Healthy debate, resolution and accountability urged at Hemet Unified School District board workshop

Professional development expert Kent Bechler of KB Associates urges Hemet Unified School District board members and administrators to follow the latest leadership techniques to improve their efforts to better educate the students in the district. Tony Ault photo

New and proven ways to improve the leadership of its administrators, teachers and staff and its human resources were discussed in a special Hemet Unified School District board of directors workshop, Wednesday, Nov. 8, in the HUSD boardroom.

The morning workshop featured guest speaker Kent Bechler of KB Associates, an expert on professional development who has been working with HUSD Superintendent Christi Barrett in recent months on ways to improve the district’s administrative resources.

Using his Power Point presentation “Organizational Health, An Untapped Advantage,” Bechler took the trustees and key administrators thorough a series of discussions and exercises designed to better communicate with the districts employees and improve the board’s organization and service to the district’s 22,000 students and teachers.

Bechler said he was giving the workshop to provide ways for the board and administrators to improve their staff and employee working skills.

Participating in the workshop were Superintendent Barrett, Board President Vic Scavarda, Trustees Stacy Baily, Gene Hikel, Megan Haley, Ross Valenzuela and Rob Davis. HUSD administrators included Assistant Superintendent of Business Services Vincent Christakos, Assistant Superintendent Educational Services Tracy Chambers and Assistant Superintendent Human Resources Darel Hansen.

Barrett welcomed the trustees and administrators, saying her experience as HUSD superintendent “has been an amazing experience. I love the level of commitment you have and all- hands on deck. Every hand wants to be here.” She said the principals’ staff have been successful in following “clear articulate goals.” She noted that they have also “identified the gaps and working on the adjustments.”

“We are healthy because of the board,” Barrett said. “We are very blessed to have them.”

As the discussion went around the table, each member attending had the opportunity to give their thoughts and ideas of how to improve their roles and the district’s roles in teaching the students and encouraging parent participation.

Bechler suggested the board and administrators keep two things in mind for success: being “smart” and keeping the district “healthy.”

Barrett said after 16 months at the helm she sees the district, with the work of the board and administrators, as “healthy,” but urged them to continue to reach and improve the goals set down to make the HUSD schools the “destination” for parents to send their children too.

Bechler said in his opinion the district leadership has been working well, but should continue working together as a team with their focus on student educational and social needs.

In his Power Point presentation, he described the classic pyramid of success. First, it must have “trust,” and necessary “conflict” to encourage debate, “commitment” to force clarity and closure, “accountability” to confront difficult issues, and last it must seek “results” that focus on collective outcomes.

The board members discussed some of what they believed to be the shortcomings and agreed to work to “fill in the gaps.”

Barrett said she has been working with the principals from each school to help them achieve the district goals and encouraged them to make their own decisions for the betterment of their students and accept accountability for their actions as shown in the leadership example in Bechler’s presentation.

Professional development expert Kent Bechler, far right, gives members of the Hemet Unified School District board and key administrators tips on how to improve their efforts working together to educate students in the district at a workshop, Nov. 8. Tony Ault photo

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