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​Georgia superintendent named ‘Leader to Learn From’ by Education Week

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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 na
med 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 recommendations.

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 education.

“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.”

Education Week 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.

Read the full report
here. Read the profile of Dr. Vickie Reed here.​