Jeff Meadors: Strong leaders will take us from good to great

Jeff Meadors

Jeff Meadors

I want public schools to be great.

Great schools attract high quality business, industry and retail. They make the lives of Realtors easier. They enrich communities and add value to the quality of life.

In "Good to Great," author Jim Collins argues that companies that go from good to great neither rant nor rave about a crisis -- and they don't manufacture one where none exists.

Collins argues that leaders of companies, and I would argue school systems, who go from good to great don't start with the "where;" they start with the "who." They start by getting the right people on the bus, the wrong people off the bus, and the right people in the right seats. First the people, then the direction.

Collins argues that if you begin with "who" you can more easily adapt to a fast-changing world and you don't need to worry about motivating them. The right people are self-motivated. If you have the wrong people on the bus, nothing else matters. The direction, vision, mission and goals may be right, but you won't achieve greatness. Great vision, says Collins, with mediocre people still produces mediocre results.

Schools need strong leaders. Educational guru Mike Schmoker argues that schools will not improve until the building leader begins to work cooperatively with teachers. Research on best practices ranks strong school principals as one of the greatest influences on student achievement, second only to that of the classroom teacher.

A California study of school administrators found that students succeed best in schools that have strong principals who provide instructional leadership for their teachers. A strong, safe school culture is the basis upon which a strong school is built, and the school leader is critical to achieving this environment.

Chambers of Commerce, voters, senior citizens, those with children and those without all want strong, safe, high functioning schools to develop a local workforce. People buy property and homes based on school quality. They move away from low performing schools, taking their tax dollars, influence and capital with them, and it is nearly impossible to regentrify the wasteland left behind. Many senior citizens, incomes fixed, find themselves caught in the waste.

Newton County Superintendent Gary Mathews gained approval of personnel recommendations this month that put the right people on the bus. Mathews put curriculum and instruction front and center and beefed up school improvement. A visionary with an eye on the daily grind as well, Mathews has positioned NCSS to face the challenges of a single statewide accountability scorecard called the Georgia College & Career Ready Performance Index. He put personnel on the bus with expert knowledge in Common Core State Standards and Georgia Performance Standards.

We have miles to go, yet inch by inch, piece by piece, Mathews is making recommendations to put the right people on the bus and to get them in the right seats.

He knows what Jim Collins knows. It is the "who" that matters.

Jeff Meadors represents District 1 on the Newton County Board of Education. He may be reached at Jeffrey.meadors@gmail.com.


amp72 3 years, 8 months ago

100% correct Mr. Meadors. Keep writing and fighting! And Dr. Mathews, your work is not done. You need to look down Highway 36 and find out why so many good teachers are leaving AHS and continue making ch ..ch...ch...changes. (Hint, it's not the students).


MissLoy 3 years, 8 months ago

I agree amp and the your right it's not the students. Let's take a guess at who or what it is. Let's play Jeopardy. I will take Principals for 1000 Alex!!!!!! Who are the Carpenters. It is a shame that the Admin is having such a hard time with these students acting out this way it is really is. Yes Mr Meadors please keep writing and fighting because if you don't these problems are going to get worse and worse then we will have an empty school because all of our children will be in jail.

These deserve more both you and I know. We need back up for you to get this situation under contol. I believe if anyone can do it you can. Let's take back AHS.

Please help!!!!!!!!!


doubleaww 3 years, 8 months ago

I think that if we could just get the right people behind Mr Meadors to help him with this sad situation at Prison 36 formally known as AHS that maybe our kids would have a fighting chance. As I see it right now the kids and faculty are suffering so much I don't even think they know what to do, in fact i'm sure of it. Let's see we need someone with a strong voice to be heard, strong leadership qualities and someone who doesn't take BS from people. The most important which all of these qualities are important but the most important of all someone who has been in education for 25 years and knows his way around the system. This is who we need. ALL of these qualities are your district one board member and he definately has a voice. We need to clean house get some qualified people and over there to help get this mess straight.

Any suggestions Mr Meadors? AHS needs your HELP DESPERATELY !!!!!!!!


amp72 3 years, 8 months ago

I personally know 4 teachers who were either run out of there or left just to get away from that mess. It is time someone stepped up and made some changes. NOW!


Jugsapoppin 3 years, 8 months ago

You have a good point Doubleaww that unless we get somone over there that knows exactly what they need to do to get things straight then nothing is ever going to change. We will continue to have fights, all the things that are going on now is complete crap. Our children can't learn in this enviornment and the teachers can't do the job expected of them having to look over their shoulders and having to be police officers. So l say let's get the one person that stands for what he believes in. He isn't afraid to speak and he will voice an opinion. Best of all he is well liked by students and is a great Advocate for the children.


Littlemissmuffett 3 years, 8 months ago

Our students are lucky. If anyone can clean house or make it happen-he can.


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