Anthony Strong practices transparent leadership.
“I like it that way,” said Strong, who just finished his first year as the superintendent of the Pendleton County school district. “I like for people, particularly parents, to know what’s going on.”
Strong, Kentucky Teacher’s June Leader of the Month, previously taught in the district for 10 years before leaving to become an administrator in the Kenton and Campbell county school districts.
When he returned to Pendleton County last year, he brought with him an appreciation for transparency.
“I had a Facebook page for two years in Campbell County, so we looked at that here,” he said. “It’s not a free-for-all, but it’s tied to Twitter for those who don’t have Facebook pages. (Click here to see Strong’s Pendleton County Facebook page.)
Strong said derogatory statements are removed if posted, but negative comments regarding school decisions are not.
“A lot of times, I’ve been able to message those people or comment back, and we work together to turn negatives into positives,” he said.
Strong focused his first year not only on being a transparent leader, but also on implementation of MAP testing and creating a financially-stable district.
“Great leaders must make difficult decisions and have relentless focus on the organization’s mission and vision. This focus requires the highest expectations and the continually supportive ‘push’ to get to the next level of success,” said Amy Razor, district director of teaching and learning. “Mr. Strong has demonstrated a remarkable ability to remain focused, make extremely difficult decisions and hold high expectations to improve student learning.
“Pendleton County is quickly gaining momentum, and critical improvements are happening,” she added.
Razor said Strong has mastered building a strong culture of support and collaboration, and that he respects all staff members.
“He has created a superintendent advisory panel of community members to facilitate the changes in the district as he gathers insight and input from the community,” she said. “He involves stakeholders, asks the difficult questions and ensures that he has considered all perspectives when making decisions and solving problems.”
Recently, Strong organized a districtwide meeting for all school-based decision making council members to discuss and educate them on budget matters.
“Even in tough situations, Mr. Strong remains focused and fair,” Razor said. “He communicates clearly to all stakeholders, treats constituents with respect and moves forward with his decision-making. It takes a confident and strong leader to do this.”