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March 5, 2015 – Murray County Superintendent
Dr. Vickie Reed is shining a new light on education across the country. And
she's doing it by listening to student voices and making decisions with those
voices in mind.
Dr. Reed is one of
16 educators named in Education Week's annual Leaders to Learn From report,
which “shines a light on forward-thinking district leaders who seize on good
ideas and execute them well in their school systems.” She was chosen for her
proven ability to seek student feedback and take it seriously, incorporating
student concerns in district decisions.
“Our students are
the ones who live with our decisions,” State School Superintendent Richard
Woods said. “We must take the time to listen to them – really listen – and take
action based on what we hear. Dr. Reed has done a tremendous job of making
student engagement a real part of her decision-making. I commend her on this recognition,
and I hope others will study her work and find ways to adapt it to their own
schools and districts.”
Dr. Reed, who grew
up in Murray County and has spent her entire career there, introduced surveys
that ask each student to rate their teachers on a number of variables. Teachers
take the same surveys and assess themselves, marking the answers they think
their students would choose. The goal is to identify gaps in those two
perspectives, and shrink them if they exist. She also oversaw the establishment
of a student council in every school that was missing one, elementary through
high. She meets with each of those councils – and she acts on their
And she’s done all
of this against a background of increased achievement – since Dr. Reed became
superintendent, achievement in Murray County has gone up, including an increase
in graduation rate from just over 50 percent to this year’s 80 percent rate.
From Dr. Reed, the
Education Week article says, leaders can learn to put students first, to seek
authentic input, and to encourage students to take ownership of their
“We make a lot of
efforts to speak with parents and get parents’ input through PTA and parent
surveys,” Dr. Reed told the publication. “But the piece that was missing…who
I’m not hearing from, is students.”
sought nominations for its Leaders to Learn From report from readers, state
school administrator groups, education reporters around the country and experts
in the K-12 field. Members of the editorial staff made the final selections.
the full report here.
Read the profile of Dr. Vickie Reed here.