Aug. 29, 2020

Superintendent, Anibal Soler, J.

Superintendent, Anibal Soler, J.

“I’m not a superhero, but you are in this work to try to make a difference for all kids. When you hear about the one kid or the two kids or the five kids – those are the things that keep you up. Have we done everything we could? And it is not so much me, but have I put my organization in the position to do everything they can to support our kids? Have I empowered my principals? Have I empowered my cabinet members?” - Anibal Soler, Jr.

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If leadership is challenging on a good day, the pandemic has plummeted almost every organization in the world into an impossible situation, requiring leaders and teams to shift gears overnight and come up with solutions to problems they have never had before. Our guest today, the Superintendent of Schools for the Batavia City School District, Anibal Soler, Jr., knows all about these unexpected responsibilities put on parents, teachers, and school leaders when the crisis hit the US in March 2020. In this episode, Anibal gives listeners a behind-the-scenes look at how his district and community have managed to course-correct over the last few months, helping to meet the academic needs of students from various socio-economic backgrounds. He shares how heavily he has relied on the superintendents’ network that allowed leaders to share their experiences, get support, and find solutions to common problems in their communities, and  the important role technology has played in providing students with the required resources. Anibal discusses their strategies for getting devices and connectivity accessible for as many students as possible, how they are bridging these gaps in the most vulnerable communities, and  why it is vital to empower leaders at every level of the education system.

Key Points From This Episode:

  • Hear about Anibal’s background and his career journey in education. 
  • Anibal describes the school district and community where he serves as a leader. 
  • Get a sense of how the community experienced and responded to the pandemic.  
  • How some individuals’ insistence on their liberty can jeopardize the wellbeing of the whole.
  • Leading through the crisis by relying on the support of their superintendents’ network. 
  • Find out what role technology has played in education over the past few months. 
  • The disparity existing in students’ ability to access technological devices and connectivity. 
  • How the community school model and partnerships can be leveraged to bridge the gap. 
  • Their three re-entry models: In-person, special consideration students, and hybrid. 
  • Anibal talks about the country’s capacity to serve the most vulnerable students through devices and connectivity. 
  • Empowering his organization and all its members to support kids as far as possible. 
  • The importance of trying, admitting when you failed, and having the courage to try again. 
  • A word of encouragement for parents, teachers, and school and district leaders. 

Links Mentioned in Today's Episode