New Glenbard High School District 87 Superintendent David Larson says he's going to be the "lead learner" over the next couple of months as he becomes familiar with the pressing issues of the district.
On Monday, he got to know some of the people he'll be interacting with on a regular basis at the district's four high schools during a meet-and-greet reception at Glenbard East in Lombard with school district staff, faculty and local officials. The event marked Larson's first public appearance following the school board's vote March 19 to select him as the new superintendent as replacement for Mike Meissen, who said last August that he would be stepping down at the end of the school year.
Larson has been superintendent of the Birmingham Public Schools in suburban Detroit for the last four years.
His first day at his new job is July 1, though he's already been reading up on district materials and is being copied on emails from school district staff and board members. He told the gathered crowd of about 75 that he's going to be asking for their help as he gets to know the district and its programs.
"Thanks for welcoming us to the community," said Larson, who was joined by his wife Shelayne. "I thank the board for the opportunity to serve this community.
"The board's number one job is hiring a superintendent and they did a great job," he said to laughter from the crowd.
Larson said he looks forward to building "a culture of trust and community," and hopes to be able to foster relationships with those involved in the school district. He also said he wants to make sure those who aren't parents of Glenbard students -- the taxpayers at large -- get a good return on the local school system.
"The superintendent is the conduit between the board and the district. The board is the conduit between the district and the community. The community's greatest asset is its children," he said.
Larson said the school board's number one investment is the faculty, and he wants to elevate the practice of teaching by promoting teachers like "a hospital promotes their doctors."
Larson has been involved in the selection process for a new assistant superintendent for educational services to replace Hector Garcia, who will become the new superintendent in Plano School District 88 this summer. On Monday, Larson sat in on interviews with six of the candidates for the job.
Heim said a school board retreat with Larson is scheduled for July to go over district issues.