Northampton Public Schools Superintendent Blog

NHS Life Skills Class Visits the Superintendent

Posted on: March 23, 2012

On the sunny morning of March 22, I was visited by students from Northampton High’s Life Skills class in my office in downtown Northampton. The Life Skills class was interested in meeting me and learning how the Superintendent’s office does the work of running our school system.  Teacher Jean Walters and nine students gathered around the conference table with thoughtful and light-hearted questions.

They wanted to know where I worked before coming to Northampton (Marblehead, Massachusetts), if I have any kids (yes, I am married and have two grown kids and three grandchildren).  They asked who my favorite wrestler is and although I was a wrestler and a wrestling coach, it turns out I don’t know a lot of WWE wrestlers.  I did learn that Dwayne (The Rock) Johnson is making a come-back in the wrestling ring soon.  I was also asked what I like to do in my spare time.  That answer was easy; I’m a marathon runner.  The students had fun guessing how long a marathon is (answer: 26.2 miles).

The Life Skills students wanted to know how I help run all the schools.  I told them I set policies that the principals, teachers, and students follow to keep our schools running smoothly.  I also help set the school district’s budget and help decide how we fund things like books, buses, and teacher’s salaries.  The total budget ($28,000,000) is impressive, but some students were less-than-impressed with the Superintendent’s office.

“I thought it would be more like the president’s office,” one student quipped.

The students all thanked me for taking time to talk with them, and I thanked them for their visit.  I was a classroom teacher for many years and I miss talking with students every day, so I appreciated the opportunity I had to meet with the Life Skill class to answer their questions and get to know them a little bit.

The next stop on the Life Skills tour was Northampton City Hall, where they planned to visit the city offices and learn where to register to vote or get a license to own a dog.  They also scheduled a meeting with Mayor David Narkewicz to learn about his job and how the city operates.  I hope they were impressed with his office!  I know I was very impressed with them.

Brian L. Salzer, Ed.S.


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