In 2011, Dr. Pat Greco began as the superintendent of the Menomonee Falls School District in Wisconsin. She faced no shortage of problems: a suspension rate seven times higher than the state average, performance gaps across income and race, cost overruns, and a failure to meet performance goals defined under the No Child Left Behind Act among others. Not to mention a new administration was upending collective bargaining for public sector employees instilling fear within the teachers she was setting out to lead.
On her third day as superintendent, she was busy introducing herself to the community and sending out letters to parents announcing their school was in ‘need of improvement’. The Milwaukee Journal had labeled the district as high-spending and under-performing.
A problem she did not face was a lack of students who wanted to learn and teachers who loved to teach. In the podcast, we’ll discuss how she managed to align students, teachers, administrators, and the board of education around a clear set of goals and systemically improved everyone’s performance through rapid PDCA cycles. We’ll learn how students keep a learning journal to reflect on learning objectives and methods with their teachers; how nurses and facilities personnel cooperate to proactively ensure a safe environment for students; and how leaders demonstrated the right behaviors to enable a culture of continuous improvement.
By the end of her tenure, Menomonee Falls schools ranked at the top across the state and the nation. Now Dr. Greco is helping educators and policymakers to shift from a program driven mindset to a system driven mindset, where culture is driven by continuous improvement.
Have a listen here.