David Faulkner is almost 50 years old and has been in education 25 of those years. This year he’s taking over as superintendent of the Brentwood School District.
“It’s been a lot to learn starting from day one, although I’ve had the advantage of seeing it from across the hall,” he said.
Faulker had been the assistant superintendent to former superintendent, Dr. Charles Penberthy. last year.
“It was really nice,” Faulkner said, “having that long transition between January when I was appointed and July 1 when I took over, because I got to pay more attention to how things were done.”
The new teachers came in last week for orientation. He said he wants the new hires to know the “unique nature of Brentwood.” They tell new teachers to think of Brentwood as a small hometown district. It’s much smaller than districts some of the teachers are coming from.
He said he’s helping the new teachers “think small, think kid,” he said. “This is a great place to remember why you went into education. You really can spend great time with kids. You really can form good relationships with families and see the difference you make in kids’ lives.”
He said having a new administrative team will be a challenge across the board. In addition to his new position, Brentwood has a new assistant superintendent, and new principals at both and elementary schools.
“That’s exciting because our new administrators are bringing a lot of energy and they bring new insights, and they ask, why do we do things this way?” he said.
“It’s always good to have those questions asked, because we find there are better ways to do things,” he said.
Faulkner said the challenge for the district as a whole will be looking at ways to trim the budget.
“We got hit last year with some unexpected shortfalls of revenue from taxes that we were expecting that didn’t happen, so we trimmed the budget way back,” he said. “We have some positions we’ve left open by attrition, so everybody is doing a little more than they had been doing before.”
He said they’re assuming up front that anyplace they can cut they will.
The cuts will be far away from students and instruction, though, Faulkner said. “Where ever you are, look for ways that we can save money, and make it a mindset,” he said he's telling the teachers.
“I think our people have always done a really good job of being judicious with our resources, now we need to be more assertive about that, and then planning for the future,” he said.
Faulkner said Missouri got a waiver for No Child Left Behind, which will lead to changes in educational accountability. There will be new ways of building district accountability and a new model for teacher evaluation. He said student growth will be part of teacher evaluation.
Faulkner said when the new teachers came in it was like the first day of school.
“We’ll have another first day next week when the veteran teachers come back and another first day when the kids come,” he said.
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