A handful of weeks have passed since Dave Heflinger assumed his new role as superintendent of the Field Local School District, and he's ready for any challenges ahead.
"It's never good to be bored," said Heflinger, who comes to Field after working for five years as superintendent of Crestline Exempted Village School District in northern central Ohio.
"A focus on academics" drew Heflinger to Field, he said.
"First and foremost, was the report card," he said. "Field has done very well and that sends a message to me that there's a staff here that's very dedicated to student achievement and families here who are concerned about education. I wanted to make sure that I went somewhere where academics were a priority."
Prior to his time at Crestline, Heflinger was principal of Buckeye Valley High School in Delaware County from 2006 to 2008, and a principal in the Fremont City Schools in Sandusky County from 2002 to 2005. He holds degrees from Bowling Green State University and the University of Findlay.
Heflinger said a few obvious priorities are in sight, which include adapting to comply with new state mandates and passing a ballot issue to help reinstate lost programs and avoid fiscal emergency.
"We have to pass a ballot issue and then figure out how we not just maintain, but continue to increase our achievement as Ohio changes so many of its models," he said, adding that many districts across the state have those goals.
But aside from the obvious, Heflinger said he wants to hear from staff and community before he determines other goals.
"I don't want to come in with predetermined goals for the district before I talk to people. I want everyone to be involved," he said.
Though a date is not yet set, Heflinger said he is arranging to meet and hear from members of the Field community in early September.
When it comes to a philosophy on leadership, Heflinger said each issue is situational.
"There are times where I think you need to have everyone together and you need a collective decision and there are times when somebody has to be able to step up and make the decision and own it," he said. "In a perfect world, I want as many voices in the process as I can get. I tend to be very open door, I'm very direct and I want to give people an opportunity to succeed."
And seeing other people succeed is the very reason Heflinger said he knew he wanted to be in education since he was in high school.
"I went into education for the same reason I'm still in it: to make a difference with kids and to improve their opportunities," he said. "It had to be something where I thought I was improving things or making a difference, otherwise it just didn't seem worth it to me."
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