Top leadership training for Ottley
By DIANE GASPER-O'BRIEN
He vowed to be prepared as possible. So David Ottley applied for one of the spots for the Leadership for Tomorrow class sponsored by the Kansas Association of School Boards.
Ottley, who will take over as superintendent for Victoria USD 432 when Linda Kenne retires this summer, was accepted and will begin leadership training even before he eliminates "assistant" from his title.
He has served as assistant superintendent this past year in addition to his duties as the elementary school principal.
"I feel really great being involved in the class," Ottley said of the KASB program, which accepted just 20 people. Ottley is one of only four members of the 2014-15 class chosen from the western half of the state.
The class, made up of administrators and school board members from throughout the state, will meet five times in two-day sessions during the next eight months, beginning with the initial class at McPherson later this month.
Presenters will include civic leaders, government officials and educators.
Other meeting sites will be Ulysses, Wichita, Overland Park and Topeka.
"From what I hear, it's an excellent training program," Ottley said. "You get to participate with a lot of hands-on (activities) in schools that have fantastic programs. I'm looking forward to positive dialogue between administrators and school board members and learning from each of them."
The Leadership for Tomorrow class covers a broad variety of issues and concerns related to public education and student achievement.
"The goal is to make us better leaders, more educated," Ottley said.
The USD 432 board showed it approved of Ottley's leadership when it offered him the superintendent job earlier this semester.
"It was a nice vote of confidence from the board of education, and I'm very appreciative of that," he said.
Ottley continually has moved up the ladder in his 30 years at Victoria, starting as a teacher and coach in 1984, moving to assistant principal, then principal at the elementary school. He was named assistant superintendent last year and looks forward to the challenge as leader of the entire district. He will continue to serve as elementary school principal as well as superintendent.
"This is a great opportunity for me," said Ottley, who along with his wife, Andrea, raised three sons in Victoria and will see the youngest graduate from VHS in two weeks. "I still have a vested interest in USD 432, still have work to do."
He said he believes he is prepared, partly because his training session for the job began several years ago.
"It's been a good learning process for many years with Mrs. Kenne," he said of Kenne, who has been superintendent for USD 432 for 19 years. "She's very open and very progressive. I've been lucky. She's been a fantastic mentor for me."