing with student success. According to BOE president, Joanna, the board searched intentionally for ―a different superintendent‖. She shared her involvement over the past ten years, specifically regarding the recruitment of Dr. Ravinia. …we felt I think as a board that we needed [to] make significant changes…lots of things were happening and we needed someone that [would] come in with new ideas and emphasis on academic excellence…the ability to make hard decisions difficult decisions…someone who would be very enthusiastic about change and I think Dr. Ravinia is really, um I hate to use such a term but it’s [a] change agent. She was willing to take risk[s] and actually I don’t want to brag but one of my strong points is the ability to choose people. I went to college and that was always my forte…so I hired a lot of people and cause I hired good people and trained good people…they were always stealing from me at where I worked…so um we had uh the TASB group that came in [with a list of] candidates but I think I was really the one who emphasized to the board that we really needed a change. (Joanna 1-2) In addition, the actions which Dr. Ravinia employed, as described by herself and others (Ostmeyer, 2003), included a re-organization of administrative responsibilities and roles at central office; a consistent, articulated vision for the district’s improvement; and a variety of staff - 22 -

Profile for Texas Association of School Administrators

JTWSE—Volume 1  

JTWSE—Volume 1  

Profile for tasanet