Kodiak’s school board is on the search for a new Kodiak Island Borough School District Superintendent and will interview the three finalists in person on March 7. KMXT is speaking with the three individuals in the days before the Kodiak visit.
In her 23 years in public education, Assistant Superintendent Cyndy Mika of the Little Elm Independent School District in Texas has been a teacher, assistant principal, principal, director of accountability and assessment, executive director, and now an assistant superintendent. Mika says the students keep her coming back and back again to the realm of education.
She explains how, when she was she was growing up, she could rely on teachers no matter what other aspects of her life changed.
“My father’s job took him – every three to two years we moved, and the one constant in my life besides my family was my education and my teachers. And it didn’t matter if I was the first day in a new country in a new school, I always knew that that teacher cared about me and wanted to teach me.”
She says that’s why she became an educator, and one of her strengths is building relationships, a big part of which involves face-to-face communication and getting actively involved in the community. The same goes for connecting with teachers: she says a superintendent needs to be a visible presence on campus.
“I’ve worked in the school district that I’m in now for going on my eleventh year, or finishing up my eleventh year, and so always making sure that when the new teachers come on, I meet them and get to know them, see if they have children in the district, etcetera, and just make sure that it’s a close knit community.”
Mika says her current school has a method for teachers, parents, and students to give input and make complaints anonymously, which has fit into the district’s overall system of handling concerns.
“I think that a lot of times, parents, community members, teachers, they just want to be heard, they are their child’s or their student’s best advocate. And they want to be heard, they want to know that decisions are being made in the student’s best interest.”
When we asked what her plans might be if she were chosen as the Kodiak superintendent, Mika says culture beats strategy any day.
“So, for me, the cultures of the schools and how we interact with the students and the community is first and foremost. After that, I know the strategic plan, I’ve looked at it, and making sure that the professional learning communities continue, that the teachers have dedicated time to collaborate with each other and that we’re focusing on student success at all times.”
Mika says she’s experienced with rural areas and has always wanted to live and work in Alaska.