Superintendent hopeful’s original interest in education was a coaching job | PostIndependent.com
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Superintendent hopeful’s original interest in education was a coaching job

Editor’s Note: There are three finalists for the Roaring Fork School District Re-1 superintendent position. The candidates are Judy Haptonstall, Ken Ladouceur and Delbert Jarman. This is the third of three candidate profiles to appear in the Post Independent. The current superintendent, Fred Wall, will retire at the end of this academic year.Maj. Delbert W. Jarman is a former school superintendent who teaches superintendent hopefuls how to be superintendents. For Jarman, being a good superintendent means involving the community and using “best practices” to run a school district well. After two years teaching educational leadership at the Citadel in Charleston, S.C., he’s hoping to take on new challenges as the superintendent of Roaring Fork School District Re-1. Currently an associate professor at the Citadel, Jarman, 59, previously served as superintendent of the Blackford County School Corp. in Hartford City, Ind., and has a background in English and psychology, with degrees from Indiana University. Jarman’s career in education kicked-off decades ago with dreams of coaching high school football, not necessarily coaching school districts through their challenges. “I hate to say that because it sounds like I had more of an interest in coaching than teaching,” he said. But after a first teaching gig in Bradenton, Fla., with the goal of moving up the coaching ranks, he found he enjoyed teaching English and journalism, even after scoring a head coach position. Soon, he found he could achieve more success in school administration, he said, enjoying that job more than he expected. Once he received an offer to be an assistant superintendent in Carrollton, Ky., he said he found his true passion, even though he’s worked in higher education in recent years. “The biggest problem I have with higher ed is I can’t get a passion for it,” he said. “I always liked the challenge of the superintendency.”While a superintendent, he became “an expert in school construction,” he said, adding that he has worked on about $100 million in school construction projects. After falling in love with Colorado while on frequent trips to the Rockies to visit his son at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, he decided it was time to move West and return to the superintendent’s chair. Now, Jarman wants to bring his extensive experience, enthusiasm and leadership skills to the Roaring Fork Valley schools, which, he said, have challenges he’s never faced before. While he said he’s never worked for a district whose constituents have tried to recall board members or seize private property for a high school expansion, he said he’s adept at working through a district’s problems and involving the community in their solutions. If community members ask how a superintendent can pull the community together, “that means they’re not together,” he said. “The first thing any superintendent has to do, you’ve got to find out what’s creating the consternation. You’ve got to spend enough time in those particular communities to ask a lot of questions and gain a broader perspective on the issues on why they feel left out.”He said it takes time for a new superintendent to intimately understand all the issues a community is dealing with, but he would have to ask what’s been done to address problems thus far. Citing an old military adage, Jarman said, “You really do have to survey the terrain and know where the journey’s going to take you, (or) you’re going to get yourself blown up.”As superintendent he said he would employ “best practices” to assure high achievement and good leadership within the district. Best practices, he said, are guidelines for how a good school district should operate. Some of those guidelines include making sure the district provides a safe and orderly environment for students, expects high student achievement and has robust community involvement. Achievement, especially for English language learners, depends on the district helping students and teachers communicate with each other, possibly using interpreters on standardized testing for those students who do not read English well, he said. The bottom line, Jarman said, is that he will bring to RFSD a great deal of experience as a superintendent, school construction expert and leader who keeps in mind that the entire educational process is really about the kids. “I don’t sweat the small stuff,” he said. “I just try to work on the small stuff.”Contact Bobby Magill: 945-8515, ext. 520bmagill@postindependent.com


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