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New Superintendent Reflects on First 100 Days, Plans For Future

In a "state of the district report," John Tharp identified his areas of focus for the future and what he has learned so far.

Nearly 100 (work) days since he became Greendale superintendent, John Tharp last week presented a "state of the district" report on how his tenure has gone so far and his vision for the future.

To be sure, it's been a time of change in the Greendale School District, Tharp said, noting the change in district administrators as well as education reforms made at the state level.

During a "listening and learning" tour, he found both pride in the schools and a sense of uncertainty from parents about their kids' future.

"I've heard it loud and clear that a plan for the future is needed, and that's what I'm here to provide," Tharp said. 

The community doesn't "want us to rest on our laurels. There has been a lot of success in the district ... but they also said they want necessary changes to help this next generation become independent and productive citizens of the 21st century."

Tharp identified accelerating academic achievement, improving communication, navigating education reform and technology as a few of his areas of focus in the months ahead.

He announced the creation of the Superintendent's Community Coalition, which he said will bring together diverse voices in the community to help him move the district forward.

"Folks who are interested, all you have to do is let me know. I'll seek you out, you seek me out," he said. "This can be a positive group that we share information, share ideas and make sure, from the top down, we stay engaged into the needs of the community."

On school safety, Tharp said it's important that staff members feel safe so they can "take the chance to really push the envelope—within reason, of course— to really advance the curriculum in the classrooms."

"We have to have those conditions in our schools and in our buildings," he said.

Prior to coming to Greendale, Tharp was a high school teacher, administrator and most recently an assistant superintendent for middle and high schools in Williamson County, Tennessee.

He began his Greendale duties in September. He said the challenges facing the district "aren't for the faint of heart," but the community must move forward together.

"We need to stop some of the unpleasantries," Tharp said, "and pull up and meet the demands that our students need us to do."

Eugene February 01, 2013 at 10:41 PM
Amy, if central office leaders are posting anonymously to the Greendale Patch, all you have to do or the reporter has to do is ask for their computer and web history. Even if it is deleted, it is still recoverable. If this is true, this is a travesty. I agree the school board and President Joe staying silent speaks louder than if they spoke out.
Greendale educator February 02, 2013 at 03:12 PM
Amy, Greendale Public Schools now has 2 public relations people working for the district. District employees are wondering why the administration hired 2 to replace Attewell? Why does Dr. Tharp have two public relations people on the payroll? Does the school board know and approve this?
Rschneed February 03, 2013 at 01:20 AM
Do you have names of the two public relations people? I follow the district closely and have not heard this news.
Ann February 03, 2013 at 02:19 AM
Rschneed Here are the two district employees. Why do they need two employees to do public relations? Kitty Goyette and Faithann Stoner
Gene February 05, 2013 at 08:30 PM
"It is very refreshing to see somebody from the outside who can give a more objective perspective on education than those trapped in the bubble." While maybe he CAN give us an objective perspective, point is he hasn't. What has he shared that we didn't already know?

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