AVON — Avon Community School Corporation Superintendent Dr. Margaret Hoernemann wants people to know what’s going on in the district, and feels the best way to do that is to hold a series of hour-long Superintendent Roundtables.
The first is set for Aug. 28. One session will be at 10 a.m. at White Oak Elementary School; a second session will be at 7 p.m. at the Administration Center.
“It really came from talking with other superintendents in the area who have been at the same stage of their careers as I am, in the first year of superintendency,” Hoernemann said. “In March I embarked on what I call ‘the listening tour,’ initially focused as a communication tool where I met with small and large groups of employees and students, over 900 total employees. Some were in groups of four to five cafeteria workers, some in groups of 100 teachers. The idea was essentially to listen and learn.”
Hoernemann has been with the district for 12 years, but was only recently appointed superintendent.
She said the roundtable discussions will be an informal format and that she hopes to hold them about five times per year.
“I’m trying to let people get to know me, not create a big, formal time consuming event where they come to a three-hour meeting and listen to a presentation,” Hoernemann said. “My belief is that people need to know who the superintendent is.
“I don’t see us solving the problems of the world, but want to give parents and community members the chance to see and know as much as possible. I’ve had a lot of people tell me they intend to come, but I’ve had a number where like this morning, I ran into a dad that was walking in this morning and told him about the idea and he said ‘I don’t need to come. I already know you and I feel very comfortable.’ I think people feel positive about the effort and each forum will be very different, depending on who’s there and what topics come up.”
Hoernemann has taken time to eat lunch with ACSC students to get to know them better.
“ It’s not real formal, not fancy,” she said. “I meet with a half dozen kids and bring a lunch and come away with an appreciation of how our students love our schools and our teachers and what neat kids we have. I feel it’s beneficial. Kids enjoy it. Parents tell me they enjoy it.
“There’s a danger to get out of touch with our school system. That’s why it’s important to me to not just talk to teachers, but talk to custodians at 11:30 at night. Everyone’s important in helping us achieve our goals, so I’m making a point to meet with every employee. It wasn’t possible to meet everyone last year, but those are continuing. Bus drivers, cafeteria workers, whomever, we’re just trying to create a culture where everyone’s rowing in the same direction and how we each individually contribute to it.”